Number 31, July 2010

The governments of Tanzania and the United States have announced that the first medication- assisted therapy (MAT) program for drug users in sub-Saharan Africa will begin shortly at two sites in Dar es Salaam and one in Zanzibar. Recognizing that high-risk practices related to drug use contribute to HIV transmission, the Tanzania Drug Control Commission (DCC) has promoted and adopted novel and evidence-based interventions to facilitate improved access to services that prevent HIV among drug users. Working with colleagues from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, former Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellow Dr. Amani Msami Kisanga, who leads the DCC Education, Information & Statistics Section, helped draft five documents outlining Tanzania’s response to HIV among drug users, including policy guidelines, an outreach service guide for HIV prevention among drug users, healthcare facility standards for MAT programs, clinical guidelines, and a substance abuse screening and brief intervention protocol for primary care settings. The documents were based in part on research conducted in Dar es Salam by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) International Program grantees Dr. Sheryl A. McCurdy, Dr. Michael W. Ross, and Dr. Mark L. Williams, University of Texas at Houston, and their Tanzanian partners Dr. Gad P. Kilonzo and Dr. M. T. Leshabari, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supported the DCC policy development and implementation efforts.

NIDA International Program Director Dr. Steven W. Gust

NIDA International Program Director
Dr. Steven W. Gust

The Society for Prevention Research (SPR) presented its 2010 International Collaborative Prevention Research Award to NIDA International Program Director Dr. Steven W. Gust at its 18th Annual Meeting, which was held June 1–4, 2010, in Denver, Colorado. The award recognized Dr. Gust’s contributions to advancing the field of prevention science globally during his decade of leading the International Program. One initiative Dr. Gust has supported is the SPR International Poster Session, which is cosponsored by the International Program and the NIDA Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research (DESPR). More than 30 scientists representing 13 countries presented their research at the poster session, and NIDA provided travel awards for 13 researchers who presented the results of drug abuse prevention research completed in international settings. SPR President Dr. Linda Collins, Penn State University, welcomed everyone to the poster session and encouraged SPR participants to take advantage of the great opportunity to network and learn about drug abuse prevention research around the world. NIDA International Program Director Dr. Steven Gust cited the importance of international research collaboration in promoting global health and noted that National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis S. Collins has made global health a priority area, focusing on building capacity and providing training opportunities in the developing world. Dr. Gust noted the many NIDA International Program fellowship and research exchange programs, and applauded the decision to focus the 2011 SPR meeting on international research. Researchers selected to receive NIDA travel awards to participate in the SPR international poster session included the following:

  • Cristina Bares, Ph.D., M.S.W., University of Michigan, United States
  • Josipa Basic, Ph.D., University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Sonja Bröning, Dr.Phil., University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
  • Carlos Calderon-Tena, M.A., Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center, United States
  • Martina Feric Slehan, Ph.D., University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Richard Isralowitz, Ph.D., Ben Gurion University, Israel
  • Rogers Kasirye, M.A., The Mentor Foundation, Uganda Youth Development Link, Uganda
  • Jorge McDouall, M.D., M.H.S., The Mentor Foundation, Colombia
  • Krzysztof Ostaszewski, Ph.D., Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Poland
  • Kari-Lyn Sakuma, Ph.D., Penn State University, United States
  • Santosh Sharma, M.A., CARE Nepal, Nepal
  • Hiie Silmere, M.S.W., Roberts Wesleyan College, United States
  • Peer van der Kreeft, University College Ghent, Belgium


Participants at the NIDA International Research Poster Session at the SPR Annual Meeting

More than 30 scientists representing 13 countries presented the results of drug abuse prevention research completed in international settings at the NIDA International Research Poster Session at the SPR Annual Meeting.

Building upon momentum from the previous year, more than 40 international scientists, policymakers, and community representatives participated in the 2010 International Networking Forum at SPR to share knowledge and information about prevention strategies and interventions involving international collaborations. A major topic this year was planning for the 2011 SPR Annual Meeting, which will focus on international research and promoting global health. The group suggested engaging and reaching out to other global organizations; potential speakers and session topics; and possible training or preconference workshops. Chair Dr. Brenda Miller, Prevention Research Center, Berkeley, announced that the SPR Board of Directors is creating an International Task Force to help involve more international colleagues in Society activities, and the group suggested strategies for communicating with international scientists. Dr. Steven W. Gust and Ms. Dale Weiss of the NIDA International Program introduced the NIDA International Virtual Collaboratory (NIVC), an online virtual meeting and collaboration tool, and explained how workgroups are using the tool to build professional relationships with distant colleagues, plan meetings, and exchange scientific information.

