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March 2001

News Update in text

NewsScan NIDA Addiction Research News


Incentive to Work Helps to Keep Addicts Drug Free

An experimental program in Baltimore, Maryland, has been successful in helping drug-abusing women stay free of drugs by paying them a salary to attend a work/training program.

In the Therapeutic Workplace, patients are hired and paid to work. To link salary to drug abstinence, patients are required to provide drug-free urine samples to gain daily access to the workplace. In the workplace, patients are paid either to perform assigned jobs or to participate in training to learn how to do those jobs.

Dr. Alan I. Leshner, NIDA director, says "This project brings into the real world the results of many years of previous research that demonstrate that reward-based treatment programs do result in decreased drug use. The barrier to general applicability of these treatment programs has been that practical funding mechanisms have not been available to sustain them. This program may provide a model solution to that problem."

Each day, when a participant reported to the workplace, she was required to provide a urine sample. If the sample was drug free, she was allowed to work that day. After completing a 3-hour work shift, she received a basic pay voucher. Patients could earn additional vouchers for appropriate professional demeanor, for meeting daily learning goals, and for data entry productivity.

Participation in the workplace program nearly doubled the patients' abstinence from opiates and cocaine, as determined by urine samples collected 3 times a week during the six-month study period. Over the course of the program, 59 percent of the urine samples from the workplace women were drug-free, compared to 33 percent of the samples from the control group women. Forty percent of the Therapeutic Workplace participants had drug-free urine samples on at least 75 percent of testing occasions; in contrast, only 10 percent of the control participants did so.

  • WHAT IT MEANS: This study provides some support for the notion that salary for work can be used to reinforce drug abstinence.

The study, led by Dr. Kenneth Silverman, appears in the February 2001 issue of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.


NIDA Premieres New Web Site

NIDA has redesigned its Web site ( to make it more user-friendly and informative. The site has been organized so that audience-specific information is easier to find. The site has been restructured into four basic components:

  • HEADLINES - a guide to the new web site, a flash movie on NIDA's mission, and video and audio Public Service Announcements (PSAs) from NIDA's new Keep Your Brain Healthy campaign;

  • INFORMATION FOR RESEARCHERS AND HEALTH PROFESSIONALS - information on grants and funding, meetings, trends and statistics, treatment and prevention research, the Clinical Trials Network, and a NIDA NOTES index;

  • INFORMATION FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS - information on specific drugs of abuse, NIDA NOTES, Research Reports, Infofax, and the NIDA science education program;

  • INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS - information on drugs of abuse, including marijuana; Mind Over Matter; Sara's Quest; and NIDA Goes to School.

    The animated movie that outlines NIDA's mission is a precursor to other interactive features that soon will be added to the site. In addition, many of the publications, fact sheets, and other materials on the new web site are downloadable.

    NIDA press advisories and other media materials are posted on the Web site as they are released, and past advisories are archived.

    NIDA Announces RFA for Tools to Generate Genetically-Altered Mice

    NIDA, in cooperation with other institutes at the National Institutes of Health, has issued a Request for Applications (RFA) soliciting proposals to develop tools and techniques for the establishment of random and targeted sequence-tagged insertion libraries of embryonic stem (ES) cells that can be used to generate mutant mice in which the expression of the tagged gene could be controlled. The development of such a resource for wide distribution to the scientific community would make it possible to scan the sequence database for any gene of interest and order the corresponding targeted ES cell line.

    This RFA invites grant applications for Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) projects.

    Letters of intent to submit an application are due by March 11, 2001.

    For more information, or to obtain a copy of the RFA, call Dr. Rebekah S. Rasooly at 301-443-6300 or Dr. Cathrine Sasek at 301-443-6071.


    • April 4, 2001: Fifth Annual PRISM Awards, 6:30 p.m., CBS Studios, Los Angeles, CA

    • April 10, 2001: Prescription Drugs: Misuse, Abuse, and Addiction, 10 a.m., Holeman Lounge, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

    • May 29, 2001: Bridging Neurobiological, Behavioral, and Prevention Sciences, Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C.

    • July 19-20, 2001: Advances in MDMA (Ecstasy) Research, William H. Natcher Conference Center, NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD

    • August 9-10, 2001: National Conference on Drug Abuse Prevention, Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C.

    • September 24-26 2001: National Conference on Health Disparities Among Racial and Ethnic Groups, Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel, Philadelphia, PA

    Watch upcoming issues of NewsScan for more information on these events, or call NIDA at 301-443-6245.

    For more information about any item in this NewsScan:

    • Reporters, call Stephanie Older at 301-443-6245.
    • Congressional staffers, call Geoffrey Laredo at 301-594-6852.
    • All studies described can be obtained through PubMed.

    To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s new DrugPubs Research Dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH (1-877-643-2644) or 240-645-0228 (TDD), or fax or e-mail requests to 240-645-0227 or Online ordering is available at NIDA’s new media guide can be found at

    The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and other topics can be ordered free of charge in English and Spanish by calling NIDA Infofax at 1-888-NIH-NIDA (644-6432) or 1-888-TTY-NIDA (889-6432) for the deaf. These fact sheets and further information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the Home page at

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