DRUID Conference Focuses on Drugged Driving
The European Union’s (EU) Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, Alcohol and Medicines (DRUID) held its last meeting earlier this fall, marking a 5-year effort to gain insight into the full impact of substance abuse on road safety.
Coordinated by the Federal Highway Research Institute of Germany and begun in 2006, DRUID provided scientific support to European Commission (EU) transport policymakers by suggesting guidelines and measures to combat impaired driving. Financed within the EU Sixth Framework Program for Research and Technological Development, experts from 18 countries representing 37 institutions worked together to gain new insights into the real degree of impairment caused by psychoactive substances such as alcohol, drugs, and certain medicines, and their actual impact on road safety.
NIDA International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D.,—along with more than 300 international scientists, representatives of European organizations and policymakers, and members of the press—participated in the DRUID conference that was held in downtown Cologne September 27–28, 2011. The conference included a plenary session, press conference, and in-depth scientific sessions where participants learned about the results, achievements, and conclusions of this important initiative.
NIDA International Program Wins Web Award
The NIDA International Program was recently awarded the Silver World Wide Web Health Award, an honor bestowed on the Nation’s best electronic health programs and Web-based tools. The Web site was chosen among hundreds of local, state, and national U.S. health-related organizations that enter every year. Using a rating scale of up to 100 points, a panel of health technology professionals judged the entries based on content, format, success in reaching the targeted health audience, and overall quality.
NIDA received the award in the Government category for its redesigned site, launched in June 2011. The site now makes it easier for visitors to explore fellowship opportunities, connect with international drug abuse researchers, and read past issues of the NIDA International E-News. Plus a new keyword feature allows for faster access to information by topic area. Explore the many features of the NIDA International Program through its award-winning Web site.
Dutch Addiction Program Hosts NIDA at Binational Workshop
The Dutch Addiction Program (DAP) Risk Behaviour and Dependency Programme hosted a binational addiction workshop in October in The Hague, The Netherlands.
The workshop was part of the ongoing collaboration between NIDA and the Research and Development Programme on Substance Use and Addiction of the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw). In 1999, both nations agreed to cooperate by exchanging information and materials about drug addiction research, support exchange visits by scientists, and hold joint symposia to promote collaborative research efforts.
This workshop focused on the progress of current binational research projects, new research initiatives, and future collaboration between NIDA and The Netherlands. NIDA’s David Shurtleff, Ph.D., acting deputy director, and Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., International Program director, as well as Sineke ten Horn, DAP, hosted a session on future directions and priorities in drug abuse and addiction. Dr. Shurtleff discussed highlights in translational research at NIDA, while Dr. Gust focused on the future of international research collaborations, with Dr. ten Horn offering the Dutch perspective. Workshop participants also heard from jointly funded research teams as well as project teams funded by DAP’s Risk Behavior and Dependency Programme, on three separate topics: brain chemistry, brain activity, and pharmacology.
The agenda also included time for a site visit to The Hague where a coffee shop owner explained the country’s tolerance model for certain drugs. Visitors learned how the coffee shop concept works and who the customers are that frequent these shops. The owner also explained the cooperation shops such as this one have with addiction clinics and their relationship with the police. The afternoon included a lecture by a police officer who expounded on the law enforcement perspective of the tolerance model.
Dr. Gust also participated in the European Area Research Network on Illicit Drugs conference the following day. The conference participants discussed some of the policy issues from partnering countries, the research underway, and projects planned for the future to provide for the development of a solid basis for evidence-based policy. Dr. Gust’s talk emphasized the added value of international collaboration in research.
The NIDA International Program provided travel support for three researchers who are currently working with Dutch partners:
Raymond G. Booth, Ph.D., University of Florida, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine
Daniel D. Langleben, M.D., University of Pennsylvania, Addiction Treatment Research Center
Ingo Willuhn, University of Washington, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Latin American Network Boosts Scientific Exchange
The Red Latinamericano de Investigaciones en Drogas (known commonly as REDLA) is making an impact on the sphere of drug abuse and addiction research in Latin America.
A network of academic researchers who share an interest in developing research on the drug problem in Latin America, REDLA is a joint effort between NIDA and the Organization of American States, through their Inter-American Drug Control Commission (CICAD), with the collaboration of the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse.
In the past year, REDLA has completed several analyses highlighting drug abuse and addiction research based on findings shared across national databases. Focusing on such topics as perceptions of risk of drug use, age of onset for alcohol use, and sequence of drug use, REDLA published articles in peer-reviewed journals to broaden the reach of these research findings. One of the reasons why the work is so important says Ms. Marya Hynes Dowell, coordinator of the program at CICAD, is that data findings often remain in the country where they originated. REDLA is an important tool for getting scientific information out to the quorum of researchers in Latin America invested in reducing the social burden of drugs through scientific research.
