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November 13, 2006
Bethesda North Marriott Hotel Conference Center, Bethesda, MD

NIDA Organizer: Yonette Thomas, Ph.D.

Meeting Purpose and Intent:

The purpose of this workshop was to:

  • Provide an opportunity for researchers from different disciplines to highlight and answer epidemiologic questions related to drug abuse trajectories among African Americans and
  • Engage participants in a focused discussion on how to critically generate prevention interventions that are likely to best serve this population.

Questions to be addressed include the following:

  • What do we mean by "drug abuse trajectory?"
  • What does the current literature say about drug abuse trajectories and how they differ by race/ethnicity?
  • What risk and protective factors are related to the different trajectories and crossover effects and do these factors differ across and within racial/ethnic groups and among African Americans in particular?
  • What gaps exist in our research in understanding trajectories of drug abuse among African Americans?
  • How do trajectories link to high-risk outcomes such as HIV/AIDS?
  • What should the next generation of research look like particularly with regard to prevention interventions?
  • How can NIDA encourage research to address these questions?

Brief Discussion of Meeting Outcome:

Various topics were raised in the discussion, such as:

  • Discrimination
  • Are current research methods and tools adequate for measuring such factors as discrimination and incarceration?
  • Stress - Do the data imply that African-Americans are exposed to more stress? The general conclusion was that the fundamental question is: "why they don't use drugs much more, given the stressors and what are the coping mechanisms that help explain that?"
  • Is the research community fully exploiting the data that already exist?
  • Are there ways to reexamine existing data to address some of the gaps in knowledge?
  • To what extent are new studies needed, and what approach should they take?

Participants discussed various ways of publishing the information shared at the meeting, such as in a special issue of a journal and the contents and parameters of that publication. They agreed to continue the discussion in a follow-up conference call.


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