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Searching information on drug research projects

This database contains information gathered in the course of the ERANID project during 2013 and 2014. Principally, it contains details of research projects on illicit drugs carried out since 2010 within the six ERANID countries and funded by the European Committee: Belgium; France; Italy; Portugal; The Netherlands; and the United Kingdom. However, this database will not capture all illicit drugs research carried out within a country.

57 projects matched the selected criteria:

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Development and evaluation of a transfer-oriented version of the Healthy School and Drugs program

Funding country
Netherlands
Project starting year
2012
Project ending year
2015
Area(s) of research
Prevention responses
Objectives
The present project comprises the development and evaluation of a transfer-oriented version of the Healthy School and Drugs (DGSG) program, a program used in 65% of Dutch secondary schools. The effectiveness of the transfer-oriented modules in comparison to the current DGSG modules is evaluated in a randomized trial. Effects will not only be examined with respect to the three substance use domains (alcohol, tobacco and cannabis), but also with respect to four domains which will not be addressed explicitly by the modules (i.e. fighting, bullying, leisure-time sports participation and fruit consumption).
Scientific discipline(s) involved
Psychology, Other discipline
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Initial identified needs
The categorical approach of school health promotion programs, with each program focusing on a specific health behavior domain, adds to the feeling of implementation overload in schools. A transfer-oriented learning approach offers a solution for such an overload since it has the potential to be effective in a range of domains, even in domains that are not explicitly taught. A previously conducted field experiment already showed the potential impact of such a transfer-oriented learning approach. Within the current project the conditions for effectiveness are incoperated within an excisting school-based prevention program which is widely disseminated among Dutch secondary schools.
Performed by
TNO
Trimbos-institute
Funded by
ZonMW
Summary references
Schools are more and more overloaded by requests to address health and other social themes, for which they have rather limited implementation capacity. The categorical approach of school health promotion programs, with each program focusing on a specific health behavior domain, adds to the feeling of implementation overload in schools. A transfer-oriented learning approach offers a solution for such an overload since it has the potential to be effective in a range of domains, even in domains that are not explicitly taught. It therefore limits instruction time. Transfer-oriented learning builds on similarities and associations between health behavior domains and stimulates students to apply relevant knowledge and skills to other domains than the ones in which these competencies were initially acquired. Many skills and knowledge are relevant to other domains (e.g. refusal skills share common principles across various domains and can be applied to smoking, drinking, unsafe sex, etc.). Recently, the Transferproject (ZonMw: 4005.0006) demonstrated the effectiveness of an experimental, transfer-oriented curriculum on several taught (smoking, safe sex) and untaught domains (alcohol, nutrition). That experimental curriculum is not eligible for large-scale implementation. That is why the present project aims at applying the knowledge gained from the Transferproject to a program that already is widely implemented and has a solid base in evidence and research. The present project comprises the development and evaluation of a transfer-oriented version of the Healthy School and Drugs (DGSG) program, a program used in 65% of Dutch secondary schools. The current version of DGSG includes teaching modules about alcohol, tobacco and cannabis which are implemented sequentially in the first three years of secondary education. Although effects of the current version have been demonstrated on substance use and behavioral determinants, effects were found to erode. The present project sets out to develop a transfer-oriented version of the alcohol and tobacco modules, based on insights into the promotion of transfer from educational psychology in general and the Transferproject in particular. Subsequently, the effectiveness of the transfer-oriented modules in comparison to the current DGSG modules is evaluated in a randomized trial. Effects will not only be examined with respect to the three substance use domains (alcohol, tobacco and cannabis), but also with respect to four domains which will not be addressed explicitly by the modules (i.e. fighting, bullying, leisure-time sports participation and fruit consumption). Compared to the current DGSG version, the transfer-oriented DGSG version is expected to (a) strengthen effects in the substance use domains (near transfer from alcohol/tobacco to alcohol/tobacco/cannabis), and to (b) produce effects in the four untaught domains (far transfer). The transfer literature and results of the Transferproject indicate that transfer effects are stronger or more likely to occur as domains are more strongly associated to the teaching domain. In addition to other reasons for selecting the four transfer domains for this study (health priority, prevalence), one reason is that the domains differ in strength of association with substance use, which enables studying the scope of transfer effects. Since fighting and bullying are more strongly associated with substance use than sports participation and fruit consumption, the strength of transfer effects in the fighting and bullying domains is expected to be higher. The randomized trial will be conducted among pre-vocational students (vmbo), which as a group have higher prevalence rates of substance use and other health-risk and antisocial behaviors than students in higher school levels. The study will span the first three years of secondary education, with the alcohol an
Website
Published reference(s)
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Serotonin transporter gene variation and sensitivity to conditioned cues: cause and cure in cocaine dependence