REDLA also has been actively involved in the peer review of CICAD’s new report on drug use in the Americas, a cross-national analysis of drug use in all 36 CICAD member states. Check the CICAD Web site regularly to learn more about the release date of the report.
Given the success of REDLA, neighboring countries, including Columbia and Argentina, are beginning to build their own national drug research networks using REDLA as a model. In the coming months, CICAD will begin to look for funding to start national networks in Central America.
Registration Now Open: NIDA International Forum
NOTE: The deadline for poster abstracts and travel award applications has been extended to January 13, 2012.
Registration is now open for the 2012 NIDA International Forum to be held June 8–11, 2012. This year’s meeting is co-sponsored by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and builds on their First International Multidisciplinary Forum on New Drugs held earlier this year. The 2012 NIDA International Forum will focus on new and emerging synthetic and natural drugs, such as synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (e.g., Spice) and stimulants (e.g., cathinones).
Join us for the research symposium, interactive workshops, poster session, and networking activities highlighting NIDA-supported and other international drug abuse research.
The NIDA International Forum is held in conjunction with the 74th Annual Scientific Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD). The NIDA Forum and the CPDD meeting have their own registration and abstract submission processes; therefore, you must register separately for each meeting.
International Women’s Group Celebrates Its 5th Year
Save the Date:
Friday, June 8, 2012, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time
Palm Springs, CA, USA
Planning is underway for the 2012 Annual International Women’s and Children’s Health and Gender Working Group (InWomen’s) conference held in conjunction with the NIDA International Forum and the CPDD Annual Scientific Meeting.
Last year, the 2011 conference held a plenary, several talks, poetry reading, storytelling, and seven discussion tables; reports are available in the NIDA International Virtual Collaboratory (NIVC) InWomen 2011 Satellite Meeting Conference folder. The InWomen special issue of Substance Use and Rehabilitation from the 2011 conference also will be available at the 2012 conference. The 2012 InWomen meeting will start at 11 a.m. (1 hour earlier than in previous years) with a networking session, followed by a plenary, several speakers, discussion tables, and performances of poetry and dance.
Any questions about the meeting can be sent to InWomen Chair Wendee Wechsberg, Ph.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer Institute Enriches Doctoral Student’s Research Training
Ms. Cendrine Danae Robinson attended the Summer Institute on Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction in The Netherlands earlier this year and found that the experience exceeded her expectations.
Ms. Robinson, a doctoral student at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, attended the Summer Institute through a tuition waiver from the NIDA International Program. The Institute “immensely enriched my graduate training,” she wrote in a final report of her experience.
A joint initiative of The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) and the University of Amsterdam Graduate School of Social Sciences, the Summer Institute is a 2-week, intensive multidisciplinary program offering graduate-level and continuing professional development training in addiction, while promoting opportunities for international networking.
Ms. Robinson was part of a group of students from a range of countries who heard from counselors, psychiatrists, pharmacologists, and researchers. The students gained a greater understanding of current drug abuse prevention and treatment research and, given the diverse make-up of the participants, had the opportunity to hear a range of perspectives and about the influence of culture on drug policy.
Ms. Robinson walked away from the Institute “with a global understanding of drug use and policy,” she said of the 2-week training. She plans to cultivate the relationships she began at the Institute as she continues with her research.
Important Dates and Meetings
The NIDA International Program stays abreast of funding opportunities, upcoming deadlines for fellowship and grant applications, and meetings of interest to the international addiction and drug abuse research community.
Fogarty International Center
NIH Funding Announcements
NIDA International Program Fellowships
- 2012 American Society of Addiction Medicine’s 43rd Annual Medical-Scientific Conference
April 19–22, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
- Society for Prevention Research 2012 Conference
May 29–June 1, 2012
Washington, D.C., USA
- NIDA International Forum
June 8–11, 2012
Palm Springs, California, USA
- 74th Annual Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence
June 9–14, 2012
Palm Springs, California, USA
- AIDS 2012
July 22–27, 2012
Washington, D.C., USA
NIDA Program Announcements Reissued
NIDA has reissued its Program Announcements (PAs) soliciting collaborative research proposals by U.S. investigators working with investigators from other countries. The PAs—International Research Collaboration on Drug Abuse and Addiction—will be in effect until January 8, 2015.
