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NIDA

Researchers

Letter from the Director

The so-called "club drug" MDMA continues to be used by millions of Americans across the country, despite evidence of its potential harmful effects. 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, or ecstasy) has gained a deceptive reputation as a "safe" drug among its users. This illegal drug, which has both stimulant and psychedelic properties, is often taken for the feelings of well-being, stimulation, and the distortions in time and sensory perceptions that it produces.

Ethnicity Influences Early Smoking and Progression to Drug Abuse

Summarizes findings from a 10-year study that monitored smoking and progress to other drugs among youth that found ethnicity to be an influential factor.

Report Calls for Sweeping Changes in Health Care for Mental and Substance Abuse Problems

Reviews a report from the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine that discusses ways to improve the quality of health care among people with mental health and substance abuse disorders.

Brain Changes Accompany Cocaine Withdrawal

Summarizes an animal study of the neural changes in the amygdala portion of the brain that occur as a result of cocaine exposure followed by withdrawal of the drug.

Medical Care During Addiction Treatment Reduces Hospital Use

Reports on an analysis comparing three types of addiction treatment programs: methadone maintenance programs, long-term residential programs, and nonmethadone programs.

Studies Focus on Acculturation and Hispanic Youth

Summarizes a study that analyzes factors associated with the risk of drug addiction among 19- to 21-year-old Hispanic women born in the United States as compared with immigrants.

GHB Intoxication Reports Decline in California

Highlights statistics on the number of reports of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) use intoxication in California from 1999 to 2003.

How Drug Abuse Affects the Brain and Alters Behavior Are Key Questions Driving Division's Work

Discusses the work of NIDA’s Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, the Institute’s locus for studies into the fundamental brain mechanisms underlying drug abuse and addiction.

Nicotine Alters the Developing Rat Brain

Describes animal studies that suggested exposure to the drug during gestation or adolescence may cause lasting alterations in reward and motivation circuits.

Cocaine Craving Activates Brain Reward Structures; Cocaine "High" Dampens Them

Reports on a study that documenting changing emotional and neurobiological responses to cocaine with successive doses during a single session of drug taking.

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