Funding country
Netherlands
Project starting year
2011
Project ending year
2015
Area(s) of research
Mechanism of drug use and effects
Objectives
To test the first hypothesis, we are performing a unique multidisciplinary and cross-species study in humans and rats. In the human experiments we will test 60 currently using cocaine addicts and 30 matched healthy subjects carrying the 5-HTTLPR s/s and l/l genotypes (controlled for genomic background). We will measure the interaction between addiction and fear extinction circuits using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy under basal conditions and during PFC-amygdala dependent fear extinction. This will reveal whether s/s healthy subjects and cocaine addicts are characterized by comparable changes in the PFC-amygdala circuit. Furthermore, we will conduct complementary rat experiments to elucidate whether changes in the PFC-amygdala pathway and associated extinction failures in homozygous/heterozygous serotonin transporter knockout (SERT-/-; SERT+/-) rats are pre-existing (neurodevelopmental) traits or pave the path for cocaine-induced neuropathology. To this end, we will use longitudinal experimental (MRI) set-ups. Testing the second hypothesis has a dual function: it provides further assessment of the theorized association between 5-HTTLPR-mediated changes in brain and behavior in cocaine addicts, and it reveals whether DCS supplemented exposure therapy can serve as individualized therapy in s/s cocaine addicts. Therefore, we will test whether a DCS challenge increases the recall of fear extinction memory and reduces cocaine craving, in both humans and rats.
Scientific discipline(s) involved
Neurosciences
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Initial identified needs
Until now, prevention and treatment of cocaine dependence have been only moderately successful, suggesting that the critical mechanisms underlying individual differences in vulnerability to cocaine dependence have not yet been identified. Behavior of cocaine addicts is strongly driven by cocaine-related conditioned stimuli (CSs). These CSs elicit negative emotional states and craving in cocaine addicts, and are notoriously difficult to extinguish. This may be due to reduced prefrontal cortical (PFC) top-down control over the amygdala. Indeed, cocaine addicts have a smaller, and potentially hyperactive, amygdala. The basis of disruption of the PFC-amygdala circuit may lie in the low activity (short; s) allelic variant of the human serotonin transporter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR), which is associated with a smaller and tonically active amygdala and a loss of PFC top-down control over the amygdala. In addition, s-allele carriers show impaired extinction of fear conditioned responses. This is most likely due to the overwhelming effect of CSs on behavior. However, a direct link between 5-HTTLPR-mediated changes and vulnerability to cocaine dependence has not yet been demonstrated. Because serotonin transporter knockout rats, which model the 5-HTTLPR s-allele and have constitutively increased central serotonin levels, show amygdala hyperreactivity, impaired extinction of fear conditioned responses, as well as a high motivation to self-administer cocaine, it is our first hypothesis that inherited serotonin transporter down-regulation predisposes to cocaine dependence due to impaired prefrontal cortical top-down control over the amygdala and high CS sensitivity. While high CS sensitivity may predispose to cocaine dependence, it may also provide a foothold for therapy. That is, s-allele carriers, as well as SERT-/- rats, quickly acquire new conditioned responses at the expense of a previously acquired conditioned response when CS valence is changed. The currently applied behavioral-cognitive therapy in drug dependence is exposure therapy, which involves the extinction of a conditioned fear response, a process of new learning. S-allele carriers respond poorly to exposure therapy, but extinction learning can be facilitated by D-cycloserine (DCS), a partial NMDA receptor agonist that acts in the PFC and amygdala and stimulates new learning. Given that neurodevelopmental changes in SERT-/- rodents involve glutamatergic projections, and that DCS increases PFC synaptic plasticity and inhibits serotonergic functioning, DCS may strengthen extinction memory in s-allele carriers and SERT-/- rats at the expense of their fear/cocaine memory. Therefore, it is our second hypothesis that individuals characterized by inherited serotonin transporter down-regulation and high CS sensitivity benefit from DCS supplemented exposure therapy. Taken together, we expect that our multidisciplinary cross-species studies will clarify whether high CS sensitivity associated with inherited serotonin transporter downregulation increases vulnerability to cocaine dependence on the one hand, and increases the responsivity to DCS supplemented exposure therapy on the other. Thereby, our project will lead to the identification of genetic, neural and behavioral biomarker(s) that predict both cause and cure in cocaine dependence. Furthermore, our experiments will shed new light on mechanisms underlying cocaine dependence, with focus on the PFC-amygdala circuit.
Performed by
Group of Dr. Homberg (Donders Institute in Nijmegen)
Group of Dr. Reneman (Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam)
Group of Dr. Dijkhuizen (Utrecht University Medical Centre, Utrecht)
Funded by
ZonMW
Summary references
n/a
Website
n/a
Published reference(s)
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The effectiveness of a cue-reminder intervention to reduce adolescents’ substance use in social contexts