Researchers may choose one of three grant programs in response to these broad calls for innovative research proposals: R01, R21, or R03. Priority funding will be given to projects that are collaboratively funded by an agency of the foreign country. Research priority areas include:
Seek-test-treat and retain HIV/AIDS interventions
Abuse of amphetamine-type stimulants, synthetic drugs, or other designer drugs
Smoking during pregnancy and the impact of prenatal tobacco exposure and the effects of early exposure to tobacco in young people and adolescents on development of addiction and other diseases and on cognitive development
To learn more, visit NIDA International Program Announcements.
Building Research Capacity in Poland
Robert Zucker, Ph.D. Director of the University of Michican Addiction Research Center
Working systematically over the last decade, Robert Zucker, Ph.D., director of the University of Michigan (UM) Addiction Research Center, has been developing a program to build a substance abuse research infrastructure for Central and Eastern Europe.
The idea for the program began for Dr. Zucker when Stanislav Golec, M.D., a Polish psychiatrist working in the UM Department of Psychiatry, contacted him about a potential collaborative project between Polish and U.S. scientists. Noticing the NIDA-funded Fogarty International Clinical, Operational and Health Services Research and Training Award (ICOHRTA) grant, Dr. Golec saw an opportunity to foster research collaborations between Polish and U.S. scientists.
Successfully competing for the ICOHRTA grant in September 2001, Dr. Zucker began a 5-year program in collaboration with the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology in Warsaw to bolster the drug abuse and addiction research capacity in Poland by increasing research skills among biomedical and behavioral scientists in Poland, promoting research exchange, and generating new research on drug abuse and addiction in the region. Beginning in 2006, after being awarded a second ICOHRTA award, the program was extended to include collaborations in Ukraine, Slovakia, and Latvia.
Over the course of the 10 years, the program has had a substantial impact. The funding has supported 11 workshops across the region involving 285 attendees. A dozen long-term research fellows participated in 1-year fellowship programs of methodology training and mentored research in the United States, and upon returning home carried out pilot research projects developed in collaboration with their U.S. mentors. The program also supported shorter visits to the United States by senior researchers and program directors who completed research projects, established new collaborations, and developed relationships with U.S. substance abuse agencies. In addition, a new curriculum on addiction medicine was put into place at the leading medical school in Poland (Medical University of Warsaw), exposing all medical students to substance abuse clinical and basic research content.
UM faculty members now serve as consultants for a component of the Polish Ministry of Health, and one of the former trainees, Marcin Wojnar, M.D., Ph.D., is the permanent advisor to the director of the Polish Ministry of Health. In 2009, the Polish Ministry of Health agreed to support collaborative research projects funded under the NIDA International Research Collaboration on Drug Abuse and Addiction Research Program Announcements, and has forged separate research partnerships with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Fogarty International Center.
The program also has resulted in several off-shoot initiatives. A formal collaborative research partnership has been established between the Polish government and NIAAA to carry out a joint country research program on fetal alcohol syndrome. The program also served as the stimulus and template for a separately funded NIAAA/Fogarty International Center initiative on the development of research capacity in Poland for alcohol and injury research with emergency medicine and public health departments.
In addition, the formation of the Polish Society for Research on Addictions, formally chartered in 2007, provided a tangible means of communicating research findings and developing new collaborations. With more than 100 members, the Society held its third scientific meeting this September in Warsaw to provide an update of research on alcohol and drug research in Poland. National Institutes of Health staff Margaret M. Murray, Ph.D., NIAAA, and Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., NIDA International Program director, participated. Dr. Gust gave a talk on the state of the science on drug abuse from the global perspective, remarking on drug use statistics and emerging trends, including synthetic drug use in Europe and government policies, prevention interventions, and treatment protocols. He also reviewed recent NIDA-funded research advances and the recent activities within the International Program.
The achievements made by Dr. Zucker and his colleagues are immeasurable. Their work has created a solid foundation that will continue beyond the life of the next grant. Although the funding award Dr. Zucker received, the ICOHRTA, is no longer available (Fogarty International Center has decided to reconfigure the program and consolidate it into another program), he already has a proposal in to obtain funding to begin his second decade of work under Fogarty’s Chronic, Non-Communicable Diseases and Disorders Across the Lifespan: Fogarty International Research Training Award (NCD-LIFESPAN) (D43) program.
NIDA Meets Humphrey Fellows at Global Leadership Forum
More than 200 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows from 93 countries descended on Washington, D.C., this fall to participate in the time-honored Global Leadership Forum. A 4-day event sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education (IIE), the Forum offers the fellows the opportunity to learn more about U.S. institutions, Federal agencies, and international organizations.
