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NIDA Notes

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NIDA Notes keeps you up to date on research advances in the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of drug abuse and addiction and HIV/AIDS.

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Early-Onset, Regular Cannabis Use Is Linked to IQ Decline (August 2013)

Regular cannabis use that starts in adolescence strips away IQ, a NIDA-supported study suggests. Participants who initiated weekly cannabis use before age 18 dropped IQ points in proportion to how long they persisted in using the drug. Persistent cannabis users’ cognitive difficulties were evident to friends and family and measurable on a battery of tests.

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Male Rats’ Cocaine Exposure Affects Their Offspring’s Drug Responses (August 2013)

In a surprising finding, male rats who used cocaine sired male offspring who later exhibited blunted responses to the drug. Researchers determined the cause was an epigenetic alteration.

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Study Pinpoints Cognitive Deficits Due to Cocaine, Finds Potential for Recovery (August 2013)

New research demonstrated that, in rhesus monkeys, ongoing cocaine exposure weakens two brain functions that people require for successful behavioral change: cognitive flexibility and memory. But the study determined that these changes may not be permanent.

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Problem Behaviors Can Signal Risk in Prescribing Opioids to Teens (July 2013)

Researchers found that 1 in 8 high school seniors had used a prescription opioid nonmedically, and 70 percent of these teens had compounded the attendant risk by co-ingesting an opioid with one or more other drugs. Nonmedical opioid use was significantly more prevalent among whites than among African Americans or Hispanics.

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After Release, Jail Inmates’ Substance Use Patterns Relate to Their Choice of Friends (July 2013)

When the goal is to avoid using alcohol and illicit substances after being released from jail, it’s who one’s friends are that counts most. Self-control is important because it helps a person have the right kind of friends.

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NIDA Advisory Council Welcomes Two New Members (May 2013)

The National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse introduced two new members at its May 2013 meeting. 

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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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Receptor May Underlie Gender Differences in Response to Smoking Cessation (May 2013)

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.

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Counselors’ Perceptions of Organizational Justice and Support Predict Job Turnover (May 2013)

Forty-seven percent of substance abuse treatment counselors in a national sample left their jobs voluntarily within 3 years.

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Study Endorses Onsite HIV Testing Without Risk Reduction Counseling (April 2013)

Patients were more likely to take a rapid HIV test when substance abuse treatment programs offered the test onsite rather than referred for offsite testing. Patients were equally likely to accept and learn their HIV status whether the offer of onsite testing was accompanied by 30 minutes of risk reduction counseling or by 5 minutes of brief information on the testing procedure. Onsite testing accompanied by brief information was cost effective, taking into account the projected lifetime costs of treatment and the gains in health and longevity for detected cases.

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