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Number 23, December 2008

This E-News is issued every other month to inform the international drug abuse research community about:

What’s New

New Funding Initiatives

NIDA has issued several new funding announcements of interest to the international drug abuse research community:

  • Supplements Support U.S.-Netherlands Binational Collaborative Research
    NIDA will provide up to $300,000 to support up to three 1-year administrative supplements to ongoing NIDA grants for U.S. researchers working with Dutch partners. The Dutch Addiction Program (DAP) will provide matching funds to support the Dutch researchers. Dutch applicants must submit a letter of intent by December 9, 2008. U.S. applications are due on or before April 7, 2009.
  • Innovative Grant Encourages Secondary Data Analysis and Infrastructure Advancement
    NIDA intends to commit $2 million to support 7 to 10 grants for two-phased projects that conduct secondary analysis of existing biological datasets and advance data and computational infrastructure relevant to these analyses. Phased Innovation (R21/R33) applications must be received on or before January 28, 2009.
  • NIDA Funds Short Courses on Tools for Studying Biological Systems
    NIDA has joined four other NIH Institutes in a Program Announcement sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) to support multidisciplinary research on complex biological systems. NIDA will support applications that address short courses and workshops that foster the interaction of computational scientists, information specialists, statisticians, and ontological engineers directly with investigators in substance abuse research. The first application deadline is January 25, 2009.
  • NIDA Reissues PAs for International Research Collaboration
    As reported in the November E-News Special Alert, NIDA has reissued its Program Announcements soliciting collaborative research proposals by U.S. investigators working with investigators from other countries. Applications may be submitted to Grants.gov beginning January 16, 2009, and the Program Announcements expire January 8, 2012.

    Applicants may propose investigations using three mechanisms:

United States and Spain Sign Letter of Intent for Scientific Collaboration and Exchange

On October 18, 2008, NIDA and the National Plan on Drugs (PNSD), the government agency responsible for drug policy and programs in Spain, signed an agreement to pursue a program of scientific collaboration and exchange in the fields of biomedical and behavioral research related to drug abuse. Cooperation may include activities designed to further scientific and academic interactions between NIDA and PNSD’s National Institute of Drug Research and Training (INIFD); to complement their respective areas of expertise; and to enhance their missions, particularly as they relate to the advancement of drug abuse research. The program for cooperation in research between NIDA-identified scientists and scientists identified by INIFD will include the exchange of scientists, information (including joint workshops), and research materials as well as other forms of research cooperation agreed upon and encouraged by both Institutes. The agreement has its roots in more than a decade of cooperation between NIDA and PNSD. The relationship began when the agencies cosponsored binational scientific meetings on drug abuse in 1997 and 1999 and has included additional workshops, scientific exchanges, and research training and exchanges since that time. The newest INVEST Fellow, Marta Concheiro Guísan, is from Spain.

Government Delegate to PNSD Carmen Moya Garcia, Dr. Nora D. Volkow, and Spanish Minister of Health and Consumer Affairs Bernat Soria Escoms Carmen Moya Garcia, Government Delegate to PNSD (left), shakes hands with NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow as Spanish Minister of Health and Consumer Affairs Bernat Soria Escoms looks on following signing ceremonies for a binational agreement between NIDA and PNSD to cooperate on drug abuse research.

NIDA Poster Session at SfN Features International Neuroscientists

NIDA organized an Early Career Investigators Poster Session on Friday, November 14, as part of NIDA’s mini-convention on Frontiers in Addiction Research at the Society for Neuroscience Research meeting in Washington, D.C. The invited poster session showcased drug abuse and drug-related neuroscience research by:

  • Brazil: Alline Cristina de Campos, Daniel Fraga, Sabrina F. deS. Lisboa, Leonardo Resstel Barbosa Moraes, and Ana Luisa Bernardes Terzian
  • Canada: Stephanie L. Borgland
  • China: Wenhua Zhou
  • France: Amynah Pradhan
  • India: Sharad Shashwat
  • Iran: Pouya Tahsili Fahadan
  • Italy: Michela Ferrucci
  • Japan: Keiichi Niikura and Hideko Yamamoto
  • Poland: Anna Golda
  • Portugal: Frederico Pereira
  • Spain: Alejandro Higuera Matas
  • Thailand: Rasmon Kalayasiri
  • United Kingdom: Tomasz Schneider.