At the initial meeting of the new NIVC International Good Behavior Game (GBG) Network, researchers from Belgium, The Netherlands, and the United States reported dramatically similar results across six randomized trials on the effectiveness of GBG in preventing drug abuse and other adverse outcomes. The intervention, delivered by first-grade teachers, reduced aggressive behavior, tobacco and alcohol initiation, hyperactive and oppositional behavior, conduct disorder, drug and alcohol abuse disorders, antisocial personality disorder, suicide ideation and behavior, and service use for drugs and mental health problems. These positive findings from exposure to GBG were consistent across countries and from childhood through adolescence and into young adulthood. The network, which is co-chaired by Dr. Sheppard Kellam, Johns Hopkins University, and Hendricks Brown, University of Miami, is planning cross-site collaborations and joint dissemination activities focused on the 2011 SPR Annual Meeting and the newly formed European Society for Prevention Research.

Save the Date—2011 SPR Annual Meeting

Abstract Deadline: October 25, 2010
May 31–June 3, 2011
Hyatt Regency Washington
Washington, DC

As part of his research into preventing HIV and hepatitis C infections among injection drug users, Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, Ph.D., National Development and Research Institutes, noticed that drug dealers in New York were creating heroin brands by labeling the glassine envelopes in which they distributed the drug. Working with the Social Art Collective in New York City, Dr. Mateu-Gelabert and his colleagues interviewed drug dealers and users, as well as an artist who designs the brand images, while collecting the empty envelopes to create an art project that the New York Times said “is meant to examine the intersection of advertising and addiction and provoke questions about how society addresses dependence and disease.” In addition to 150 decorated envelopes collected from city streets, the exhibit includes 12 large-scale prints of the brand designs, 1,800 empty envelopes (representing a heavy heroin user’s annual consumption), and information cards describing injection drug use risks. Proceeds from the exhibit will be shared with a local needle-exchange program.

Perrine Roux, Pharm.D., Ph.D., French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), has been selected as a NIDA INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellow. She will work with Sandra D. Comer, Ph.D., Columbia University, to better define the concept of nonadherence to opioid maintenance treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone and to validate a tool to measure nonadherence using a self-administered questionnaire. The researchers predict that identification of factors associated with nonadherence will provide important information on how to improve clinical management and outcomes in patients abusing heroin or prescription opioids, with or without chronic pain symptoms. At Inserm, Dr. Roux has participated in a longitudinal study of drug treatment for marginalized populations, a national trial of hepatitis C risk reduction interventions for prisoners, and a trial of methadone in primary care for hepatitis C prevention.

Kathleen T. Brady, M.D., Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), will use her NIDA Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Award (USDISCA) to extend her research collaboration with Maree Teesson, Ph.D., Australian National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), University of New South Wales. The team will collaborate on statistical analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of research findings on treatment of co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders in preparation for publications and a 2011 international symposium on the topic. Drs. Brady and Teesson also will explore capacity development in multisite clinical trials, translational research, and concept development. Dr. Brady directs the Clinical Neuroscience Division at MUSC, focusing on substance use disorders and co-occurring psychiatric and medical conditions, is the principal investigator of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network Southern Consortium Node, and is MUSC Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research.

Kenneth W. Griffin, Ph.D., M.P.H., Weill Cornell Medical College, and Irina Pervova, Ph.D., St. Petersburg State University (SPSU), used Dr. Griffin’s U.S. Distinguished International Scientist Collaboration Award (USDISCA) to conduct key informant interviews and focus groups on the epidemiology, etiology, and prevention activities regarding adolescent substance use in St. Petersburg; to conduct a local prevention needs assessment; and to obtain government and university approval to adapt, test, and refine evidence-based family prevention programs that address differences between the United States and Russia in culture, language, and organizational structures. The pair, who met while planning a 2006 NIDA-funded conference in St. Petersburg, has already submitted one grant application, a feasibility study for drug abuse prevention trials, and is developing two others. While he was in St. Petersburg, Dr. Griffin also presented at two SPSU conferences, met with U.S. consular officials, participated in a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime seminar, and met with kindergarten through 12th-grade educators.

INVEST-Clinical Trials Network (CTN) Fellow Mario Zapata, M.D., M.Sc., focused primarily on brief strategic family therapy and ended his fellowship year by submitting a grant application to fund a pilot project testing the effectiveness of the brief strategic family therapy protocol in Colombia. Working at the CTN Florida Node at the University of Miami, Dr. Zapata also helped develop protocols testing the effectiveness of rapid HIV testing and counseling; 12-step behavioral interventions; Web-based treatment delivery; and emergency room screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment. He enrolled in academic courses about clinical trials and child and adolescent psychology, participated in scientific meetings, and presented his research to the CTN Steering Committee.

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.

Funding Opportunities

Upcoming Application Deadlines

Upcoming Program Announcement Receipt Dates From Fogarty International Center