Ms. Dale Weiss, associate director of the NIDA International Program, met with interested fellows during the Forum luncheon to describe the activities and research priorities of the Institute and opportunities available to them during their fellowship. During her remarks, Ms. Weiss emphasized the broad societal impact of drug abuse across the globe and among all professional disciplines. She explained that NIDA’s research portfolio encompasses the full range of outcomes and consequences of drug use by examining its effects on the brain and on brain function, medical disorders related to drug use, as well as the broader social, economic, and criminal justice impacts of drug use.
Ms. Lauren Stewart and Ms. Laura Ormsby, IIE, and NIDA International Program fellowships administrator, Ms. Lisa Jordre, also attended and met the 23 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Johns Hopkins University (JHU), Tulane University, and Emory University.
The fellows also met International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., during the evening reception at the U.S. State Department and had the opportunity to introduce themselves to each other and formulate relationships as they begin their year-long fellowships.
This year’s NIDA-supported Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows at VCU include:
Tin Moe Aung (Myanmar [Burma]) Dr. Aung’s focus is on relapse prevention and promotion of comprehensive health care among injecting drug users. She hopes to enhance her knowledge and practical skills in the prevention of substance abuse to improve prevention programming and aftercare in Myanmar.
Natalia Estoyanoff (Uruguay) Ms. Estoyanoff would like to improve her knowledge and practical skills related to the design and implementation of effective community-based prevention programs, particularly those designed to target young drug users in high social vulnerability contexts.
Rogers Kasirye (Uganda) Mr. Kasirye wants to learn more about substance abuse prevention and policy work in the United States and explore ways of improving the policy environment in Uganda.
Laith R. Khalil (Iraq) Dr. Khalil’s goals are to gain the required knowledge and skills to help addiction sufferers in Iraq by learning about the most effective and proven treatment and prevention practices.
Lionel Kulathilake (Sri Lanka) Mr. Kulathilake plans to enhance his knowledge of substance abuse treatment and prevention, as well as program development and evaluation.
Pansak Pramokchon (Thailand) Mr. Pramokchon’s goal is to expand his professional experience in institutional management and policy formation to better prepare the Thai Food and Drug Administration for the challenges of global change.
Pedro Augusto de Andrade Rodrigues (Brazil) Mr. Rodrigues’ fellowship goals include developing greater knowledge of crack cocaine addiction and treatment and gaining a better understanding of the causes of recent increases in drug abuse and dependence in Brazil. He aims to enhance his knowledge of successful treatment and prevention programs to adapt them to the specific needs of the Brazilian population.
Aizhan Zhumasheva (Kazakhstan) Dr. Zhumasheva seeks to acquire knowledge and practical experience related to drug abuse treatment and prevention services in the United States, and to establish new professional contacts, particularly with U.S. antidrug coalition members. She plans to utilize this knowledge so that problems of drug abuse in Kazakhstan can be more effectively addressed.
JHU Hubert H. Humphrey Fellows include:
Sumitha Chalil (India) Ms. Chalil will focus on strategies for improving HIV prevention programs and ensuring sustainable behavior change among men who have sex with men and injecting drug users.
Tshegofatso Mmolawa (Botswana) Ms. Mmolawa is interested in strategies to prevent and reduce excessive use of substances among enlisted men and in research on cognitive decline in relation to prolonged substance use, especially alcohol.
Eugene Dordoye (Ghana) Dr. Dordoye will focus his fellowship training to be able to undertake a baseline survey of the alcohol and drug abuse situation in Ghana.
Ivan Y. Quevedo (Chile) Dr. Quevedo’s goal is to improve his knowledge and skills to better conduct clinical and translational research on addiction with a special focus on genetics.
Onukogu Uchechi Chinyere (Nigeria) Ms. Onukogu is interested in improving substance abuse treatment in Nigeria and adapting U.S. relapse prevention models to Nigeria.
Elis Haan (Estonia) Ms. Haan seeks to improve her knowledge and skills for the treatment and prevention of substance abuse among youth. She is also interested in strengthening her leadership skills to improve the management and coordination of mental health services in Estonia.
Tshering Dolkar (Bhutan) Ms. Dolkar’s goals are to make international connections and get experience with substance abuse intervention programs.
Renata de Cerqueira Campos (Brazil) Ms. de Cerqueira seeks to improve her knowledge in addiction prevention and treatment and in antitobacco advocacy. Her goal is to improve mental health and addiction treatment in the city and propose a model that can be used by the national health system.