NIH News Advisory
National Institute on Drug Abuse

Friday, June 8, 2001

Blair Gately

Researchers on the Frontline of Tracking Drug Use to Hold 50th Biannual Meeting June 12-15
Reports Have Given Early Warning of National Trends
For the past 25 years, drug abuse researchers and public health officials from across the country have been ahead of the curve when it comes to identifying trends such as the surge in heroin use, the emergence of crack, and the increase in methamphetamine use across the United States.

This network of drug abuse experts from 20 metropolitan areas and the state of Texas, known as the Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG), was established in 1976 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and meets twice a year to assess local drug use trends and how they may affect the nation.

"Since it began, the CEWG has given the country frontline reports and warnings about emerging drug use trends in the United States," notes Dr. Alan I. Leshner, director, NIDA. "Most recently, this group gave us an early warning about the dramatic surge in the use of Ecstasy (MDMA) and the increasing abuse of prescription drugs. Their localized reports about drug use problems are invaluable in our efforts to stave off emerging drug crises."

On June 12-15, the CEWG will open its 50th meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel, 1750 Rockville Pike, in Rockville, Maryland.

The CEWG includes researchers from Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Newark, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and the state of Texas. Specific information sources that they access and analyze include treatment and mortality data from local or state agencies; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN); the National Institute of Justice's Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) System; and seizure, price, purity, prescription/distribution, and arrest data from the Drug Enforcement Administration and state and local law enforcement agencies and quantitative information from ethnographic studies and focus groups.

CEWG Meeting Agenda Highlights

The 50th meeting will open on Tuesday, June 12, at 8:55 a.m. with introductory comments from meeting chair Nicholas Kozel. Tuesday's session will include reports from Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Philadelphia; Newark; New York City; Boston, Atlanta; Miami; New Orleans; St. Louis; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Chicago; and Detroit. The agenda on Wednesday, June 13, will feature a dialogue with NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner and reports from Texas, Denver, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Honolulu, followed by discussion. Late afternoon sessions will feature a female perspective on experiences and opinions of Mexican heroin users and an update from the Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use.

The morning session Thursday, June 14, will feature discussions of HIV risk behaviors and drug injector networks; the Drug Evaluation Network System (DENS), a treatment tracking monitoring system; a school-based preventive intervention trial aimed at the early antecedents of aggression, depression, and substance abuse; HIV infection and heroin abuse in China; sex, drugs, and HIV in Brazil; and an update from the Mexican Epidemiologic Surveillance System on Addiction.

The afternoon session will include reflections on the Washington, D.C., drug scene and a panel discussion: "Observations and Perspectives: NIDA's CEWG at 25-Where We Have Been and Where We Should Be Going."

-The Friday, June 15 morning session will have an international component, including presentations from researchers and discussions among health officials and academicians from selected countries, including South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. That morning, there also will be discussions about several NIDA programs, including the Center on AIDS and Other Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse; the Division of Treatment Research and Development's Clinical Trials Network; and the Office of Science Policy and Communications.

The meeting will conclude with discussions of national surveillance systems, including an overview of the National Drug Intelligence Center and its mission; the DEA's heroin signature and domestic monitoring program; findings about adult male arrestees from the Year 2000 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program of the National Institute of Justice; and an update of the redesign of SAMHSA's Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN).

Note: A list of the members of the CEWG is available at: A preliminary agenda is included, and the media is invited to attend the meeting. To register or arrange interviews, please call the NIDA press office at (301) 443-6245.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and other topics can be ordered free of charge in English and Spanish by calling NIDA Infofax at 1-888-NIH-NIDA (644-6432) or 1-888-TTY-NIDA (889-6432) for the deaf. These fact sheets and further information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at

Preliminary Agenda, Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG), Rockville, Maryland