In early March, NIDA officials met with a delegation from the Canadian Institute of Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA) to discuss possibilities for collaborative research. Topics included mechanisms to support jointly funded research, data sharing, strengthening the linkages between the NIDA Clinical Trials Network (CTN) and the INMHA Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM), and policies for managing conflicts of interest by researchers with ties to the alcohol, cannabis, or tobacco industries. Participants also discussed potential research collaboration on cannabis, opioids, methamphetamine, and vaping. Priority areas for cannabis research include setting a standard dose of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in research and standard assessment of cannabis use in U.S. and Canadian medical record systems. For opioids, participants reviewed major opioid clinical trials being conducted by CTN and Canadian approaches to harm reduction, including the “Safe Supply” program of supervised consumption sites. NIDA researchers updated participants on potential therapies for methamphetamine use disorders, including monoclonal antibodies as treatment for both use and overdose. INMHA researchers reviewed Health Canada’s interest in vaping-related illness and the harmful vs. therapeutic effects of vaping. NIDA researchers described novel vaping prevention and education tools that are ready for evaluation. The Canadian delegation was led by INMHA Scientific Director Samuel Weiss, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Calgary.
The meetings followed a November 2019 bilateral meeting between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), organized by the NIH Fogarty International Center and CIHR. Topics included cross-border training, international collaboration, global health, artificial intelligence, and implementation science. An informal discussion group focused on addiction research included representatives from NIDA, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, INMHA, and the Canadian Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health. NIDA staff who participated included Deputy Director Wilson Compton, M.D., M.P.E.; International Program Director Steve Gust, Ph.D.; Clinical Trials Network staff Betty Tai, Ph.D., Petra Jacobs, M.D., M.H.S., and Udi Ghitza, Ph.D.; and Kathy Etz, Ph.D., M.S., who directs the Native American Program in the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research.