Dr. Volkow discusses NIDA’s efforts to develop effective antismoking treatments for populations with persistently high rates of smoking, such as people with psychiatric disorders, high school dropouts, and Native Americans.
A program involving home visits by nurses to low-income first-time mothers, starting during pregnancy and extending into the second year of their children’s lives, has a positive and long-lasting impact on families. Children who participated in the program were less likely than others to report having used alcohol, cigarettes, or marijuana at age 12.
New research suggests that differences in tobacco consumption reflect, in part, differences in the functional efficacy of a specific type of receptor in a pathway of the brain. In animal studies, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors with the α5 subunit played a key role in producing aversive responses to nicotine, thereby dissuading further consumption of the drug.