NIH GUIDE, Volume 22, Number 39, October 29, 1993

PA NUMBER:  PA-94-007

P.T. 34


  Drugs/Drug Abuse 

  Behavioral/Social Studies/Service 

National Institute on Drug Abuse


The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is encouraging research

on the epidemiology of drug use, including survey design and

methodological issues as they relate to surveys of drug use.

Specifically, this program announcement invites research applications

in any of the following areas:  (1) secondary analysis using

state-of-the-art statistical methodologies and existing drug use

research data bases to enhance our knowledge of the epidemiology of

drug use, including prevalence, trends, patterns, incidence, risk and

protective factors, natural history, consequences, treatment, and

co-morbidity factors of drug use; (2) research leading toward

improved survey design methods for conducting surveys of drug use or

estimating drug use outcomes from new surveys or existing databases;

and (3) survey research of hard to enumerate or underserved

population groups (particularly those inadequately sampled in

epidemiological surveys) such as the homeless, criminally-involved,

and runaways.


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health

promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000,"

a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas.  This program

announcement, Survey Research on Drug Use and Associated Behaviors,

is related to the priority area of alcohol and other drug abuse.

Potential applicants may obtain a copy of Healthy People 2000 (Full

Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report:  Stock No.

017-001-00473-1) through the Superintendent of Documents, Government

Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-783-3238).


Applications may be submitted by foreign and domestic organizations,

by public, private, or non-profit agencies such as universities,

colleges, hospitals, laboratories, units of State or local

governments, and eligible agencies of the Federal government.

Applications from minority individuals and women are encouraged.

Foreign institutions are not eligible for First Independent Research

support and Transition (FIRST) (R29) awards.


Support mechanisms include research project grants (R01), small

grants (R03), FIRST (R29) awards (R29).  Because the nature and scope

of the research proposed in response to this program announcement may

vary, it is anticipated that the size of an award will also vary.

For details on a particular support mechanism, contact the

appropriate staff listed under INQUIRIES.



Investigation into the nature and extent of drug use behavior as well

as improving the measurement of drug use continues to be a priority

research area at the NIDA.  Another focus of NIDA is to enhance and

expand the study of the etiology and epidemiology of drug use through

secondary analysis; to foster the development of methodological

improvements to the sample design, data collection, measurement, and

analysis of data from drug surveys; and to conduct special population

studies exploring drug use patterns among subgroups that are not

included or are underrepresented in major national epidemiological

drug surveys.

Secondary Analysis

There is a continuing need for secondary analyses of major national

data sets containing drug use data, for integrated analyses that draw

together data from multiple sources to address a particular set of

issues, and for secondary data analyses of other drug studies that

will add to our knowledge of drug epidemiology.  Topics of interest

include, but are not restricted to:  identification of predictors of

drug use initiation, progression, and cessation; and investigation of

relationships between drug use and criminal behaviors, treatment

utilization, and adverse health consequences, and comorbid or related

behaviors.  Additional topics of interest are:  comparison of drug

users with those who are drug abusers or drug dependent, prediction

of epidemic cycles, the study of factors associated with local use

patterns and geographic spread, the investigation of relationships

between user characteristics and drugs of choice, the use of

substitute or synthetic drugs, combination drug use, studying the

characteristics of users with "successful" outcomes such as high

socioeconomic status (SES) or good grades, and examining the

attributes of non-users who live in neighborhoods where many users

reside.  Research applications that involve the integration of

several data sets are highly encouraged, as are applications that

involve the refinement or development of new statistical models or

new applications of existing state-of-the-art statistical techniques.

Some of the available files, such as those from the National

Household Survey on Drug Use (NHSDA) and Monitoring the Future (MTF)

Study, contain a large number of cases and cover a broad range of

topics on drug use patterns, consequences, and related attitudes and

behaviors.  The University of Michigan's Inter-University Consortium

for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) archives a number of these

data sets, including the NHSDA and MTF, and makes them available to

the public.  Additional data sets with items related to drug use are

available by contacting the responsible Government agencies (e.g.,

the National Center for Health Statistics, the Bureau of Labor

Statistics).  Principal Investigators of prior drug-related research

studies may make their data sets available for secondary analysis.

Applications proposing secondary data analyses must ensure access to

and the suitability of data sources to evaluate the proposed

hypotheses.  If necessary, SAAB staff can provide guidance in

obtaining access to the data.

