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.
Dr. Thomas Kosten of Baylor College of Medicine and Dr. Peter Burkhard of the University of Connecticut are the recipients of NIDA’s 2011 Avant-Garde Awards for Innovative Medication Development Research. Dr. Kosten is developing a vaccine against methamphetamine abuse and Dr. Burkhard is developing a vaccine to counter nicotine addiction.
April 2010 Describes an animal study reporting that peer interaction enhances adolescent rats’ drug reward and discusses the impact of these findings to future research on drug reward in social context.
The Strengthening Families Program for Youth 10-14 (SFP10-14), an evidence-based intervention that reduces teen substance use, also reduced participants’ friends’ substance use. Two factors that accounted for the nonparticipants’ reductions were less time spent by nonparticipants with their participating friends without adult supervision and improvements in nonparticipants’ attitudes toward substance use. The findings suggest that researchers should consider the potential for diffusion of benefits in designing and implementing prevention programs.
Towns that implemented a drug abuse prevention program called Communities That Care will see a return of $5.30 for each $1 they invested during the 5-year trial of the intervention, according to a cost-benefit analysis. The estimate is based on reductions in smoking and delinquency observed during the fourth year of the study among eighth-graders and the projected total costs of smoking, delinquency, and crime avoided over the lifetimes of study participants.