RIA awarded five NIH grants totaling more than $6 million

RIA building

UB’s Research Institute on Addictions is located on Main Street in downtown Buffalo.

 

By SARA R. SALDI

Published August 22, 2013

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“Given the current funding climate, only the most outstanding research projects are being funded.”

Kenneth Leonard, director

Research Institute on Addictions

UB’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) recently was awarded more than $6 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to fund five innovative studies that will expand knowledge on societal ramifications of drug and alcohol use.

The studies cover a wide range of alcohol- and drug-related topics. Three studies focus on youth issues, including bullying and its relationship to substance use, energy drinks mixed with alcohol and their connection to risky sexual practices, and the effects of parental drinking on children of alcoholics.

The remaining grants focus on marijuana-induced aggression and partner violence, and understanding physical craving in substance abuse recovery.

RIA Director Kenneth Leonard is extremely pleased that RIA has been recognized for its hard work and excellence in research.

“The number and size of these grants represent a remarkable achievement for RIA and our talented researchers,” Leonard says. “Given the current funding climate, only the most outstanding research projects are being funded.”

Jennifer Livingston

Jennifer Livingston

Jennifer Livingston, RIA senior research scientist, was awarded $1.8 million over five years from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to study “Peer Victimization as a Pathway to Adolescent Substance Use.”

Livingston says that although there is clearly the potential of peer victimization (PV) (bullying and sexual harassment) to cause harm, not all adolescents suffer serious effects from such experiences. Little is known about the conditions under which PV causes harm.

“This study aims to discover the conditions under which PV contributes to emotional distress and substance use among adolescents, both immediately and over time” says Livingston. “We’re also seeking to identify the circumstances that might curb the long-term effects of PV, particularly as they relate to the development of emotional distress and substance-use problems.”

Kathleen Miller

Kathleen Miller

The NIAAA also awarded $1.37 million to Kathleen Miller, RIA senior research scientist, to fund her study, “Alcohol and Energy Drink Use, Expectancies and Sexual Risk Taking.”

Miller, a nationally renowned expert on the subject of alcohol mixed with energy drinks, says that although energy drinks have been widely available in the U.S. for more than a decade, their effects remain significantly understudied.

“This study will collect the first detailed, nationally representative data on the prevalence of energy drinks (ED) and alcohol mixed with energy drink (AED) use by youth,” says Miller, “and will map the differences in use across gender, race/ethnicity, age, college-enrollment status and sports involvement, as well as examine the links between AED use and sexual risk taking. We will then seek to understand how gender differences affect these relationships.”

Rina Das Eiden

Rina Das Eiden

Rina Das Eiden, RIA senior research scientist, received more than $400,000 from the NIAAA for a two-year study, “Early Childhood Predictors of Adolescent Substance Use in a High Risk Sample.”

Eiden, an expert on the prenatal effects of substance use, says that though children of alcoholics (COAs) are a large and critical component of the underage drinking population, little is known about how alcohol affects parenting and what the predictive risks are for underage drinking and substance use among COAs.

“Knowledge about predictors of substance use—beginning in infancy—is crucial for determining and developing early intervention to address substance-use risk among COAs,” she says.

Maria Testa

Maria Testa

A $1.86 million grant was made by the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) to Maria Testa, RIA senior research scientist, for her study titled “Proximal Effects of Marijuana in Understanding Intimate Partner Violence.” The study will take place over four years.

Testa says that despite the commonly held belief that marijuana suppresses aggression, many studies have found a positive association between marijuana use and intimate-partner violence.

“Although marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States—with increases in rates of usage over the past few years—there is a lack of research regarding marijuana use and aggression,” says Testa. “Understanding the contribution of marijuana to the occurrence of domestic violence has important public health implications.”

Her research will address this gap in knowledge by examining the effects of marijuana use in couples and the consequences for their relationships.

Robert Schlauch

Robert Schlauch

Robert Schlauch, senior research scientist, received nearly $600,000 from the NIAAA for his project, “Ambivalence Model of Craving: Re-Examining the Craving-Drinking Relationship.”

This five-year study aims to improve understanding of the ways in which craving impacts positive treatment outcomes. The research specifically will examine how craving processes change over the course of recovery, including their influence on starting and maintaining treatment.

“Greater understanding of craving processes during the course of recovery has the potential to inform current treatment strategies,” he says. “Craving is a complex experience requiring consideration of many factors, including both desires to use (approach) and desires not to use (avoidance).”

CONTINUE READING…

Schapelle Corby: Time to let go of our obsession

Michael Bachelard

Michael Bachelard
Indonesia correspondent for Fairfax Media

Schapelle Corby waits in her cell before her trial in 2005.

