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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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Why Females Are More Sensitive to Cocaine

August 2017

New research demonstrates that the hormone estradiol is responsible for females’ increased sensitivity to stimulant drugs.

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Researchers Speak: The ABCD Study

June 2017

In this video, Dr. Terry Jernigan describes the purpose and goals of the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study.

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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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Narrative of Discovery: Can Magnets Treat Cocaine Addiction? Part 3

March 2017

In the final installment of this series, Dr. Diana Martinez navigates the process for receiving NIH funding to test the efficacy of using transcranial magnetic stimulation as treatment for cocaine addiction.

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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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Endocannabinoid Regulates Cocaine Reward

March 2017

  • Investigators have shown that 2-AG, an endocannabinoid (i.e., a cannabinoid manufactured within the body, as opposed to plant-derived), augments the cocaine-induced dopamine surge in the brain’s reward system.
  • The discovery adds to evidence that inhibiting activity in the endocannabinoid system might reduce cocaine’s rewarding and addictive effects.  

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Impacts of Drugs on Neurotransmission

March 2017

Drugs can alter the way people think, feel, and behave by disrupting neurotransmission, the process of communication between brain cells. This article discusses the central importance of studying drugs’ effects on neurotransmission and describes some of the most common experimental methods used in this research. 

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Why Are Our Brains So Big and Powerful?

March 2017

Research suggests that unique patterns of gene regulation have contributed to the differences in brain size and capacity that distinguish humans from other animals.

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