The international poster presenters were supported, in part, by NIDA and the International Union of Pharmacology, International Brain Research Organization, International Narcotics Research Conference, College on Problems of Drug Dependence, International Cannabinoid Research Society, and International Drug Abuse Research Society.

NIDA Shares Research Priorities and Funding Mechanisms With United Kingdom

The Medical Research Council (MRC), a publicly funded organization charged with coordinating addiction research throughout the United Kingdom, is developing a strategy to make better use of existing expertise and infrastructure, build U.K. research capacity, increase coordination among stakeholders, and conduct interdisciplinary studies on addiction to alcohol, nicotine, illicit drugs, and gambling. At the request of MRC officials, NIDA International Program Director Dr. Steven W. Gust participated in a workshop in London on November 4, 2008, to identify thematic priorities for new addiction research clusters. Dr. Gust summarized NIDA research priorities in prevention among children and adolescents, new targets and strategies for treatment interventions, and HIV/AIDS and mechanisms the Institute uses to support research and develop research infrastructure at the individual, institutional, and inter-institutional levels.

NIDA, CRDF Support Two HIV/AIDS and Drug Abuse Research Teams

With funding provided by NIDA and administered by the U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation (CRDF), two teams of U.S. and Eurasian scientists have earned support for innovative projects in HIV/AIDS and drug abuse research. The grant competition was a follow-up activity to the joint NIDA/CRDF April 2008 proposal development workshop in Kiev, Ukraine, which focused on identifying a research agenda and developing regional collaborative research proposals. The first team will investigate HIV transmission among injecting and non-injecting drug users in Tallinn, Estonia. Dr. Anneli Uuskula, University of Tartu, Estonia, is the Eurasian primary investigator (PI); Dr. Don das Jarlais, Beth Israel Medical Center, is the U.S. PI. The investigators will examine the linkages between these two groups that might explain transmission and provide insight into observed increases in HIV infections among heterosexuals and women in Estonia. The second team will assess new trends in HIV-related risk patterns of injecting drug use and drug distribution in four Eurasian countries with substantial presence of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. Former NIDA Humphrey Fellow Dr. Tomas Zabransky, Charles University, Czech Republic, is the Eurasian PI; Dr. Robert Booth, University of Colorado, is the U.S. PI. Other members of the five-country team include Dr. Zaruhi Beglaryan, United Nations Development Programme, Armenia; former NIDA Humphrey Fellow Dr. David Otiashvili, Union Alternative, Georgia; Dr. Oleksander Zeziulin, Vinnitsya Regional Narcological Dispensary, Ukraine; former WHO/NIDA/CPDD International Traveling Fellow Dr. Konstantyn Dumchev, Vinnitsya Regional Narcological Dispensary, Ukraine; former NIDA Humphrey Fellow Dr. Sergiy Dvoryak, Ukrainian Institute on Public Health Policy; Dr. Joseph E. Schumacher, University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States; and Dr. Shruti Mehta, Johns Hopkins University, United States. The multinational team will combine qualitative and quantitative techniques to develop data about HIV among drug users, recent developments in drug scenes that are associated with the transmission of blood-borne diseases, and the individual and social dynamics of HIV risks. 

NHSN Honors NIDA’s Steve Gust

The National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse (NHSN) presented its National Award of Excellence in Public Service to NIDA International Program Director Dr. Steven W. Gust on October 2, 2008. The NHSN National Award of Excellence in Public Service recognizes an individual whose work in public service has promoted the development of Hispanic substance abuse researchers and research on drug abuse among Hispanic populations. NHSN cited Dr. Gust’s instrumental role in establishing the group’s International Subcommittee, attracting more international members and expanding NHSN activities to Latin America.

Dr. Patricia Molina, Dr. Antonio Cepeda-Benito, and Dr. Steven Gust Dr. Patricia Molina, chair of the NHSN Membership and Awards Subcommittee, and Dr. Antonio Cepeda-Benito, chair of the NHSN International Subcommittee, present the NHSN National Award of Excellence in Public Service to NIDA International Program Director Dr. Steven W. Gust, center.

Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies Wins Hamdan Award

The Syrian Center for Tobacco Studies was selected as the winner of the 2008 Hamdan Award for the best medical college, institute, or center in the Arab World. Dr. Wasim Maziak is the director of the center and a NIDA grantee at the University of Memphis in the United States. The Syrian Center, which is now training researchers throughout the Arab region, was established in 2002 with the support of the Syrian government and NIDA, in collaboration with the Syrian Society Against Cancer, Aleppo University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Former NIDA/CICAD Awardee Directs Chilean Research on Narcotics 

Dr. David Huepe, recipient of a NIDA/CICAD Competitive Research Award, was recently appointed head of research at the National Council on Narcotics (CONACE, or Consejo Nacional contra Estupefacientes) in Chile. Dr. Huepe completed his Ph.D. in sociology from the Pontificada Catholic University of Chile with a dissertation on a predictive model for the relationship between family, peers, and students and the different drug consumer profiles in Chile’s secondary school population. The NIDA/CICAD Competitive Research Awards are cosponsored through the NIDA Latin American Initiative and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD).

REDLA Identifies Worrisome Trends in Latin American Drug Use

Fourteen members of REDLA (the Latin American Epidemiological Network known more commonly by its Spanish name, la Red Latinoamericana de Investigadores en Drogas) met prior to the June 2008 NIDA International Forum to analyze the drug situation in each country, identify knowledge gaps that could be closed through secondary analysis of existing databases, and create a work plan to analyze cross-national databases in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and the United States, including Puerto Rico. REDLA is a network of academic researchers coordinated by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) and supported by NIDA. Participants noted increased drug use in almost all countries, particularly regarding the use of marijuana and cocaine. Perception of risk appeared to be decreasing in all countries. Attendees reported that prescription drug use without a prescription or medical supervision is now widespread across Latin America and culturally accepted, as with the use of benzodiazepines among Brazilian women. REDLA members noted that national and multinational surveys do not clearly identify which pharmaceuticals are most commonly misused and suggested that future CICAD surveys include a more precise breakdown of pharmaceuticals misused and better classification of abused inhalants. In addition, discussion revealed a series of patterns of substance use that were previously unknown or rarely observed in Latin America:

  • Binge drinking.
  • Jarra Loca—mixing strong liquor with pharmaceuticals, which had been previously reported in Paraguay, has recently been reported in Argentina, Peru, and Brazil.
  • Merla—the combination of cocaine or crack with cannabis is growing in popularity among Brazilians.
  • Heroin mixed with Xylazine—Puerto Rican injection drug users have been reported to add Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer, to heroin, believing that the mixture mimics or extends the effects of heroin.

DrugPubs: NIDA’s New Research Dissemination Center

DrugPubs, NIDA’s new Research Dissemination Center, opened in September. DrugPubs replaces NIDA’s participation in the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) Web site and phone service. The new site will streamline the dissemination of NIDA’s research-based products to the public. NIDA publications can now be ordered by selecting the DrugPubs icon on the NIDA home page, www.drugabuse.gov, and via phone (+1-877-643-2644), fax (+1-240-645-0227), or TTY (+1-240-645-0228).

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Funding Opportunities

International Research Collaboration on Drug Addiction

The NIDA International Program solicits collaborative research proposals on drug abuse and addiction that are conducted in whole or in part outside the United States by U.S. investigators in collaboration with investigators from other countries; take advantage of a unique set of resources or subject populations that would otherwise be difficult to access domestically; and address NIDA’s scientific priority areas, which currently include linkages between HIV/AIDS and drug abuse, methamphetamine abuse, inhalant abuse, smoking during pregnancy, and drugs and driving. The reissued Program Announcements expire January 8, 2012, and applications may be submitted to Grants.gov beginning January 16, 2009. Funds are available for research using three grant mechanisms: 

Existing NIDA-Supported Funding Opportunities

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Funding Opportunities and Notices

Upcoming Program Announcement Receipt Dates From Fogarty International Center

International Research Scientist Development Award (IRSDA)
December 16, 2008; December 16, 2009
For junior U.S. scientists interested in research on global health; grantees are required to spend 50 percent of the grant period conducting research in developing countries.

