Opioids act on specific receptors in the brain and the body, which also interact with naturally produced substances known as endorphins or enkephalins – important in regulating pain. While prescription pain relievers can be highly beneficial if used as prescribed, opioids as a general class of drugs have a high potential for abuse.
Scientists are now one step closer to developing anti-addiction medications, thanks to new research that provides a better understanding of the properties of the only member of the opioid receptor family whose activation counteracts the rewarding effects of addictive drugs.
Brain Awareness Week begins March 12th, and among many nationwide activities, NIH scientists will be teaching young people about the amazing human brain at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, MD. While we think of Brain Awareness Week as an educational opportunity for children, it is a good time to remind us all about recent advances in neuroscience, and how brain research is helping us understand, prevent, and treat drug abuse and addiction.
The National Inhalant Prevention Coalition, with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), will hold a press conference to focus on the dangers of inhala
New research suggests that differences in tobacco consumption reflect, in part, differences in the functional efficacy of a specific type of receptor in a pathway of the brain. In animal studies, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors with the α5 subunit played a key role in producing aversive responses to nicotine, thereby dissuading further consumption of the drug.