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NIDA Notes Articles: Opioids

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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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Prison Use of Medications for Opioid Addiction Remains Low

July 2011
Describes results from a nationwide survey among correctional facilities on the use of opioid replacement therapy for people who are addicted to heroin.

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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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Reduced Longevity Among Male Heroin Abusers, 1962-1997

June 2008
Reviews the changing lifespan of heroin abusers as compared with that of the general U.S. population based on 1962-1997 data.

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Reducing Postpartum Drug Use

December 2008
Highlights a computerized intervention that reduced new mothers' drug abuse in the first 4 months postpartum as reported in a clinical trial of 107 women who abused drugs.

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Some Teens Reporting Nonmedical Use of Prescriptions Develop Disorders

April 2010
Reports teen drug abuse based on 2006-2007 data from a national survey on drug use and health and compares differences by gender.

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Study Finds Withdrawal No Easier With Ultrarapid Opiate Detox

October 2006
Presents findings from a clinical trial comparing ultrarapid, anesthesia-assisted detoxification with detoxification by traditional methods among patients addicted to heroin.

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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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Study Supports Methadone Maintenance in Therapeutic Communities

December 2010
Describes a study that examined the effectiveness of combining two therapies for drug abuse addiction: methadone treatment and therapeutic communities, two approaches that are rarely combined.

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Thoughts of Suicide May Persist Among Nonmedical Prescription Opiate Users

March 2013
People who use prescription opiates nonmedically are more likely to consider suicide than those who use these medications only appropriately or not at all. A recent NIDA-supported study also disclosed that the risk for suicidal thoughts remains elevated after cessation of use.

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