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NIDA Notes Articles: Opioids

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Chromosome 17 Harbors Opioid Dependence Genes

March 2008

Describes the work of researchers who have found a statistical link between one region on chromosome 17 and an increased risk of opioid dependence.

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Buprenorphine During Pregnancy Reduces Neonate Distress

July 2012

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.

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Basic Science Discoveries Yield Novel Approaches to Analgesia

September 2008

Describes research to develop new compounds that match or exceed the pain relief provided by opioids while avoiding their shortcomings.

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Antipsychotic Drug Prevents Morphine Tolerance in Mice

April 2007
Summarizes animal studies indicating that an antipsychotic drug, trifluoperazine, prevents morphine tolerance in mice.

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Anticipation of Methadone Enhances Brain Reactivity to Heroin Cues

December 2009

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.

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Animal Research Advances Effort to Develop Vaccines Against Cocaine, Heroin Abuse

September 2012

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.

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Adolescent Cigarette, Alcohol Use Declines as Marijuana Use Rises

February 2013

Fewer teens are using cigarettes, alcohol, and most illicit drugs, according to NIDA’s latest Monitoring the Future study. Troubling  trends persist in marijuana use, however, and nonmedical prescription drug use remains a concern.

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