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NIDA Notes Articles: Opioids

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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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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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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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Prescription Opioid Misuse Treatment Leverages Mindfulness To Amplify Natural Rewards

October 2018
Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) reduces opioid misuse among chronic pain patients. MORE shifts patients' attention away from drug cues and toward cues for natural rewards.

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Patients Addicted to Opioid Painkillers Achieve Good Results With Outpatient Detoxification

February 2015
A significant portion of individuals who are addicted to opioid painkillers may initiate and maintain abstinence with a brief but intensive outpatient detoxification treatment followed by opioid antagonist therapy using naltrexone.

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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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Microneedle Milestone: One Week of Transdermal Drug Delivery

March 2014
Microneedles are an innovative technique for delivering medications through the skin, a route that could particularly benefit patients receiving naltrexone therapy for opioid and alcohol dependence. Researchers have found a way to use the transdermal technique to deliver a single treatment of naltrexone that lasts for 7 days.

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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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In Animals, Opioid Combination Shows Promise for Safer Pain Relief

June 2018
In rats, the combination treatment of oxycodone/nalfurafine had lower levels of abuse liability and produced less respiratory depression than oxycodone alone.

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