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NIDA in the News

July 2011

Press Releases

Altruistic decision making focus of NIDA's Addiction Science Award

Addiction Science Award Winners Darby Schumacher (2nd place), Yamini Naidu (3rd place), Sarah Pak (1st place), and OSPC Acting Director Dr. Susan Weiss

A study of what influences decision making on issues whose consequences will only be felt by future generations won first prize in the annual Addiction Science Awards at this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) — the world’s largest science competition for high school students. The awards were presented at a ceremony in Los Angeles by NIDA and Friends of NIDA, a coalition that supports NIDA’s mission. Read more ⇒

Moderate levels of secondhand smoke deliver nicotine to the brain
Exposure to secondhand smoke has a direct, measurable impact on the brain — and the effect is similar to what happens in the brain of the person doing the smoking. In fact, exposure to this secondhand smoke evokes cravings among smokers, according to a NIDA-funded study. The study, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, used positron emission tomography (PET) to demonstrate that one hour of secondhand smoke in an enclosed space results in enough nicotine reaching the brain to bind receptors that are normally targeted by direct exposure to tobacco smoke. This happens in the brain of both smokers and non-smokers. Read more ⇒

Potential new target for smoking cessation without weight gain
A new study uncovered a brain mechanism that could be targeted for new medications designed to help people quit smoking without gaining weight. This research, funded by NIDA, showed that a specific subclass of brain nicotinic receptor is involved in nicotine's ability to reduce food intake in rodents. Prior research shows that the average weight gain after smoking is less than 10 pounds, but fear of weight gain can discourage some people who would like to quit. Read more ⇒ | See Dr. Nora Volkow’s related WebMD article ⇒

NIH, MusiCares®, GRAMMY Foundation® announce 2011 teen contest
The second annual MusiCares® and GRAMMY Foundation® Teen Substance Abuse Awareness through Music Contest was announced by NIDA, along with MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation — the two nonprofit organizations of The Recording Academy®. The contest asks young musicians, ages 14-18, to compose or create an original song and/or music video that explores, encourages, and celebrates a healthy lifestyle or accurately depicts a story about drug abuse. Winners will be announced during NIDA’s second annual National Drug Facts Week, which begins Oct. 31, 2011. Read more ⇒

To date, media coverage of the announcement includes eight print articles, including one in The Washington Post, Facebook posts reaching 7,706+ and 61 Twitter posts, reaching 221,248. Read more ⇒

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Research News

Potential new medication for severe, unrelenting pain
A recent NIH-funded study used a rat model of intractable pain—severe, chronic pain that common prescription painkillers cannot treat—to identify a new compound that reduced pain symptoms with little to no adverse effects. This compound holds promise for future research into managing severe, unrelenting pain in humans. View the article ⇒

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Other News

NIDA's Journal Moves to Biomed Central
NIDA’s award-winning peer-reviewed journal, Addiction Science & Clinical Practice (AS&CP), has been acquired by Biomed Central, a large science, technology, and medicine publisher that pioneered the open-access model. In this model, authors pay a fee to cover the costs of peer reviewing and publishing their articles in order to make their article available to the public at no cost. At its new home, the journal will continue to be freely available on the web, but will no longer appear in a print edition. Taking over as Editors later this summer will be Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, and Jeffrey Samet, MD, MA, MPH. These NIDA-funded researchers and clinicians are based at the Clinical Addiction Research and Education (CARE) Unit, at Boston Medical Center and Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health. They will continue their current editorship of the NIDA-supported online newsletter Alcohol, Other Drugs and Health: Current Evidence. Readers and potential authors can find detailed information about the journal, a list of sought-for article types, and a list of internationally known editorial board members at

AS&CP, founded by NIDA in 2002, has been the Institute’s primary printed vehicle for dialogue between researchers and clinicians. Edited by David Anderson, MS, since its inception, AS&CP reaches 34,000 subscribers with features written by top experts. The Journal’s trademark “response panels” have followed most articles, allowing figures from diverse perspectives in the field to discuss the article’s content. Enhanced by copious high-quality color graphics, with selected articles translated into several languages, the journal has won multiple editorial awards and has been indexed in Medline since 2004. Questions? Check with AS&CP’s editor David Anderson.

NIDA Holds Research Track at APA Conference
APA logo
NIDA held a research track, “Advancing Psychiatric Practice Through the Science of Addiction” at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, on May 14-18, 2011. A number of sessions on topics unique to addiction science were presented by Dr. Nora Volkow, Dr. Wilson Compton, Dr. Steve Grant, Dr. Ivan Montoya and Dr. Geetha Subramaniam.

Governor O’Malley Signs Prescription Drug Monitoring Bill at NIDA IRP
Governor Martin O’Malley convened a roundtable discussion on Maryland’s new Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, signed into law by the Governor, at the NIDA IRP. He was joined by acting NIDA Deputy Director Dr. David Shurtleff, NIDA IRP Director Dr. Antonello Bonci, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dozens of representatives of the medical, pharmaceutical and law enforcement communities also took part. Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in Maryland. The new monitoring system will enable professionals to track use of prescription drugs and recognize indicators of potential abuse among patients. Read Governor O’Malley’s Press Release ⇒


Governor Martin O’Malley and Dr. Antonello Bonci

Dr. David Shurtleff

Dr. David Shurtleff

Actress Debra Winger to Appear in Addiction Performance Project at NIH
APP Playbill
Three-time Oscar nominee Debra Winger is scheduled to be the lead actress in an August Addiction Performance Project to be held at NIH. Due to an increasing interest in NIDA’s Addiction Performance Project, two new performances have been scheduled for August 5 and 6 — one at the NIH Main Campus and the other at the APA convention (for conference attendees). The Addiction Performance Project is a CME & CE program to help break down the stigma associated with addiction and promote a healthy dialogue that fosters compassion, cooperation, and understanding for patients living with this disease. Read more ⇒

NIDA Presents Partners in Public Health Award to Rockville High School Students

RHS Students with SPB’s Dr. Gaya Dowling, who presented the award on behalf of NIDA.

NIDA presented Rockville High School with a Public Health Award for contributions to addiction science and education. Students, faculty and administrators from the Montgomery County Maryland school have volunteered time and school facilities to NIDA over the past several years, for outreach initiatives including Chat Day, the Choose Your Path educational video, feedback groups for the Drug Facts: Shatter the Myths teen brochure and National Drug Facts Week.

Dr. Jag Khalsa Receives ASAM Presidential Award
Dr. Jag Khalsa of NIDA’s Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse received a Presidential Award from Dr. Lou Baxter, MD, FASM, the President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The award was presented to Dr. Khalsa at ASAM’s annual conference in Washington, DC on April 15, 2011. Dr. Khalsa was honored for his more than 20 years of contributions to the field of drug addiction.


Dr. Lou Baxter and NIDA’s Dr. Jag Khalsa.

NIDA-funded Researcher Receives Ziskind-Somerfeld Award

Dr. Helen Mayberg, President of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, and Melissa Malvaez.

Melissa Malvaez, an advanced graduate student for NIDA grantee Dr. Marcelo Wood at the University of California, Irvine, received the Ziskind-Somerfeld Research Award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry for her research paper, “Modulation of Chromatin Modification Facilitates Extinction of Cocaine-Induced Conditioned Place Preference.” The Society selects the top ten papers; out of those, one is chosen to receive a cash award of $2,500. Melissa joined Dr. Wood’s lab in 2008 and is on track to receive her PhD in the spring of 2012.

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