Methodological Research

The sensitivity of collecting data on drug use has always made

validity and reliability important issues.  There is a critical need

for studies to evaluate current survey methods, to assess the

validity of survey data, and to develop and test improved methods of

sampling, data collection (including questionnaire design),

estimation, and analysis.  There continues to be a need to develop

and refine survey procedures to enhance respondents' cooperation

rates and willingness to report honestly about their illicit drug use

behavior.  Since self-report methods will probably continue to

provide the most reasonable and most cost-effective method of

large-scale data gathering on drug use, it would be beneficial to

develop methods of improving the validity and reliability of


Although research generally suggests that self-report techniques

provide valid estimates of drug use prevalence, some recent validity

studies have questioned the accuracy of self-report (Rouse, Kozel,

and Richards, 1985; Wish, 1988; Mieczowski, 1990, McNagny and Parker,

1992, etc.).  There are two basic types of validity studies:

comparative studies and criterion studies.  Comparative studies of

validity compare rates for specific reported behaviors (across

studies) to assess the relative validity of different methodologies.

Criterion validity studies use a criterion such as a biological

measure (e.g., urinalysis or hair sampling) to validate the

self-report.  In criterion studies, care must be taken to fully

understand the limitations of the validation technique presumed to be

a superior standard to which self-report can be compared.  Other ways

to check the validity of self-report may include the use of key

informants knowledgeable about the respondent's behavior,

institutional systems of records, and debriefing interviews in which

respondents are asked how honestly they responded to questions on

drug use.

Experimental manipulations of various survey conditions and

situational factors may help identify the techniques that result in

the most valid data.  For example, possible survey conditions that

could be manipulated include degree of privacy, anonymity and

confidentiality assurances, mode of administration, setting,

interviewer approach, questionnaire structure and length,

remuneration, context of drug use questions, etc.  Issues such as

examining the reliability and validity of criteria used to assess

drug dependence (such as DSM-IIIR or DSM-IV) are also of interest.

Also, methods such as CAPI (computer assisted personal interview) and

audio-CASI (computer assisted self-interview), and randomized

response need exploration.

Estimation and sampling methods that could be developed or improved

upon include: population modeling to improve estimates of drug use

incidence, multiple frame sampling and estimation, the nominative

technique, multiple recapture sample designs (including trap

mechanisms and tag methods), field procedures to estimate the

population prevalence of licit or illicit substance use, regression

models to estimate the prevalence of the frequent use of heroin or

cocaine (or other substances, either licit or illicit), and

model-based estimation or use of mapping and geocoding procedures for

developing local area estimates.  Another area of interest is the

development and testing of new cost-effective sampling and data

collection methods that improve extended recall, increase response

rates, improve estimation procedures, and decrease the total mean

square error of the estimates.  Methodological research on any of the

above areas could be performed by conducting new surveys to obtain

information or through the use of secondary data analysis.

Special Population Surveys

There continues to be a paucity of research on the patterns, causes,

and consequences of drug use among persons who are "underserved"

and/or "hard to enumerate," ethnic/racial minority groups, or

individuals belonging to high-risk populations.  Many populations

that are at a high risk of drug use and the resulting adverse social

and medical consequences are also disadvantaged and disenfranchised.

Examples of such populations include the homeless, transient persons,

the chronic mentally ill, juvenile delinquents, school dropouts,

emancipated foster care youngsters, and runaways.  Nonhousehold and

hard-to-reach populations, and persons from inner cities who are

unaffiliated and precariously housed tend to be excluded from large

national probability surveys because they are not captured in the

sampling frames used by these surveys.  In addition to the poorest

segments of our society, there are many other population subgroups

which may be vulnerable to drug use.  Other interesting population

groups would be: selected occupational groups (e.g., construction

workers); persons with disabilities; gay, lesbian, and bisexual

individuals; and elementary school children.

Most surveys that include substance use focus on different population

groups.  A major area of interest is the identification and

documentation of overlaps in coverage, underrepresented groups, and

populations not covered by any major survey.  For example, many

school surveys do not include dropouts or students with high rates of

absenteeism who might have been missing on the day of the data


Emphasis should, in part, be on the developmental application of new

or more effective sampling procedures and data collection methods for

the special population of interest, and on the proposal of

appropriate estimation and analysis procedures.





