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NIDA Notes Articles

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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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Deadline Approaching: U.S.-Mexico Drug Abuse Prevention Research Fellowship

February 2013

Researchers interested in applying for the NIDA U.S.-Mexico Drug Abuse Prevention Research Fellowship need to submit application materials by April 1, 2013. 

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Staff Stress Affects Patients’ Engagement in Therapy

February 2013

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.  

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Nicotine Makes Mouse Brain More Responsive to Cocaine

February 2013

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.

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SAAF‒T Reduces African American Teens’ Substance Use, Conduct Problems

February 2013

Teens who participated in the intervention Strong African American FamiliesTeen at age 16 reported fewer conduct problems and depressive symptoms and less substance abuse at age 17‒18, compared to peers exposed to a control intervention.

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Seek-Test-Treat-Retain To Stop the Spread of HIV

February 2013

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.

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N-Acetylcysteine Postsynaptic Effect Limits Efficacy

January 2013

Clinical trials of N-acetylcysteine to help people recovering from drug abuse avoid relapse have demonstrated only moderate efficacy. New NIDA-supported research shows that while a low dose of the medication activates receptors associated with lowered drug-seeking behavior, a higher dose appears to activate receptors associated with increased drug-seeking behavior. The result suggests that a medication or combination of medications that stimulate the receptor GluR2/3 and block mGluR5 may work better than N-acetylcysteine alone.

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Crime Does Not Increase Around Methadone Clinics in Baltimore

January 2013

Methadone treatment centers are not foci for serious criminal activity, according to a study that used crime reports and global positioning data to compare crime rates at various distances around methadone centers, hospitals, convenience stores, and residential neighborhoods.

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Brief Intervention Helps Adolescents Curb Substance Use

January 2013

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.

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Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure Linked With Problems

December 2012

Study findings indicate that children exposed to methamphetamine prenatally show more signs of increased emotionality, anxiety, and depression than nonexposed children at ages 3 and 5 years.

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