Release Date:  January 25, 2001

RFA:  RFA-DA-01-010

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Letter of Intent Receipt Date:  March 16, 2001
Application Receipt Date:       April 16, 2001



The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) invites applications for research 
projects responding to emerging and current drug abuse trends.  The recent 
alarming increase in the use of "club drugs" (such as "ecstasy," 
methamphetamine, GHB, and Ketamine), increase in the use of anabolic steroids 
among high school students, and the reported use of heroin among adolescents 
and young adults illustrate the varied and dynamic nature of contemporary 
drug abuse trends.  National and community-based reporting systems reveal 
regional and local variation in these trends.  "Current" trends are included 
in this RFA in recognition that a trend that is emerging in one area may be 
well-entrenched or "current" elsewhere.  New drugs of abuse and new patterns 
of use of drugs may emerge rapidly or may gradually diffuse across 
communities and populations providing a window of opportunity for 
intervention to prevent further escalation of the pattern and to reduce the 
health, social, and behavioral consequences.   The current state of 
scientific knowledge concerning the specific patterns and dynamics of 
contemporary drug abuse trends and associated consequences is somewhat 
limited.  This information is essential to effective and timely local 
community-based public health response.   This RFA will support research to 
characterize the nature and extent of emerging/current drug abuse trends 
within local contexts and identify associated health, social, and behavioral 
consequences; to elucidate individual, social, cultural, and contextual 
factors influencing drug using behaviors; to enhance our ability to identify, 
monitor, and assess emerging drug abuse trends; to reveal processes and 
patterns of development and diffusion of new drug trends; and to identify 
community- or context-specific prevention and health services needs and 

An RFA, "Research on GHB and its Precursors," DA-01-014, has been issued 
concurrently with this RFA.  Applicants whose research interests appear to be 
suited to both DA-01-014 and the present RFA may wish to contact NIDA program 
staff listed under INQUIRIES.


The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health 
promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-
led national activity for setting priority areas.  This RFA, "Responding to 
Club Drugs and Other Emerging and Current Drug Abuse Trends," is related to 
one or more of the priority areas.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of 
"Healthy People 2010" at


Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign, for-profit and non-
profit organizations, public and private, such as universities, colleges, 
hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local governments, and eligible 
agencies of the federal government.  Foreign institutions are not eligible 
for R03 grants.  Racial/ethnic minority individuals, women, and persons with 
disabilities are encouraged to apply as Principal Investigators.  Awards to 
foreign institutions under R-series awards are generally limited to 3 years.


This RFA will use the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research project 
(R01), small grant (R03), and exploratory/developmental (R21) award 
mechanisms.  The total project period for an application submitted in 
response to this RFA may not exceed five years for the R01, two years for the 
R03, and three years for the R21.  This RFA is a one-time solicitation.  
Future unsolicited competing continuation applications will compete with all 
investigator-initiated applications and be reviewed according to the 
customary peer review procedures.  The anticipated award date is September 
30, 2001.

For research in methods development, the R03 or R21 mechanisms are 
particularly appropriate.  Both are non-renewable and limited in direct cost 
amount per year (R03, $50,000; R21, $100,000).  The R03 mechanism gives 
funding priority to newer, less experienced investigators, investigators at 
institutions without well-developed research traditions and resources, or 
experienced investigators wishing to change research directions or test new 
methods or techniques.  The R21 mechanism is intended to encourage 
exploratory research projects with sound methodology and strong rationales in 
underdeveloped research areas of drug abuse, such as the areas covered in 
this RFA.  Investigators may also choose to include methods development as 
one component within any of the other mechanisms.  Responsibility for the 
planning, direction, and execution of the proposed project will be solely 
that of the applicant.  Specific information on individual research 
mechanisms can be obtained from the NIDA home page at


NIDA intends to commit approximately $1,500,000 in FY 2001 to fund four to 
six new and/or competitive continuation awards in response to this RFA.  An 
applicant may request a project period of up to five years and a budget for 
direct costs of up to $400,000 per year for R01s.  Because the nature and 
scope of the research proposed may vary, it is anticipated that the size of 
each award will also vary.  Although the financial plans of NIDA provides 
support for this program, awards pursuant to this RFA are contingent upon the 
availability of funds and the receipt of a sufficient number of meritorious 