Fogarty International Center

Research Training and Exchange Updates

Upcoming Application Deadlines

INVEST Fellow Ends Year With Scientific Presentations

Dr. Adhi Nurhidayat, Indonesia, chaired one session at the Pre-Pacific Rim College of Psychiatrists (PRCP) meeting and presented on Indonesia’s mental health policy during the meeting, which was held in Tokyo, Japan, October 29– November 2, 2008. A 2007–2008 NIDA INVEST Fellow, Dr. Nurhidayat was awarded a travel scholarship from PRCP to participate in the meeting. He also received a travel scholarship from the World Health Organization and the International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM) to present on addiction medicine in Indonesia during the ISAM Annual Scientific Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, November 17–20, 2008. Earlier, Dr. Nurhidayat was awarded a travel scholarship to the Society for Prevention Research conference held in San Francisco, May 27–31, 2008, where he presented a poster on evaluation of HIV prevention programs in Indonesia. With his mentors, Dr. David Metzger and Dr. George Woody of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Nurhidayat has submitted one research grant proposal that is under review, and he is preparing a second grant application and two articles.

NIDA Selects Spanish Forensic Toxicologist as INVEST Fellow

Dr. Marta Concheiro Guísan, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, has been selected as a NIDA INVEST Fellow. Working with Dr. Marilyn Heustis, NIDA Intramural Research Program (IRP), Dr. Concheiro aims to develop and validate an analytical method to quantify the level of buprenorphine in the oral fluid and sweat of pregnant, opioid-dependent women receiving buprenorphine maintenance treatment. Although maternal plasma concentrations provide actual levels of free buprenorphine and metabolites that can cross the placenta and reach the fetus, plasma is rarely collected for monitoring purposes. Oral fluid and sweat testing both offer promising, noninvasive alternatives to plasma collection. Drs. Concheiro and Heustis will develop and validate a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method to measure the concentration of buprenorphine and its metabolites, and then correlate that data with administered dose; maternal and neonatal outcomes; and data from maternal urine and plasma specimens and infant placenta, umbilical cord, and meconium specimens. A pharmacist and forensic toxicologist, Dr. Concheiro has been a researcher at the University of Santiago de Compostela, CIENTISOL S.L., and Cienytech. Her postdoctoral fellowship at the NIDA IRP was supported by the Spanish Fundación Española de Ciencia y Tecnología.

NIDA Welcomes Humphrey Fellows

Ms. Dale Weiss, program analyst from the NIDA International Program, met with Hubert H. Humphrey (HHH) Fellows at two fall meetings to introduce NIDA opportunities available during their fellowships. Ms. Weiss met with NIDA-supported Humphrey Fellows in Substance Abuse Education, Treatment, and Prevention at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) on September 19, 2008. Ms. Weiss introduced NIDA resources, including the NIDA International Virtual Collaboratory (NIVC), a password-protected tool to support geographically distant partners in collaborative research, discussion, and education, and met individually with the fellows to discuss their research affiliations. During a 4-day Global Leadership Forum sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education, Ms. Weiss met October 20 and 21, 2008, with HHH Fellows in Drug Abuse and Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, HHH Fellows in HIV/AIDS Policy and Prevention from Emory University, and HHH Fellows in Public Health Policy and Management from Tulane University. She discussed National Institutes of Health (NIH) opportunities open to the fellows, the international research priorities of NIDA Divisions, and the NIDA International Program’s role in strengthening research networks outside the United States by creating opportunities for global research collaboration, training, and scientific exchange. The NIDA-supported Humphrey Fellows at VCU include:

