Acting on its mission to work with neighboring countries in joint efforts to address drug addiction and its consequences, NIDA has launched a Latin American Initiative designed to increase training in areas such as diagnosis, data analysis, and clinical trials; stimulate the creation of regional networks to improve surveillance and research activities; expand NIDA’s library of Spanish-language resources; and provide information useful to policymakers. The NIDA International Program will lead efforts to accomplish these goals by partnering with organizations such as the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) at the Organization of American States, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to support training programs, surveillance activities, and database analyses. The NIDA International Program also will coordinate efforts by other NIDA and NIH components, including NIDA's Division of Epidemiology, Services and Pevention Research, and Clinical Trials Network, and the Fogarty International Center, to promote surveillance activities, clinical trials, and training programs. Initial activities include:
- NIDA supported the participation of Dr. Ivan Montoya, Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse, in the March 2006 organizational meeting of the UNODC Central America Regional Substance Abuse Treatment Network, where representatives from the six participating Central American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) met to identify focus areas in drug abuse research and training and begin developing a clinical research infrastructure.
- The NIDA International Program will partner with CICAD to support the organization of a Latin American Epidemiology Working Group (LAEWG) similar to the NIDA Community Epidemiology Working Group (CEWG). The International Program will support the participation of Latin American scientists and CICAD representatives at the June 2006 CEWG meeting and the organizational LAWEG meeting in October 2006. NIDA also will support the participation of NIDA staff and National Hispanic Science Network (NHSN) representatives at the LAEWG organizational meeting.
- The NIDA International Forum, which will be held June 16-20, 2006, in conjunction with the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, will include a plenary session to identify relevant activities supported by NIDA and its partner agencies and a Spanish-language workshop to stimulate the creation of regional surveillance and research networks. Representatives from CICAD, PAHO, UNODC, NHSN, and the U.S. Department of State will participate in the NIDA International Forum sessions.