Research Centers & Affiliations

IUHR - National Strategic Plan on Hispanic Drug Abuse Research

Development of a National Strategic Plan on Hispanic Drug Abuse Research

Hortensia Amaro, PhD, Northeastern University
Amanda Navarro, MPH, Northeastern University

Funding Resource:

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Body of Abstract:

To develop a national strategic plan on Hispanic drug abuse research that will be presented to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, other funding agencies and policy makers. While drug abuse and drug addiction are critical problems in Hispanic communities, there is a dearth of scientific knowledge on drug use, prevention approaches and treatment among Hispanic populations. There is even more severe dearth of knowledge on basic biologic and behavioral research relevant to drug abuse. The strategic plan outlines critical areas of research gaps and makes specific suggestions for increasing research efforts, improving existing research and increasing the number of scientists conducting research on Hispanic drug abuse. The plan will help to:

  1. increase our understanding of drug abuse among Hispanics
  2. to identify, develop and test improved prevention and treatment interventions for Hispanic Americans
  3. increase support for the training and mentoring of young Hispanic scientists in drug abuse research.

National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse (NHSN) Steering Committee provided input on the composition of an Expert Panel comprised of 11 senior research scientists who are leaders in drug abuse research and training of Hispanic scientists, as well as staff from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH). The Expert Panel identified 8 priority areas to include in the strategic plan:

  1. Epidemiology
  2. Prevention
  3. Treatment
  4. Blending Research and Practice
  5. Health Services
  7. Neuroscience
  8. Training & Mentoring.

As Chair of one of the priority areas stated above, each Expert Panel member was responsible for recruiting other researchers with expertise in the priority areas and write a chapter summarizing the existing literature, research gaps, opportunities for future, and recommendations for research and training. The recommendations focus primarily on the research agenda for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, but will also relevant to other funding agencies as philanthropies, states with research portfolios and other NIH bodies. A 2-day meeting of the Expert Panel was held in Boston from March 6-8, 2003, to discuss the first draft of the strategic plan and comments received by external reviewers including recommendations to be presented in the plan.

Next Steps
The Expert Panel members and project staff will complete the third, and final, draft of the plan by mid-May. The plan will then be presented to the NIDA Director, key high-level NIDA staff and RWJF staff, and to the Hispanic Congressional Caucus.

The plan is still under development so the final report and recommendations have not yet been finalized. The NHSN will track the impact of the report by documenting the number of recommendations adopted by major funding agencies of drug abuse research.

If successful, this strategy will result in increased and improved research on Hispanic drug abuse and on increased opportunities for the training of Hispanic researchers in this area.

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