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.
A clinical trial found that patients who self-administered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) using computerized training modules reduced their drug use as much as patients who received clinician-delivered CBT, and they maintained this advantage through a 6-month follow-up.
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.
About 1 in 20 patients treated for a nonfatal opioid overdose in an emergency department died within 1 year of their visit, many within 2 days. Two-thirds of these deaths were directly attributed to subsequent opioid-related overdoses.