CORBY: THE FACTS

 

Another nuance of activity occurred in Bali on Tuesday, as the parole process for Schapelle Corby inched forward once again. Representatives of an agency of the Indonesian Justice Department visited the house where she would be required to live if she were let out of jail early.

Even though she has not yet applied for parole, as with all things Corby, the "news" drove some of the frothier parts of the Australian media into habitual overdrive.

Schapelle Corby  is escorted by police to a courtroom in Denpasar in 2006.

Schapelle Corby is escorted by police to a courtroom in Denpasar in 2006. Photo: AFP

Some outlets have even put a date on her release – October 30.

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Well, that may or may not be so. Like the last time a date was so confidently predicted (in May last year, August 2012 was said to be when she would return to Australia), it’s far enough away to be possible, yet not so close that anyone is held accountable if the date is missed.

So, assuming her release is coming up after almost nine years in jail, let’s take the opportunity to assess our attitude to Schapelle Corby.

Schapelle Corby and fellow convicted drug mule Renae Lawrence in Kerobokan Jail in 2010.

Schapelle Corby and fellow convicted drug mule Renae Lawrence in Kerobokan Jail in 2010. Photo: Jason Childs

Many people have spent a great deal of time and energy poring over this one woman’s case – the Australian consulate in Bali; authors; lawyers; dozens, if not hundreds of journalists; prison officials, professional internet conspiracy theorists, politicians in both Australia and Indonesia.

It’s not only the Australian media who go into a frenzy at the mention of her name. She has become a touchstone in the Indonesian press, too. There, though, it’s not about an innocent entrapped in a third-world system, it’s about the ugly habit of Westerners to aggressively demand special treatment.

The head of Bali’s Kerobokan jail, Gusti Ngurah Wiratna, remarked to the press in frustration recently: "I’ve got 1000 prisoners, why are you only interested in Schapelle?"

Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of dollars, have changed hands – for paid interviews with the family, internet ads, defamation actions and other civil court actions, royalties and lawyers fees.

Her 2004 arrest and imprisonment has turned into a Schapelle industry.

Sadly, for several years, the subject of that industry has suffered from severe mental health issues, and has largely removed herself from its centre. Even the Corby family-friendly journalists can only quote  "those who know and live with her" in their stories because Corby herself refuses any direct interaction with the press.

She does not even go to the visitor’s area of Kerobokan in case there might be journalists there. Her absence, for the same reason, from compulsory prison events, has potentially even harmed her cause.

For a long time  Fairfax Media readers have held the dual belief that Corby is guilty, but that she deserves a shortened sentence.

Views of her innocence in the broader public are likely to be higher, but substantially lower than at the height of the "Our Schapelle" frenzy of 2004 and 2005.

It’s her perceived innocence that initially drove the Corby story to the point of obsession, but even though this has changed, nine years later, we in the media remain closely focused on every detail of her incarceration and possible release.

Perhaps we assume people will be moved by the same impulses, or the echoes of the impulses, that moved them a decade ago.

But let’s consider what all this will mean when she is ultimately released, whether on parole or at the end of her sentence.

After 10 years in a bubble, Corby will be exposed to the world.

She’ll be walking the narrow streets of Kuta, living in a Balinese compound whose address is well known, with the world’s media – including a chaotic Indonesian press pack – on her doorstep.

The inevitable paid interviews will create an appetite among the unsuccessful bidders for exclusives of a different kind – for evidence of her poor mental state, for pictures of her drinking her first beer, wearing a bikini at the beach, hanging out with a man, throwing a tantrum.

In the open, she’ll lack the protection afforded by the Australian consulate from the tourists and stickybeaks who even now occasionally try to get into the jail to visit her.

The local police are unwilling and unequipped to provide any protection.

Whatever you think of her guilt or innocence, Corby has served a long sentence, and her adjustment to life on the outside – difficult as it will be already – can only be made immeasurably harder by such attention.

Perhaps it’s time to let go of our decade-long obsession and finally just leave Schapelle Corby alone.

CORBY: THE FACTS
• Corby has been eligible for parole for more than a year, since the Indonesian president granted her clemency with a five-year sentence reduction;
• She has not yet applied for parole, and the Indonesians have not started the process, because the Indonesian immigration department has not yet confirmed that she can get a visa to be able to serve out her sentence in Bali with her sister Mercedes and brother-in-law Wayan;
• All the other conditions for parole – including an unprecedented letter from the Australian government guaranteeing her good behaviour – are in place;
• With continued remission for good behaviour, she is likely to be out in 2015 even if she does not win parole.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/schapelle-corby-time-to-let-go-of-our-obsession-20130814-2rvuc.html#ixzz2cKeyqYu5

Schapelle Corby
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia