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Clinicians associated with the Veterans Administration looked more favorably upon contingency management after attending training workshops on the use of the intervention. Despite being highly effective at decreasing drug use, contingency management is one of the least used among proven substance abuse treatments.
Two recent studies suggest that genotyping may enable clinicians to base therapies on individual patients’ potential responsiveness to opioid drugs’ therapeutic effects and vulnerability to their harmful effects.
One of NIDA’s goals is to try to understand the individual differences that contribute to whether or not someone who takes a drug will become addicted to it. Dr. Rutter’s research focuses on three types of differences: Environmental, developmental, and genetic and epigenetic.
Intensified screening for HIV among injection drug users receiving opioid agonist therapy could prevent more than twice as many new infections as current screening practice. A recent study based on mathematical modeling found that screening every 6 months instead of annually, and adding viral RNA testing to the currently used HIV antibody testing, could improve both effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
Active drug use before incarceration was associated with decreased engagement in HIV treatment among HIV-infected jail detainees. The severity of drug dependence correlated with worsening measures of engagement in HIV treatment. The study concludes that evidence-based treatment for drug abuse in jails may result in improved HIV treatment outcomes, which in turn could help slow HIV-transmission rates in the United States.
Microneedles are an innovative technique for delivering medications through the skin, a route that could particularly benefit patients receiving naltrexone therapy for opioid and alcohol dependence. Researchers have found a way to use the transdermal technique to deliver a single treatment of naltrexone that lasts for 7 days.
California’s Proposition 36, which allows qualified drug offenders to enter substance use treatment rather than go to jail or prison, saved the state close to $100 million in its first year.
Study patients with HIV–hepatitis C coinfection progressed to successive degrees of severity of liver fibrosis 9 years sooner than those infected with HCV alone. Further findings from the study suggest that suppressing HIV with antiretroviral medications may slow HCV-related liver fibrosis.
A trial of buprenorphine/naloxone (Bup/Nx) showed no evidence that the medicine was associated with liver damage. The drug gave results similar to those of methadone. The study data indicate that although most patients can be treated safely with either methadone or Bup/Nx without major concern for liver injury, clinicians are advised to continue to monitor the liver health of their patients who are on methadone or Bup/Nx therapy.
More than half of heroin-addicted patients treated with naltrexone via an implanted delivery device maintained abstinence throughout a 6-month clinical trial in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The implant device, which releases a steady dose of naltrexone continuously for 2 months, averted relapse to heroin use three times as effectively as daily oral doses of the medication.
People with cannabis use disorder (CUD) are likely also to have social anxiety disorder (SAD), and comorbid SAD is associated with greater severity of cannabis-related problems. These findings highlight the importance of assessing CUD patients for SAD, as that disorder can be both a contributing cause and a consequence of CUD. Treating both disorders may be a key to helping patients recover from each.
Dr. Marilyn Huestis of NIDA’s Intramural Research Program talks about conducting research on drug effects with human subjects, developing tests to help law enforcement identify drugged drivers, and an assay to help identify children whose prenatal exposure to anti-HIV drugs may put them at risk for adverse developmental outcomes.
A new vaccine hindered the often-abused prescription opioids oxycodone and hydrocodone from entering the brain and suppressed one of the drugs’ signature central nervous system effects. The findings warrant continued development of the vaccine as a potential aid in the treatment of oxycodone and hydrocodone abuse and dependence.
Men benefit more than women from nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation because nicotine affects a key neuroreceptor differently in the two sexes, a NIDA-sponsored study suggests. The findings highlight the need for alternative therapies for women smokers, and point to the female hormone progesterone as a potential therapeutic target.
Forty-seven percent of substance abuse treatment counselors in a national sample left their jobs voluntarily within 3 years.
Marijuana-dependent outpatients who were treated with the medication gabapentin in a pilot clinical trial reduced their cannabis use more and reported fewer symptoms of drug withdrawal than patients who received a placebo.
Several factors contribute to treatment professionals’ stress and burnout, including how much influence they feel they have in their organization and their caseload. Surprisingly, a NIDA-supported study found that the link between staff stress and burnout was weaker in programs with higher patient caseloads than those with lower caseloads. In addition, program administrators can help counselors reduce their stress by giving them a voice in organizational policies and procedures.
Nicotine sensitizes the mouse brain to the addictive effects of cocaine, according to recent NIDA-supported research. The results accord with the hypothesis that a person’s initial use of an addictive substance physiologically sensitizes his or her brain to the rewarding and addictive effects of other substances. If the findings carry over to people, then preventing youths from smoking might reduce their vulnerability to cocaine abuse and addiction, and cocaine-dependent individuals might ease their path to recovery by quitting smoking.
Despite the advances in treatment and prevention, roughly 50,000 new HIV infections still occur annually in the Nation. Research, in large part supported by NIDA, has produced a strategy to address this circumstance and break the epidemiological impasse: seek out HIV-infected individuals, particularly those in “hard-to-reach” groups that have minimal contact with the health care system; offer them HIV testing and treatment; and provide support to help them stay in treatment.
NIDA-funded researchers have gathered evidence that brief interventions can help adolescents move away from drug use. In a clinical trial, middle and high school students markedly reduced their substance use following two 60-minute sessions that combined motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.
The immune system has an extraordinary ability to recognize compounds foreign to the body and eliminate them. NIDA-sponsored scientists are working to harness this ability to create vaccines that will protect individuals against the psychogenic and addictive effects of abused drugs. This animation shows one of the most promising strategies, which has already yielded partial success in producing effective vaccines against nicotine, cocaine, and other drugs.
NIDA researcher Dr. Charles O’Brien recently received the James B. Isaacson Award for a lifetime of research on the biological basis of alcoholism.
NIDA Program Officer Dr. David Thomas speaks about the intertwined problems of pain and prescription opioid abuse, as well as the research supported by NIDA and the National Institutes of Health to address these problems.
New vaccines that aim to promote recovery from cocaine and heroin abuse showed promise in animal testing. Both vaccines induced rats’ immune system to produce high titers of antibodies that inhibit the target drug from reaching the brain. The rats’ behaviors when given access to the target drug indicated that the vaccines reduced the reinforcing effects that, in recovering people, can cause lapses to turn into relapses.
Fewer than 12 percent of adolescents who meet diagnostic criteria for prescription opioid abuse or dependence receive any treatment, according to an analysis of data from the 2005 to 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The most common reason the adolescents gave for not receiving treatment was their lack of perceived need for it.
Soluble-film preparations of buprenorphine suppressed heroin abusers’ withdrawal symptoms with no serious side effects in a recent clinical trial. They dissolved more rapidly in the mouth than the pill form of the medication, providing faster relief.
NIDA researchers have developed a computer program that motivates and encourages treatment-seeking when an individual is in a primary care physician’s waiting room. Users of the program, called Video Doctor, enter information on a portable device and receive feedback about health risks related to their drug abuse, along with advice, immediately prior to seeing their physician.
Ninety percent of privately funded substance abuse treatment programs in the United States offer cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)...
Sublingual buprenorphine is a safe and effective alternative to methadone for treating opioid dependence during pregnancy, finds the Maternal Opioid Treatment: Human Experimental Research (MOTHER) study, a NIDA-supported clinical trial. Women who received either medication had similar pregnancy and birth outcomes, but infants born to women who received buprenorphine had milder symptoms of neonatal opioid withdrawal.
While viewing images of cigarettes, smokers reported milder cravings when they shifted their focus from the pleasures of smoking to its harmful effects. Brain imaging showed a correlation between the reductions in craving and altered activity levels in regions associated with emotional regulation and reward.
Women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who abused drugs responded better to substance abuse treatment after their PTSD symptoms improved, according to a recent study, which also found that reductions in substance abuse did not ease PTSD severity
Two independent animal studies suggest that aerobic exercise might help cocaine abusers establish and maintain abstinence.
Substance abuse counselors and clinical supervisors disclosed high job turnover rates in a survey of 27 treatment organizations.
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.
Researchers correlate stimulant abusers’ improved performance on a memory training exerc ise with reductions in delay discounting.
Helping smokers deal with financial problems could improve their chances of staying abstinent after receiving treatment, according to a new study. Participants with the most financial strain had the least success in remaining abstinent.