The predominant drug abuse trends, which emerged in the 1990's, include a 
broad range of substances with very different pharmacologic properties, 
physiologic effects, and potential consequences.  The term "club drugs" 
refers to drugs that are being used at all-night dance parties, such as 
"raves," and in dance clubs.  In its Community Drug Alert on Club Drugs 
issued in December, 1999 (, 
NIDA describes six club drugs including MDMA ("Ecstasy" or "E"), Gamma-
hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Ketamine, Rohypnol, Methamphetamine, and Lysergic Acid 
Diethylamide (LSD).  Other substances may also be used in the dance club and 
rave contexts.  The dance club and rave subcultures appear to be 
characterized by an openness to the use of different types of substances, 
thus fostering environments for the introduction of new drugs.  Drugs may 
also be combined, either in one administration or in a sequence, to produce a 
sustained or specific desired effect.  Research has shown that use of club 
drugs can cause serious health problems and, in some cases, death.  For 
example, the stimulant effects of MDMA, which enable users to dance for 
extended periods, may also lead to dehydration and heart failure.  Although 
the designation "club drugs" suggests a specific context for use, research 
suggests that these drugs are used in non-club, non-rave contexts as well.

In April, 2000, NIDA issued a Community Drug Alert in response to the 
observed increase in the use of anabolic steroids among adolescents 
(  Research shows that over 
time anabolic steroids can take a heavy toll on health, and abuse of oral or 
injectable anabolic steroids is associated with increased risk for heart 
attacks and strokes.  Needle sharing or non-sterile injection techniques 
present risks for contracting infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, and 
bacterial endocarditis.

Reports of increases in the use of heroin among high school and college 
students indicate another current trend of public health concern.  The 
increased availability of consistent high purity heroin suitable for 
intranasal use along with decreases in price appear to have led to a wider 
acceptance of this drug in young populations in which heroin had not 
previously been popular.  Evidence in some cities suggests that users may be 
transitioning from intra-nasal use to injecting.  Increases in heroin-related 
emergency department episodes and deaths have been reported in several 

"Trend" refers to a change in specific drug use prevalence over time, as well 
as to style or preferences associated with the use of specific drugs.  New 
drug trends primarily relate to substance specific factors (e.g., the 
introduction of newly developed substances or substances not previously 
available, changes in mode of administration, new conventions or styles of 
use) or population specific factors (e.g., use of a substance in a population 
where it had previously not been used, use in a new context, etc.).

In each of the examples of emerging/current trends cited, while there are 
indications of the direction of changes in the prevalence of use of specific 
drugs, there is limited information about the magnitude of changes and 
substance- and population-specific factors.  Very little is known about the 
characteristics of users of particular drugs; drug use behaviors, contexts, 
and norms; factors influencing specific trends; and the health, social, and 
behavioral consequences.  This information is essential to the identification 
of services needs and for the development of timely interventions.  A major 
objective of this RFA is to address these gaps in our knowledge about 
emerging and current trends in order to facilitate the provision of needed 
health services and to develop timely and effective interventions tailored to 
specific drug using behaviors and contexts.  While this RFA encourages 
research proposals on the three trends mentioned in this RFA, studies need 
not be limited to investigation of these trends.

The identification of emerging trends is affected by the sensitivity of 
methods to detect new trends in different populations and across various 
locations.  New trends have emerged in a broad range of social contexts.  
Drug abuse monitoring, timely assessment, and intervention approaches may be 
influenced by a range of variables including characteristics of drug users, 
pharmacologic and health effects of abused drugs, drug using contexts, 
conventions of use of different drugs, and environmental and community 
factors.  This RFA will support research on models to better understand the 
emergence, development, and diffusion of drug trends; and methods for the 
early detection and timely assessment of new trends and consequences in 
various population subgroups and settings.
This RFA will support community- and context-based epidemiologic (including 
ethnographic), prevention, and health services studies on key components of 
public health research and response relevant to emerging and current drug use 
trends.  Researchers are encouraged to incorporate gender analyses, as 
appropriate, in the research plan.  Studies limited to describing drug use 
subcultures without addressing the relevance for health are not within the 
scope of this RFA.

Areas of Research Focus

Illustrative examples of research areas within the scope of this RFA are 
outlined below.  The following examples serve as a guide and are not meant to 
subsume all research topics that would be appropriate to the study of 
emerging and current trends under this RFA.

o  Characterize the nature and extent of specific drug use trends within 
local community and/or drug use contexts.  Describe context-specific drug use 
behaviors, including routes of administration of specific drugs, use of drugs 
singly or in combination, timing or sequencing of multiple administrations or 
combinations, and/or patterns of social interaction associated with use of 
the drug/s.  Explore the range of contexts/settings in which drugs are used 
(e.g., for club drugs, investigations of use in other settings).

o  Describe health, social, and behavioral consequences of use of specific 
drugs, drug combinations, and associated behaviors (e.g., continuous dancing 
and dehydration).  Assess the influence of contextual factors (e.g., in 
clubs, outdoor raves, gyms) on consequences.

o  Assess the influence of community and contextual factors on drug use and 
associated risk behaviors.

o  Study the emergence and development of drug trends, and describe processes 
of diffusion of drug trends across communities.  Particularly of interest is 
whether and how club drugs are diffusing out of clubs and specialized sub-
cultural contexts, such as raves, into other contexts and populations.

o  Examine the roles of youth social networks, subcultures, and technology 
(e.g., Internet) in the development and diffusion of drug trends and in the 
dissemination of information about benefits, risks, effects, and consequences 
of use of specific drugs and drug combinations.  

o  Explore how social networks and technology (e.g., Internet) might be used 
in preventing use of club drugs.

o  Investigate the knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, and norms of drug users 
and vulnerable populations with respect to specific drugs and drug use 
behaviors.  Determine the sources of information on drugs and associated 
consequences utilized by drug users, and explore reasons for use and non-use 
of specific drugs.

o  Examine the marketing, distribution, and sales of drugs, including the 
roles of social networks, technology (e.g., Internet, cell phones), and 
street-based and situation-based (e.g., clubs, gyms) transactions.

o  Develop brief targeted interventions that are population or context 
specific; particularly, approaches which can be implemented and administered 
quickly and at low cost.

o  Develop models for community-based information dissemination.  Studies 
should assess the role of community and service delivery factors in the 
effective and rapid dissemination of public health information and should 
result in practical guidance that can be utilized by communities.  Assess the 
impact of the availability of this public health information on drug use 

o  Assess health services needs and factors impacting provision of services, 
particularly as they relate to acute health consequences and the provision of 
emergency services.

o  Develop models and methods for identification and monitoring of emerging 
and current trends (and associated consequences) in different populations and 
settings.  Studies should consider the impact of various factors such as 
location (e.g., urban, rural, suburban), community structure (e.g., 
geographic or political community boundaries; shared identity such as sexual 
orientation, ethnicity, recreational preference), and drug using context on 
the feasibility of models.

o  Develop models and methods for timely verification and assessment of 
emerging trends in different populations and contexts.

o  Methodological studies on collection of data in different populations and 



Principal Investigators of grants resulting from this RFA will be asked to 
participate in meetings to be convened during the second and third (if 
applicable) funding years to report progress, discuss problems, and share 
information on emerging and current trends related to the conduct of their 
grants.  Requests for funds to support attendance at these meetings, to be 
held in the Washington, D.C. area, should be included in the budget request.


It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and 
their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported biomedical and 
behavioral research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and 
compelling rationale and justification are provided indicating that inclusion 
is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of  
the research.  This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 
(Section 492B of Public Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
UPDATED "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in 
Clinical Research," published in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts on 
August 2, 2000 
(; a 
complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at  The 
revisions relate to NIH defined Phase III clinical trials and require:  a) 
all applications or proposals and/or protocols to provide a description of 
plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by 
sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; 
and b) all investigators to report accrual, and to conduct and report 
analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group 


It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) 
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by 
the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.  
This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted for 
receipt dates after October 1, 1998.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the 
"NIH Policy and Guidelines on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in 
Research Involving Human Subjects" that was published in the NIH Guide for 
Grants and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL 

Investigators also may obtain copies of these policies from the program staff 
listed under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant 
information concerning these policies.


All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within 
specified page limitations.  Unless otherwise specified in an NIH 
solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide 
information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation 
to view the Internet sites.  Reviewers are cautioned that their anonymity may 
be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.


The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse recognizes the importance of 
research involving the administration of drugs to human subjects and has 
developed guidelines relevant to such research.  Potential applicants are 
encouraged to obtain and review the recommendations of the Council before 
submitting an application that will administer compounds to human subjects.  
The guidelines are available on NIDA's home page at 
under Funding or may be obtained by calling (301) 443-2755.


Prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes a 
descriptive title of the proposed research; the name, address, and telephone 
number of the Principal Investigator; the identities of other key personnel 
and participating institutions; and the number and title of the RFA in 
response to which the application is being submitted.  Although a letter of 
intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of 
a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows NIDA staff 
to plan the review.

Send the letter of intent (by receipt date listed in the heading of this RFA) 

Director, Office of Extramural Affairs
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 3158, MSC 9547
Bethesda, MD  20892-9547
Telephone:  (301) 443-2755
FAX:  (301) 443-0538


The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) is to be used in 
applying for these grants.  These forms are available at most institutional 
offices of sponsored research and from the Division of Extramural Outreach 
and Information Resources, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge 
Drive, MSC 7910, Bethesda, MD 20892-7910, telephone (301) 710-0267, Email:


The modular grant concept establishes specific modules in which direct costs 
may be requested, as well as a maximum level for requested budgets.  Only 
limited budgetary information is required under this approach.  The 
just-in-time concept allows applicants to submit certain information only 
when there is a possibility for an award.  It is anticipated that these 
changes will reduce the administrative burden for the applicants, reviewers, 
and Institute staff.  The research grant application form PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) 
is to be used in applying for these grants, with the modifications noted 



Modular grant applications will request direct costs in $25,000 modules, up 
to a total direct cost request of $250,000 per year.  (Applications that 
request more than $250,000 direct costs in any year must follow the 
traditional PHS 398 application instructions.)  The total direct costs must 
be requested in accordance with the program guidelines and the modifications 
made to the standard PHS 398 application instructions described below:

PHS 398

o FACE PAGE - Items 7a and 7b should be completed, indicating Direct Costs 
(in $25,000 increments up to a maximum of $250,000) and Total Costs [Modular 
Total Direct plus Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs] for the initial 
budget period.  Items 8a and 8b should be completed indicating the Direct and 
Total Costs for the entire proposed period of support.

4 of the PHS 398.  It is not required and will not be accepted with the 

categorical budget table on Form Page 5 of the PHS 398.  It is not required 
and will not be accepted with the application.

o  NARRATIVE BUDGET JUSTIFICATION - Prepare a Modular Grant Budget Narrative 
page (see for sample 
pages).  At the top of the page, enter the total direct costs requested for 
each year.  This is not a Form page.

Under Personnel, list all project personnel, including their names, percent 
of effort, and roles on the project.  No individual salary information should 
be provided.  However, the applicant should use the NIH appropriation 
language salary cap and the NIH policy for graduate student compensation in 
developing the budget request.

For Consortium/Contractual costs, provide an estimate of total costs (direct 
plus facilities and administrative) for each year, each rounded to the 
nearest $1,000.  List the individuals/organizations with whom consortium or 
contractual arrangements have been made, the percent effort of all personnel, 
and their role on the project.  Indicate whether the collaborating 
institution is foreign or domestic.  The total cost for a 
consortium/contractual arrangement is included in the overall requested 
modular direct cost amount.  Include the Letter of Intent to establish a 

Provide an additional narrative budget justification for any variation in the 
number of modules requested.

o  BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH - The Biographical Sketch provides information used by  
reviewers in the assessment of each individual's qualifications for a 
specific role in the proposed project, as well as to evaluate the overall 
qualifications of the research team.  A biographical sketch is required for 
all personnel, following the instructions below.  No more than three pages 
may be used for each person.  A sample biographical sketch may be viewed at:

- Complete the educational block at the top of the form page;
- List position(s) and any honors;
- Provide information, including overall goals and responsibilities, on 
research projects 	  ongoing or completed during the last three years; 
- List selected peer-reviewed publications with full citations.

o  CHECKLIST - This page should be completed and submitted with the 
application.  If the F&A rate agreement has been established, indicate the 
type of agreement and the date.  All appropriate exclusions must be applied 
in the calculation of the F&A costs for the initial budget period and all 
future budget years.

The applicant should provide the name and phone number of the individual to 
contact concerning fiscal and administrative issues if additional information 
is necessary following the initial review.

