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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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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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Gabapentin Tested To Treat Marijuana Dependence (April 2013)

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.

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Q & A: Dr. Redonna Chandler (April 2013)

The chief of NIDA's Services Research Branch talks about drug abuse treatment within the criminal justice system, and assesses the challenges facing drug abuse treatment overall in the United States.

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Thoughts of Suicide May Persist Among Nonmedical Prescription Opiate Users (March 2013)

People who use prescription opiates nonmedically are more likely to consider suicide than those who use these medications only appropriately or not at all. A recent NIDA-supported study also disclosed that the risk for suicidal thoughts remains elevated after cessation of use.

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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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