Individuals with weak signaling in a nicotine-sensitive brain circuit were more vulnerable to nicotine dependence than those with stronger signaling, according to a study conducted while the subjects’ brains were in a resting state. A second resting-state study finds that the same circuit appears to mediate dependence associated with a genetic risk factor for smoking.
An in vitro test demonstrates the potential of a programmable skin patch that will enable physicians to tailor transdermal medication doses to match patients' fluctuating needs.
Reports on several studies implicating a certain neuropeptide (a signaling molecule) in fostering addition and overeating and discusses implications for addiction treatment.
Reports on researchers who demonstrated the economic value of a computer-based treatment as an adjunct to standard addiction therapy.
Summarizes a study to determine whether a stress-related biological marker in saliva can predict how long a drug user will remain in treatment.
Describes results from a nationwide survey among correctional facilities on the use of opioid replacement therapy for people who are addicted to heroin.
Reports on a new medication strategy under investigated in animal studies that shows promise for preventing relapse to drug abuse.
Examines results from a randomized clinical trial which found that treatment with a nicotine patch and nicotine lozenge together produced the greatest benefits in helping people quit smoking and remain abstinent.
Describes a study revealing that HIV-infected prisoners in Texas often experience an interruption in treatment following their release and that assistance in filling out paperwork can reduce these interruptions.
Describes a study that examined the effectiveness of combining two therapies for drug abuse addiction: methadone treatment and therapeutic communities, two approaches that are rarely combined.
Describes findings from two randomized clinical trials showing that treatment with multidimensional family therapy resulted in fewer drug-related problems than treatment with cognitive behavior therapy.
Explores research findings on the value of motivational incentives to promote and reinforce abstinence from substances of abuse and encourage healthy behaviors.
Reports findings from a survey that revealed that although substance abuse is prevalent in jails and prisons, many correctional facilities do not offer detoxification services or therapies to aid in maintaining abstinence.
Reports on the results of a clinical trial that tested the effectiveness of a cocaine vaccine designed as a therapy for cocaine abuse and plans underway for a new study of 300 patients to confirm these results.
Recognizes four scientists for the 2009 Avant-Garde Award for HIV research, an award intended to stimulate groundbreaking research for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in drug abusers.
Treatment Patterns Vary Among People With Co-Occurring Disorders Based on Type of Treatment System Entered
Reports on research investigating whether certain medications might strengthen patients' understanding and memory retention.
Describes a toolkit that guides doctors in assessing a patient’s risk of developing an addiction problem, advising patients on the effects of substance abuse, and arranging for referrals.
Describes a study of participants who had both substance abuse and bipolar disorder to investigate the potential benefits of integrated group therapy for this population.
Reports on a posttreatment intervention to support recovery that may be especially beneficial for substance abusers with co-occurring mental disorders.
Describes an updated report on the co-occurrence, or comorbidity, of substance use disorders and other psychiatric disorders such as ADHD, schizophrenia, and depression.
Reports animal study findings that suggest adolescents' heightened sensitivity to drug reward puts them at enhanced risk of addiction and may also increase their challenges in recovery.
Describes findings of a study revealing that images of heroin preparation and injection can incite craving and excite brain areas associated with reward-seeking even in methadone-maintained patients.
Reports on several drugs that may ward off depression and anxiety, common withdrawal symptoms from cocaine, based on an animal study.
Commemorates NIDA’s 35th anniversary and highlights some of the major accomplishments since the Institute’s inception in 1974.
Reports finding from a study showing that access to antiretroviral therapies, HAART in particular, can improve the health of HIV-infected patients who have a history of injection drug use.
Describes research providing evidence that genes may influence how successful a person is in quitting smoking and which cessation technique may work best for them.
Discusses the work of researchers who have begun to harness the potential of computers to reinforce and expand upon the well-established benefits of recovery therapy delivered by a counselor.
Highlights data on the prevalence of people entering substance abuse treatment programs who also reported having at least one co-occurring mental health problem.
Highlights the need for research to assess and find solutions to a potential rise in substance abuse among service men and women, veterans, and their families.
Describes research on the effectiveness of a buprenorphine patch to alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms of newly abstinent heroin abusers.
Reports animal study findings on development of an antibody fragment that rapidly removes methamphetamine from the brain and discusses implications for treatment of overdose.
Reports on a new device that creates tiny painless punctures in the skin to allow medication to flow evenly from a skin patch into dermal capillaries and the bloodstream.