The RFA label available in the PHS 398 (rev. 4/98) application form must be 
affixed to the bottom of the face page of the application.  Type the RFA 
number on the label.  Failure to use this label could result in delayed 
processing of the application such that it may not reach the review committee 
in time for review.  In addition, the RFA title and number must be typed on 
line 2 of the face page of the application form, and the YES box must be 

The sample RFA label available at has been modified to 
allow for this change.  Please note this is in pdf format.

Submit a signed, typewritten original of the application, including the 
Checklist, and three signed photocopies in one package to:

BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

At the time of submission, two additional copies of the application must be 
sent to:

Director, Office of Extramural Affairs
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 3158, MSC 9547
Bethesda, MD  20892-9547

Applications must be received by the application receipt date listed in the 
heading of this RFA.  If an application is received after that date, it will 
be returned to the applicant without review.

The Center for Scientific Review (CSR) will not accept any application in 
response to this RFA that is essentially the same as one currently pending 
initial review, unless the applicant withdraws the pending application.  The 
CSR will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one 
already reviewed.  This does not preclude the submission of substantial 
revisions of applications already reviewed, but such applications must 
include an introduction addressing the previous critique.


Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed for completeness by the CSR and 
for responsiveness by the NIDA.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive 
applications will be returned to the applicant without further consideration.

Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated 
for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group 
convened by NIDA in accordance with the review criteria stated below.  As 
part of the initial merit review, all applications will receive a written 
critique and undergo a process in which only those applications deemed to 
have the highest scientific merit, generally the top half of the applications 
under review, will be discussed, assigned a priority score, and receive a 
second level review by National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse.

Review Criteria

The goals of NIH-supported research are to advance our understanding of 
biological systems, improve the control of disease, and enhance health.  In 
the written comments reviewers will be asked to discuss the following aspects 
of the application in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed 
research will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals.  Each 
of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall 
score, weighting them as appropriate for each application.  Note that the 
application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely 
to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score.  For 
example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its 
nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

(1)  Significance:  Does this study address an important problem?  If the 
aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be 
advanced?  What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or 
methods that drive this field?

(2)  Approach:  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses 
adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the 
project?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider 
alternative tactics?

(3)  Innovation:  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches, or 
methods?  Are the aims original and innovative?  Does the project challenge 
existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?

(4)  Investigator:  Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited 
to carry out this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience 
level of the principal investigator and other researchers (if any)?

(5)  Environment:  Does the scientific environment in which the work will be 
done contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed experiments 
take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ 
useful collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence of institutional 

In addition to the above criteria, in accordance with NIH policy, all 
applications will also be reviewed with respect to the following:

o  The adequacy of plans to include both genders, minorities and their 
subgroups, and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the 
research.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be 

o  The reasonableness of the proposed budget and duration in relation to the 
proposed research.

o  The adequacy of the proposed protection for humans, animals, or the 
environment, to the extent they may be adversely affected by the project 
proposed in the application.

o  The adequacy of the proposed plan to share data.


Letter of Intent Receipt Date:    March 16, 2001
Application Receipt Date:         April 16, 2001
Peer Review Date:                 June/July 2001
Council Review:                   September 2001
Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  September 30, 2001


Award criteria that will be used to make award decisions include scientific 
merit (as determined by peer review), availability of funds, and programmatic 


Inquiries concerning this RFA are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any 
issues or answer questions from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Moira O’Brien, M.Phil.
Division of Epidemiology, Services, and Prevention Research
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 5153, MSC 9589
Bethesda, MD  20892-9589
Telephone:  (301) 402-1881
FAX:  (301) 443-2636

Direct inquiries regarding review issues to:

Teresa Levitin, Ph.D.
Office of Extramural Affairs
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 3158, MSC 9547
Bethesda, MD  20892-9547
Telephone:  (301) 443-2755
FAX:  (301) 443-0538

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Gary Fleming, J.D., M.A.
Grants Management Branch
Office of Planning and Resource Management
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 3131, MSC 9541
Bethesda, MD  20892-9541
Telephone:  (301) 443-6710
FAX:  (301) 594-6847


This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No. 
93.279.  Awards are made under authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the 
Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and administered 
under NIH grants policies and Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 
74 and 92.  This program is not subject to the intergovernmental review 
requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free 
workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In addition, 
Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in 
certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which 
regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early 
childhood development services are provided to children.  This is consistent 
with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of 
the American people.

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