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NIDA Notes Articles: Prescription Drugs

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Potential Pain Medication Targets Peripheral Nerves

September 2012

Researchers report a significant advance in the search for medications that can suppress pain but avoid opioids’ abuse potential and other undesirable CNS effects. A new compound reduces mouse responses in animal models of neurogenic and chronic inflammatory (e.g., arthritic) pain. The compound, called UB937, enhances the natural pain-killing activity of the neurotransmitter anandamide, and exerts its analgesic effects entirely in peripheral tissues, without entering the brain.

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Oxycodone Vaccine Passes Early Tests

May 2013

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.

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Morphine-Induced Immunosuppression, From Brain to Spleen

June 2008

Reports on scientists who pinpointed the biochemical trigger from morphine that sets off a chain reaction that inhibits an immune cell that is key in fighting viruses and cancer.

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Meeting Reviews Progress On Prescription Opioid Misuse

April 2007
Describes a meeting of researchers and clinicians who gathered to discuss the challenges in balancing appropriate pain treatment with efforts to minimize prescription opioid misuse.

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In Nationwide Survey, More Students Use Marijuana, Fewer Use Other Drugs

April 2014

Almost one-third (32 percent) of the roughly 42,000 Monitoring the Future survey respondents reported having used marijuana during their lifetime. However, abuse of many other drugs—methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and some prescription medications—declined.

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High School Seniors Steadily Increase Nonmedical Use of Sedatives Over 15 years

October 2006
Highlights data from an annual national survey of youth showing a pattern of rising nonmedical use of sedatives among high school seniors.

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High Rates of Illegal Drug Use Among Alcohol-Dependent Adults

July 2011
Highlights data on the prevalence of rates of illegal drug use and nonmedical use of prescription drugs among adults dependant on alcohol, as compared with the general population.

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Few Teens With Prescription Opioid Use Disorders Receive Treatment

July 2012

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.

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Elevated Rates of Drug Abuse Continue for Second Year

June 2012

Illicit drug use in the United States in 2010 was at its highest level since 2002, according to the most recent report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. A rise in marijuana use drove the increase. A favorable trend of falling cocaine use continued.

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Drug Abuse at Highest Level in Nearly a Decade

December 2010

Reports on 2009 data indicating a rise in drug abuse in the United States and the factors that may have contributed to this increase.

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