Describes clinical trial results providing evidence that methadone maintenance to men in prison can pay off in better retention in community treatment and reduced drug abuse following their release.
Announces the recipient of a 2009 award for innovation in research on drug addiction and alcoholism whose research focuses on the cellular changes that occur in response to chronic cocaine abuse.
Reports on a study investigating the effectiveness of a combined therapy of disulfiram and naltrexone for people who abuse cocaine and alcohol.
Describes research revealing that for up to 6 weeks after smokers quit, their brain cells have more nicotine-binding receptors than nonsmokers, which may explain the struggle to quit.
Highlights NIDA-sponsored research underway to understand and respond to substance abusers’ needs at all points of care, from the initial presentation for treatment through recovery.
Reports on a study involving adolescent girls who were treated for delinquent behaviors in a well-supervised family setting, referred to as Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care.
Presents data on the length of stay in substance abuse treatment among people who were in treatment as a result of legal pressure as compared with those in treatment voluntarily.
Describes research with rats to better understand cocaine’s effect on the neural signaling in the learning circuits of the brain.
Reports on a study of men with co-occurring substance abuse and antisocial personality disorders and the potential benefit of judicially mandated addiction treatment.
Describes NIDA’s drug abuse and addiction research priorities for the use of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds.
Highlights a project in which nine research centers collaborate with criminal justice partners to test science-based tools for integrating drug abuse treatment in prisons and probation and parole programs.
Highlights NIDA-funded research to develop vaccines against addiction to drugs such as cocaine, nicotine, phencyclidine (PCP), and methamphetamine.
Highlights results from a pilot study suggesting that lofexidine, an anti-hypertensive medication, can enhance success rates among patients taking maintenance naltrexone to avoid opioid relapse.
Reports on an animal study showing that methadone, normally used as a therapy for opioid abuse, may prove to be an effective treatment for cocaine abuse.
Remembers Henry I. "Hank" Yamamura, an eminent neuropharmacologist who pioneered radioligand binding assays, contributing valuable knowledge about neurotransmitter transporters and receptors.
Reports on a link between mental disorders, including mood, anxiety, or personality disorder and nicotine dependence in pregnancy women.
Reports on study results indicating a medication prescribed for schizophrenia and manic phases of bipolar disorder shows promise as a cocaine addiction treatment.
Reports on a randomized controlled trial of HIV-infected men and women who, as a result of receiving selenium supplements, experienced lower HIV viral load and greater CD4 cell count.
Offers an overview of some of the NIDA-supported innovative research achievements to reduce the health and social effects of drug abuse and addiction.
Describes research to develop new compounds that match or exceed the pain relief provided by opioids while avoiding their shortcomings.
Describes a study of unemployed methadone patients and the use of assertive outreach and motivational techniques to improve the patients’ employment outlook.
Presents highlights of a meeting of scientists and clinicians to review research results from the field of social neuroscience, the study of how neurobiology and the social environment interact.
Highlights the work of investigators who discovered key ways in which morphine may accelerate the progression of AIDS in animal studies.
Highlights the NIDA International Program which works to strengthen international research networks, creating opportunities for global research collaboration, training, and scientific exchange.
Describes a new intervention that enhances recovery prospects for substance abusers whose mental illness complicates the path toward recovery.
Describes a study investigating the use of the antidepressant bupropion as a potential therapy for methamphetamine addiction.
Describes a new research finding indicating that the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft), prescribed to relieve depression during the methamphetamine withdrawal process, may make quitting harder.
Reports on the work of addiction researchers who are learning how acute and chronic cocaine exposure regulates certain genes, based on knowledge from developmental and cancer biology.
Describes the role of the Division of Clinical Neuroscience and Behavioral Research in NIDA’s drug abuse and addiction research plan.
Describes research investigating a naturally occurring brain chemical that shows early promise as a treatment for addiction in animal studies.
Summarizes a study on the use of incentives to encourage abstinence among methadone maintenance patients in outpatient programs.
Reports on the research underway to identify gene variations associated with nicotine addiction and the interaction of genetic makeup, experiences, and surroundings to addiction.
Highlights a publication that outlines 13 research-based principles of successful treatment of drug abusers in the criminal justice system.