Applications for grants and cooperative agreements that involve human

subjects are required to include minorities and both genders in study

populations so that research findings can be of benefit to all

persons at risk of the disease, disorder, or condition under study;

special emphasis should be placed on the need for inclusion of

minorities and women in studies of disease, disorders and conditions

which disproportionately affect them.  This policy applies to all

research involving human subjects and human materials, and applies to

males and females of all ages.  If one gender and/or minorities are

excluded, or are inadequately represented in this research,

particularly in proposed population-based studies, a clear compelling

rationale for exclusion or inadequate representation should be

provided.  The composition of the proposed study population must be

described in terms of gender and racial/ethnic groups, together with

a rationale for its choice.  In addition, gender and racial/ethnic

issues should be addressed in developing a research design and sample

size appropriate for the scientific objectives of the study.

Applicants are urged to assess carefully the feasibility of including

the broadest possible representation of minority groups.  However,

NIH recognizes that it may not be feasible or appropriate in all

clinical research projects to include representation of the full

array of United States racial\ethnic minority populations (i.e.,

American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians or Pacific Islanders,

Blacks, Hispanics).  Investigators must provide the rationale for

studies on single minority population groups.

Applications for support of research involving human subjects must

employ a study design with minority and/or gender representation (by

age distribution, risk factors, incidence/prevalence, etc.),

appropriate to the scientific objectives of the research.  It is not

an automatic requirement for the study design to provide statistical

power to answer the questions posed for men and women and

racial/ethnic groups separately; however, whenever there are

scientific reasons to anticipate differences between men and women,

and racial/ethnic groups, with regard to the hypothesis under

investigation, applicants should include an evaluation of these sex

and minority group differences in the proposed study.  If adequate

inclusion of one gender and/or minorities is impossible or

inappropriate with respect to the purpose of the research, because of

the health of the subjects or other reasons, or if in the only study

population available, there is a disproportionate representation of

one sex or minority/majority group, the rationale for the study

population must be well explained and justified.

The NIH funding components will not make awards of grants,

cooperative agreements or contracts that do not comply with this

policy.  For research awards which are covered by this policy,

awardees will report annually on the enrollment of women and men and

on the race and ethnicity of the subjects.


Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS

398 (rev. 9/91) and will be accepted at the standard application

deadlines as indicated in the application kit.  The receipt dates for

applications for AIDS-related research are found in the PHS 398 (rev.

9/91) instructions.  Application kits are available at most

institutional offices of sponsored research and may be obtained from

the Office of Grants Information, Division of Research Grants,

National Institutes of Health, Westwood Building, Room 449, Bethesda,

MD 20892, telephone 301/710-0267.  The title and number of this

announcement must be typed in Item 2a on the face page the


FIRST (R29) applications must include at least three sealed letters

of reference attached to the face page of the original application.

FIRST applications submitted without the required number of reference

letters will be considered incomplete and will be returned without


The completed original application and five legible copies of must be

sent or delivered to:

Division of Research Grants

National Institutes of Health

Westwood Building, Room 240

Bethesda, MD  20892**


The Division of Research Grants, NIH, serves as a central point for

receipt of applications.  Applications will be assigned in accordance

with established Public Health Service referral guidelines and will

be reviewed by an initial review group (IRG) for scientific and

technical merit in accordance with the standard NIH peer review


Following scientific-technical review, the applications will receive

a second-level review by the appropriate national advisory council.


Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved

applications.  The following will be considered in making funding


o  Quality of the project as determined by peer review

o  Availability of Funds

o  Program balance among research areas of the announcement


Written and telephone inquiries are strongly encouraged.  The

opportunity to clarify any issues or questions from potential

applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Arthur Hughes or Andrea Kopstein

Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Parklawn Building, Room 9A-53

5600 Fishers Lane

Rockville, MD  20857

Telephone:  (301) 443-6637

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Gary Fleming, J.D., M.A.

Grants Management Branch

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Parklawn Building, Room 8A-54

5600 Fishers Lane

Rockville, MD 20857

Telephone:  (301) 443-6710


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic

Assistance No. 93.273.  Awards are made under the authority of

Section 301 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241).

Federal regulations at 42 CFR Part 52, "Grants for Research

Projects," and Title 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92, generic requirements

concerning the administration of grants, are applicable to these

awards.  The program is not subject to the intergovernmental review

requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency



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