More than 200 participants from 46 nations attended the 22nd Annual National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) International Forum, held June 16–19, 2017, in Montréal, Canada. International Program Director Steven W. Gust, Ph.D., chaired the meeting, which was cosponsored by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA). A joint NIDA International Forum/College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) poster session featured presentations on international research conducted by 140 scientists from the United States and 42 other countries. Plenary sessions addressed drug-related HIV/AIDS; kratom use; and marijuana policies, interventions, and research needs. Breakout sessions focused on preparing international research for publication, education and training opportunities, and conducting drug flows research using smartphone research applications to collect data that meet common core research standards.
Welcoming participants to Canada, CCSA Executive Director Rita Notarandrea described her organization’s efforts to provide evidence for coordinated Canadian action on substance use issues, particularly cannabis policy decisions and drugged driving regulation. She reported that the economic and social cost of collisions attributed to cannabis use was more than $1 billion CND in 2012. Dr. Notarandrea described CCSA partnerships with NIDA, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and university, government, and civic organizations in British Columbia. CPDD International Committee Chair Clyde McCoy, M.D., University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, reported that the committee’s survey of fellowship utilization found genuine interest in international research collaboration. The biggest barrier to international research fellowships seems to be a lack of applicants, not an institutional or researcher bias against international collaboration. Dr. McCoy surprised Dr. Gust with an award from the CPDD International Committee in appreciation of his more than 30 years of service at NIDA, 18 of them as director of the NIDA International Program. Dr. McCoy also introduced the 2017 CPDD International Traveling Fellow, Effat Merghati Khoei, Ph.D., Iran, and her research visit host, Bruna Brands, Ph.D., Health Canada.
More details about the 2017 NIDA International Forum are available online: