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NIDA Notes Articles: Heroin, Opioids, Pain Medication and Prescription Drugs

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Serotonin Receptor Agonist Lorcaserin Reduces Relapse to Drug Use in Monkeys

March 2020
The serotonin 2C receptor agonist lorcaserin reduced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior in response to heroin or cocaine in a nonhuman primate model of relapse.

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AOUD Treatment in Primary Care Settings—Is it Feasible?

January 2020
Treatment for alcohol and opioid use disorders (AOUD) is feasible in primary care settings, but ongoing funding to support organizational capacity is critical for sustaining such programs.

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Novel Dopamine D3 Receptor Antagonist Reduces Opioid Addiction-Like Behaviors in Rats

January 2020
The dopamine D3 receptor antagonist VK4-116 reduced oxycodone self-administration in rats, as well as drug-seeking behaviors after oxycodone reinstatement following withdrawal. VK4-116 did not interfere with oxycodone’s pain-relieving effects

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α2δ-1–NMDA Receptor Interactions Are Responsible for Increases in Pain Sensitivity Caused by Opioids

December 2019
In animal studies, α2δ-1 and its interactions with NMDA receptors in the spinal cord triggered the pain sensitivity and analgesic tolerance that occurs with chronic morphine treatment. Blocking the α2δ-1–NMDA interaction reduced opioid-induced hyperalgesia and analgesic tolerance.

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Rats Prefer Social Interaction to Heroin or Methamphetamine

August 2019
This study showed that rats will forgo heroin and methamphetamine in favor of spending time with another rat. It also highlights the importance of incorporating voluntary choice between drugs and social rewards in drug addiction research.

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Drug Use and Its Consequences Increase Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults

July 2019
The spread of marijuana use and the opioid epidemic over the past 10 years have affected middle-aged and older Americans. In addition, prescription opioid and benzodiazepine misuse increased older adults’ risk of suicidal thoughts.

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Methadone Maintenance Treatment During Incarceration Has Long-Term Benefits

April 2019
Prisoners who received methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) during incarceration were more likely than prisoners who did not receive MMT to engage in the treatment after being released.

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Interim Buprenorphine Alleviates Psychiatric Symptoms in Waitlisted OUD Patients

March 2019
Interim treatment with buprenorphine significantly improved the psychiatric symptoms of people awaiting comprehensive treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Buprenorphine treatment, even without concurrent psychosocial counseling, may help patients with no, or delayed, access to comprehensive OUD treatment.

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A Promising Alternative to Opioid Pain Medications

February 2019
An experimental compound with a dual action at two opioid receptors may provide powerful pain relief without many of opioids' harmful side effects. En Español

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New Studies Clarify Risk Factors for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

January 2019
A recent NIDA-sponsored study found higher rates of NAS among males than among females. A second study found that, among infants whose mothers were treated with buprenorphine while pregnant, NAS was more severe among those whose mothers used other substances.

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