Funding country
Netherlands
Project starting year
2012
Project ending year
2016
Area(s) of research
Prevention responses, Treatment responses, Harm reduction responses, Mechanism of drug use and effects
Objectives
This project will address the following questions: 1. Is it possible to replicate the preliminary effects of the cue-reminder on alcohol use? 2. Is it possible to transfer the effects of the cue-reminder to tobacco and cannabis use? 3. What is the best way to implement the cue (for the substance use behaviors separately or through a general approach)?
Scientific discipline(s) involved
Psychology
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Initial identified needs
The most commonly used substance in adolescence is alcohol, followed by tobacco and cannabis. Substance use among adolescents generally takes place within social settings. Both theory and empirical findings suggest that adolescent substance use is influenced by their social environment, for example by overt offers of substances, modeling, and social norms. Reminding adolescents of their own substance use limits and their susceptibility to environmental influences in settings where substance use is normative can help to control use. A pilot study showed that it is possible to create an association on a subconscious level between a symbol (cue-reminder) and information about empowerment, awareness and monitoring of one's own limits. A second pilot study in a real-life setting even suggested that the cue may have an inhibitory effect on alcohol consumption among young frequent drinkers. The present proposed project will further examine the effectiveness of the cue.
Performed by
Radboud University Nijmegen
Trimbos Institute, Utrecht
University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Funded by
ZonMw
Summary references
Website
Published reference(s)
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Effectiveness of intensive community-based care for persons with complex addiction problems: Contribution of specific program components

Funding country
Netherlands
Project starting year
2008
Project ending year
-
Area(s) of research
Objectives
- Provide a proper description of the intensive community-based care programs studied and in this way conduct an 'improved' effect study - Gain insight in the contribution of program components to effectiveness - Formulate recommendations on how to organize and implement effective intensive community-based care for persons with complex addiction problems
Scientific discipline(s) involved
Read more…
Initial identified needs
Performed by
Bemoeizorg Eindhoven
GGD Hart voor Brabant
GGZ Oost-Brabant
Novadic-Kentron
Funded by
ZonMw, University of Tilburg
Summary references
Website
Published reference(s)
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Mapping the cultural and economic geography of drug use in the EU

Funding country
Netherlands
Project starting year
2013
Project ending year
-
Area(s) of research
Supply and markets
Objectives
1. To get a better understanding of the long term dynamics of drug markets in the EU 2. to build a better understanding of the role of cultural settings in shaping drug consumer demand 3. develop new monitoring methods for drug governance
Scientific discipline(s) involved
Anthropology, Criminology, History
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Initial identified needs
Drug production, distribution and use has affected the lives of millions of people and brought in its wake questions of public health, public order, lifestyle and national and local but also group or individual identity. Throughout the 20th century, drug control often perpetuates the antithesis of control. Remarkably little is known about the long term dynamics of drug markets and ways of dealing with psychotropic drugs, moving between medical and public, legal and illegal spheres. We address the rather important question how and why drug regimes connect or disconnect with changing public sentiments and perceptions around drugs, with shifting drug markets and international drug regulations.
Performed by
Utrecht University
University of London
UMR CNRS 7220
University of Copenhagen
Funded by
University of Utrecht
Summary references
Website
http://pointsadhsblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/cultural-histories-of-substance-abuse-and-e-history-creating-an-international-multilingual-research-network/
Published reference(s)
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Deep Brain Stimulation in Chronic Treatment Refractory Drug Dependence: a Translational Study

Funding country
Netherlands
Project starting year
-
Project ending year
-
Area(s) of research
Treatment responses
Objectives
Examining efficacy of DBS
Scientific discipline(s) involved
Neurosciences, Other medical sciences, Psychiatry
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Initial identified needs
Treatment of refractory drug-addiction patients
Performed by
AMC Amsterdam
VUMC Amsterdam
Funded by
ZONMW
Summary references
Website
Published reference(s)
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Human cognition and the basal ganglia: where response selection and inhibition meet

Funding country
Netherlands
Project starting year
-
Project ending year
-
Area(s) of research
Consequences of drug use
Objectives
to study cognition in relation to khat and cocaine
Scientific discipline(s) involved
Neurosciences, Psychology
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Initial identified needs
Public health
Performed by
Institute for Psychology, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands
Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands
Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Funded by
NWO
Summary references
http://www.fsw.leidenuniv.nl/psychologie/organisatie/cognitievepsychologie/medewerkers/medewerkers/colzato.html
Website
Published reference(s)
Colzato, L.S., Ruiz, M.J., van den Wildenberg, W.P.M., & Hommel, B. (2012). Khat use is associated with increased response conflict in humans. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 27, 315–321.
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