Bulletin Board

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New Leader Named for NIDA's Neuroscience and Behavioral Research Division

Dr. Glen R. HansonDr. Glen R. Hanson

Dr. Glen R. Hanson is the new director of NIDA's Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Research. As a NIDA-supported investigator for more than 20 years, Dr. Hanson focused his research on the movement of brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine across cell membranes, the toxic effect of methamphetamine and MDMA (ecstasy) on the nervous system, and the role of neuropeptides in amphetamine and cocaine effects.

Prior to joining NIDA in September, Dr. Hanson was a professor in the University of Utah's Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. He holds a D.D.S. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah. From 1978 to 1980, Dr. Hanson was a Fellow in the National Institutes of Health Pharmacology Research Associates Training Program.

Steroid Abusers May Go on to Abuse Opioids, Too

Recent research findings suggest that men who abuse anabolic-androgenic steroids may begin to abuse heroin or other opioid drugs, such as prescription pain relievers, as well. Dr. Harrison G. Pope, Jr., and his colleagues at Harvard Medical School in Boston reviewed histories of patients at a private drug-abuse treatment facility in New Jersey and found that among 227 men admitted for treatment of opioid addiction in 1999, 21 (9.3 percent) reported that they had used anabolic-androgenic steroids. None of the men had used other illicit drugs prior to their steroid abuse, and most of the men said they were introduced to opioids through the dealers who supplied them with steroids and through the building subculture.

Eighteen of the former steroid users said they had started using opioid drugs to counteract steroid-induced insomnia and irritability; 14 said they used opioids to counteract the depression that accompanied withdrawal from anabolic steroids.

The study was reported in a letter to The New England Journal of Medicine.

Acupuncture Shows Promise as Element of Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

An ancient Chinese therapy, acupuncture, when combined with Western treatments, holds promise for treatment of cocaine addiction. Acupuncture has been widely used in drug treatment facilities throughout the United States, but findings from earlier controlled studies have been inconclusive. Recently, though, researchers found positive results for the efficacy of acupuncture in a "fairly rigorous, randomized, controlled clinical trial," says Debra Grossman of NIDA's Division of Treatment Research and Development.

Dr. Arthur Margolin and his research team at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, report that cocaine-addicted patients who received a course of auricular acupuncture (needles inserted into four specific points in the outer ear) were more likely to be free of cocaine during treatment than were patients not receiving acupuncture.