The three winners of the 2012 EMCDDA scientific paper award will come under the spotlight in Lisbon this week at the annual award ceremony hosted by the EU agency (1). This year the results reflect the female face of science, with all three acclaimed authors being women. The winners — from Germany, Sweden and the UK — will receive a non-monetary prize for their contributions on 26 September in the margins the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors’ annual meeting opening at the EMCDDA this week (2).

The prize, inaugurated in 2011 by the EMCDDA and its Scientific Committee (3), celebrates scientific writing and distinguishes high-quality research in the field of illicit drugs. In a new procedure adopted this year, four groups were invited to nominate papers: European research societies; EMCDDA Scientific Committee members; the national focal points of the Reitox network; and European drug research peer-reviewed journals.

According to the entry criteria, all articles were published in 2011 in peer-reviewed scientific journals, with the primary author based in an EU Member State, Croatia, Turkey or Norway. Papers could be submitted in a number of categories, including: basic biological, neurobiological and behavioural research; population-based and epidemiology studies; and demand and supply reduction. The 2012 winners are:  

  • ‘Diminished gray matter in the hippocampus of cannabis users: possible protective effects of cannabidiol’, Dr Traute Demirakca, Dipl. Psych. (Germany). Published in Drug and alcohol dependence, 114 (2011) 242–245.
  • ‘Long-term effects of a community-based intervention: five-year follow-up of 'Clubs against Drugs'’, Dr Johanna Gripenberg, PhD (Sweden). Published in Addiction, 106, 1997–2004.
  • ‘The impact of needle and syringe provision and opiate substitution therapy on the incidence of hepatitis C virus in injecting drug users: pooling of UK evidence’, Dr Katy M.E. Turner, PhD (United Kingdom). Published in Addiction, 106, 1978–1988.

This year, some 30 eligible entries were received and judged on the criteria of: scientific originality; scientific quality; clarity and quality of writing; and EU relevance. The jury was composed of members of the EMCDDA Scientific Committee and the agency’s senior scientific staff. Abstracts of the winning papers will be available on the agency’s website in English, along with translations in German and French in an effort to share findings in non-English speaking countries. This year a full list of shortlisted papers is also available below.

Commenting on the initiative, Chair of the EMCDDA Scientific Committee Dr Marina Davoli said: ‘The EMCDDA scientific paper award was conceived to reflect the importance of scientific publishing and to provide a channel for disseminating the findings of European research to policymakers and professionals. I congratulate the 2012 winners on their positive contribution to our knowledge base in the field of drugs and drug addiction’.  

Full list of shortlisted papers

Basic biological, neurobiological and behavioural research shortlist

  1. Traute Demirakca, Alexander Sartorius, Gabriele Ende, Nadja Meyer, Helga Welzel, Gisela Skopp, Karl Mann, Derik Hermann, 'Diminished gray matter in the hippocampus of cannabis users: possible protective effects of cannabidiol' in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 114 (2011) 242–245 – primary author invited to award ceremony in Lisbon
  2. Derik Hermann, Ulrich Frischknecht, Milena Heinrich, Mareen Hoerst, Christian Vollmert, Sabine Vollstädt-Klein, Nuran Tunc-Skarka, Falk Kiefer, Karl Mann & Gabriele Ende, 'MR spectroscopy in opiate maintenance therapy: association of glutamate with the number of previous withdrawals in the anterior cingulate cortex' in Addiction Biology, 2012 May;17(3):659-67
  3. Michael Soyka, Claudia Limmer, Robert Lehnert, Gabriele Koller, Gabriele Martin, Heinrich Küfner, S. Kagerer, and Annina Haberthür, 'A comparison of cognitive function in patients under maintenance treatment with heroin, methadone, or nuprenorphone and healthy controls: an open pilot study' in The American Journal of drug and Alcohol Abuse, early Online: 1–12, 2011
  4. Tibor M. Brunt, Maarten W. Koeter, Raymond J. M. Niesink & Wim van den Brink, 'Linking the pharmacological content of ecstasy tablets to the subjective experiences of drug users' in Psychopharmacology, early online: 13 October 2011

Population based and epidemiology shortlist

  1. Katy M. E. Turner, Sharon Hutchinson, Peter Vickerman, Vivian Hope, Noel Craine, Norah Palmateer, Margaret May, Avril Taylor, Daniela De Angelis, Sheila Cameron, John Parry, Margaret Lyons, David Goldberg, Elizabeth Allen & Matthew Hickman, 'The impact of needle and syringe provision and opiate substitution therapy on the incidence of hepatitis C virus in injecting drug users: pooling of UK evidence' in Addiction 106, 1978–1988 – primary author invited to award ceremony in Lisbon
  2. Jane Mounteney, Mark Stoove & Siren Haugland, 'Monitoring emerging drug trends: psychometrics and validity in earlier warning systems' in Addiction Research and Theory February 2011; 19(1): 32–39
  3. Michael Soyka, Anna Träder, Jens Klotsche, Markus Backmund, Gerhard Bühringer, Jürgen Rehm, Hans-Ulrich Wittchen, 'Six-year mortality rates of patients in methadone and buprenorphine maintenance therapy - results from a nationally representative cohort study' in Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology Volume 31, Number 5, October 2011
  4. Adam R. Winstock, Luke R. Mitcheson, Paolo Deluca, Zoe Davey, Ornella Corazza & Fabrizio Schifano, 'Mephedrone, new kid for the chop?' in Addiction 106, 154–161
  5. Alexander L. N. van Nuijs, Jean-François Mougel, Isabela Tarcomnicu, Lieven Bervoets, Ronny Blust, Philippe G. Jorens, Hugo Neels and Adrian Covaci, 'A one year investigation of the occurrence of illicit drugs in wastewater from Brussels, Belgium' in Journal of Environment Monitoring 2011, 13, 1008

Demand and supply reduction shortlist

  1. Johanna Gripenberg Abdon, Eva Wallin & Sven Andréasson, 'Long-term effects of a community-based intervention: five year follow-up of "Clubs against Drugs' in Addiction 106, 1997–2004 – primary author invited to award ceremony in Lisbon
  2. Daniela Piontek, Ludwig Kraus, Stéphane Legleye & Gerhard Bühringer, 'The validity of DSM-IV cannabis abuse and dependence criteria in adolescents and the value of additional cannabis use indicators' in Addiction 106, 1035–1204
  3. Jens Reimer, Uwe Verthein, Anne Karow, Ingo Schäfer, Dieter Naber & Christian Haasen, 'Physical and mental health in