  • Mr. Daniel Akwasi Amankwaah, Ghana 
    Mr. Amankwaah obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science and French in 1994 and his LL.B. degree in 2007 from the University of Ghana. He is currently the head of the Legal Liaison Unit of the Ghana Narcotics Control Board. Prior to that, he was the head of the Demand Reduction Department and was responsible for United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime demand reduction activities in Ghana. He has worked extensively with nongovernmental organizations in substance abuse prevention and education. During his fellowship, Mr. Amankwaah will focus on substance abuse policy, criminal justice, and designing substance abuse prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation programs.
  • Dr. Muna H. Sawwaf, Saudi Arabia
    Dr. Sawwaf obtained her medical degree with honors from King Saud University in 1989 and completed her fellowship in general psychiatry in 1994. Dr. Sawwaf’s postgraduate training includes studies at the University of London in women’s mental health and drug addiction, and a postgraduate diploma in psychological medicine from University College Dublin. She is a consultant psychiatrist and head of the Department of Psychiatry at King Fahd General Hospital in Jeddah, and a member of the scientific advisory board of Mentor Arabia and Mentor International, a nongovernmental organization that deals with drug abuse prevention programs. In 2007, she was awarded an International Fellowship from the American Psychiatric Association. Her fellowship goals are to learn more about managing drug addiction in women, behavioral and pharmacological drug treatments, and prevention programs.
  • Dr. Munir Ahmed, Bangladesh 
    Dr. Ahmed obtained his medical degree in 1989, a master’s degree in public health in 2003, and a diploma in health economics degree in 2004 from Dhaka University. From 1991–2002, he worked in the tribal tea plantation area of Bangladesh where malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, and alcohol addiction are endemic. In 2004, he joined CARE’s harm reduction program for injection drug users and heroin smokers. Since early 2006, he has led operations for CARE’s HIV program. During his fellowship year, Dr. Ahmed will focus on drug treatment modalities, including self-help groups and treatment for drug overdoses, prevention programs, and drug control policy and legislation.
  • Mr. Oleksii Smirnov, Ukraine 
    Mr. Smirnov is a senior program officer for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, coordinating HIV prevention projects in southern Ukraine. He has master’s degrees from Warsaw University and the Central European University in Budapest. Mr. Smirnov organized three waves of Participatory Site Assessments (PSA) that identified subgroups of injecting drug users (IDUs), locations where they congregate, and their migration. As a result of the PSAs, local nongovernmental organizations have implemented evidence-based practices in different regions of Ukraine. Since HIV/AIDS is spread mostly among IDUs in Ukraine, during his fellowship, Mr. Smirnov wants to learn new strategies for harm reduction, rehabilitation, and substitution therapy for this vulnerable group. He is also interested in substance abuse policy and drug control legislation.
  • Dr. Petr Popov, Czech Republic 
    Dr. Popov received his medical degree from Charles University Prague in 1987, where he also completed his specialty in psychiatry in 1991 and his postgraduate specialty in drug abuse in 1997. He is head of the Division of Substance Abuse Services of the General Faculty Hospital Prague and head of the Department of Addictive Disorders at the Czech Institute of Postgraduate Study in Medicine. Dr. Popov is chairman of the Czech Society of Addictive Medicine and has attended psychiatry and addictions conferences and training workshops throughout Europe and the United States. During his fellowship year, Dr. Popov will study drug treatment modalities, policies, prevention, drug control legislation, and professional training programs.
  • Dr. Tekendra Kumar Rai, India
    Dr. Rai obtained his bachelor of medicine and surgery from Marathwada University in 1990. After completing his doctoral degree in pharmacology in 1996, he joined the Drugs Cell in the Indian State of Sikkim Department of Health, where he was responsible for the enforcement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. Currently, he oversees the Sikkim State Anti-Drugs Unit, where he framed legislation to control abuse and trafficking of prescription drugs. During his fellowship, Dr. Rai will focus on policy, prevention, and drug control legislation regarding prescription drug abuse and the relationship between HIV/AIDS and injection drug use, particularly among adolescents and women.
  • Dr. Adrian Octavian Abagiu, Romania
    Dr. Abagiu graduated from the Bucharest University of Medicine in 1987 and earned a Ph.D. in medical science in 2000. He has been a senior doctor in infectious diseases since 1994 and was head of the Infectious Diseases Department of the Bucharest Prison Hospital until 2000. Currently, he is working as senior doctor in infectious diseases at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Bucharest and as medical coordinator for the ARENA Center, the first Romanian low-threshold center for methadone maintenance treatment. During his fellowship, Dr. Abagiu hopes to learn more about substance abuse prevention and treatment, especially for multidrug use, and about program development and evaluation of direct clinical services for patients with co-occurring disorders.

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International Society for the Study of Drug Policy (ISSDP)
March 2-3, 2009
Vienna, Austria

ISSDP Workshop on Drug Policy Modeling
March 4, 2009
Vienna, Austria
Abstract Deadline: December 15, 2008

2009 Calendar of Scientific Meetings

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Press Releases

NIH News & Events

NIDA Newsroom

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Other Items of Interest

NIDA Clinical Trials Network Dissemination Library

NIDA Clinical Trials Network Data Share

NIDA Methadone Research Web Guide

NIDA International Virtual Collaboratory

National Library of Medicine (NLM)

NIH Library Research Tools

The Research Assistant

Publishing Addiction Research Internationally: www.PARINT.org

NOTE: The following information is being provided for informational purposes only. Reference to any Web site listed below does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by NIDA/NIH/HHS.


The International Certification in Addiction Medicine offers an International Certification in Addiction Medicine for physicians.

Access to Free or Low-Cost Online Publications for Researchers

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This page was last updated November 2008