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

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Deep Brain Stimulation Attenuates Rats’ Responses to Heroin

October 2017
High-frequency electrical stimulation of neurons deep in the brain can reduce rats’ relapse-like behavior and motivation to take heroin. The finding strengthens hope that deep brain stimulation might offer a new treatment alternative for opioid addiction, particularly for patients who have not benefited from other treatments.

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Variation in the Gene for the μ-Opioid Receptor May Influence Responses to Methadone

August 2017
A single nucleotide polymorphism in the messenger RNA of the µ-opioid receptor gene was associated with patients’ responses to methadone treatment for opioid dependence.

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Opioid Agonist Treatment Reduces Societal Costs of Crime

August 2017
Patients who initiate time-unlimited opioid-agonist therapy will generate lower average total crime-related costs over the next 6 months than patients who initiate a 21-day detoxification regimen.

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Nonmedical Opioid and Heroin Use Among High School Seniors

April 2017
This study analyzed the use of use of nonmedical opioids and heroin use among 68,000 high-school seniors participating in the NIDA-funded Monitoring the Future Study between 2009 and 2013.

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Buprenorphine Benefits Waitlisted Seekers of Opioid Treatment

March 2017
In two pilot clinical trials, buprenorphine helped participants reduce their illicit opioid use and injection drug use while awaiting admission to a methadone or buprenorphine treatment program. Researchers minimized the risks for improper use or diversion of the study medication by giving it to trial participants in a computerized, tamper-proof device that dispenses one dose each day.

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Promising Advances in the Search for Safer Opioids

February 2017
New studies show that two novel compounds powerfully suppressed animals’ pain responses, while producing little or none of the respiratory depression and liability for misuse and abuse associated with morphine and other typical opioids.

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Messages Shore Up Support for Making Life-Saving Anti-Overdose Medication Widely Available

October 2016
Public health messages can increase public approval for making naloxone legally available to friends and relatives of opioid users to administer if an overdose occurs.

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Study Links Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Reduced Mortality From Opioid Overdose

May 2016
Legally protected marijuana dispensaries (LMDs) were associated with lower rates of dependence on prescription opioids, and deaths due to opioid overdose, than would have been expected based on prior trends. However, LMDs also were associated with higher rates of recreational marijuana use and increased potency of illegal marijuana.

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Dual Regimen Aims To Shorten Medication-Assisted Therapy

May 2016
Treatment that combines use of Bp/Nx and memantine may enable young adults addicted to opioids establish lasting abstinence after a relatively brief course of medication-assisted therapy, a pilot trial suggests.

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ED-Initiated Buprenorphine Outperforms Referral or SBIRT for ED Patients With Opioid Addiction

January 2016
Emergency department visits present prime opportunities to identify people with opioid addiction and provide them with onsite initiation of treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone.

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