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An Ambitious Research Plan to Help Solve the Opioid Crisis

June 12, 2018 | Nora's Blog
In spring 2018, Congress added an additional $500 million to the NIH budget to invest in science to find solutions to the opioid crisis. The funding that NIDA is receiving will go toward the goal of addressing addiction in new ways and better delivering existing forms of care to populations that need it.

Special journal issue highlights ABCD brain study

June 11, 2018 | News Release

The special issue is an overview of the ABCD Study and includes articles about the rationale for the study, its design and recruitment strategy, assessment protocols and neuroimaging parameters, the inclusion of twins in the research design, biomedical ethics and clinical oversight, and retention considerations, among others.

Too Hot And Too Cold: Dysregulation of key brain networks in people with addiction

June 08, 2018 | Science Highlight
Study suggests that brain activity is not simply too high or low in people who are addicted to drugs, but behaves differently to drug and non-drug stimuli.

Breathing under the influence of … fentanyl

May 30, 2018 | Science Highlight
An animal study at NIDA’s intramural research labs suggests fentanyl-induced respiratory depression affects the temperature of the brain, triggering brain hypoxia and hyperglycemia.

FDA approves first medication to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms

May 16, 2018 | News Release

Lofexidine, the first medication for use in reducing symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal in adults, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

What science says about Tobacco + Marijuana + Pregnancy

May 11, 2018 | Science Highlight
A NIDA-funded study suggests that pregnant women who smoke both marijuana and cigarettes have a higher likelihood of smaller babies and increased maternal stress and aggression.

Study upends conventional view of opioid mechanism of action

May 10, 2018 | News Release
NIH-funded scientists find new molecular target for developing safer pain medications.A new discovery shows that opioids used to treat pain, such as morphine and oxycodone, produce their effects by binding to receptors inside neurons, contrary to conventional wisdom that they acted only on the same surface receptors as endogenous opioids, which are produced naturally in the brain.

Understanding the Neuroscience of Addiction: what it means for prevention and treatment

April 25, 2018 | News Release

Advances in the understanding of brain development, as well as the role that genes and environment play in addiction, are the focus of a review article published today in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Overdose drug shows promise as stroke treatment

April 17, 2018 | Science Highlight
Preclinical research lays the groundwork for developing the first drug to promote recovery from ischemic stroke, a leading cause of adult disability.

Five million American adults misusing prescription stimulants

April 16, 2018 | News Release
Science Spotlight.

Looking at annual averages, approximately 6.6% (or 16 million) of U.S. adults used prescription stimulants in the preceding year; 4.5% (or 11 million) used prescription stimulants appropriately (without misuse); 2.1% (or 5 million) misused prescription stimulants at least once; and 0.2% (or 0.4 million) had prescription stimulant use disorders.

Listening to Patients’ Voices in Developing New Opioid Addiction Treatments

April 05, 2018 | Nora's Blog
One of the pillars of the current federal initiatives to end the opioid crisis is the development of new medications to treat opioid addiction. The FDA Patient-Focused Drug Development Initiative (PFDD), established in 2012, seeks to solicit patient perspectives on which symptoms are most important to target.

Study changes long-held concepts of cell decoding

March 28, 2018 | News Release
NIH scientists discover macromolecular complexes that could enable medication development.

Scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Intramural Research Program (IRP) have uncovered evidence that shows a more complex and elaborate role for the body’s hard-working G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) than previously thought, suggesting a conceptual advance in the fields of biochemistry and pharmacology.

Study highlights how opioid receptors organize to block pain

March 27, 2018 | Science Highlight
A NIDA-funded study explored how opioids such as morphine act within pain circuits in the brain and spinal cord, while attaching to receptors on the surface of nerve cells (neurons).

Non-psychoactive cannabinoid may enable drug addiction recovery

March 26, 2018 | News Release
Science Spotlight.

Gut-brain axis offers clues to treatments for addictive disorders

March 15, 2018 | Science Highlight
Scientists have investigated how the stomach-derived hormone ghrelin affects alcohol-seeking behaviors, discovering for the first time in humans that administration of ghrelin intravenously significantly increased alcohol intake in heavy drinking participants.

NIDA's 2018 Avant-Garde awards highlight immune response and killer cells

March 13, 2018 | News Release
NIH's awards support groundbreaking approaches to HIV prevention and treatment.

NIDA’s annual Avant-Garde Award competition, now in its 11th year, is intended to stimulate high-impact research that may lead to groundbreaking opportunities for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in drug users.

Stimulating news about brain glutamate

March 12, 2018 | Science Highlight
NIDA-funded scientists conducted the first study showing that the signaling transmitter glutamate increases in the brain after stimulant use in humans, which has a greater effect in females.

Repurposed arthritis drug could become a non-opioid pain reliever

March 06, 2018 | Science Highlight
A compound once studied as an arthritis therapy has been given new life as a possible non-opioid pain reliever by NIDA-funded scientists.

The brain's hyper-network uncovered

February 26, 2018 | Science Highlight
Complex brain actions reflect multiple networks of activity in the brain, according to a paper authored by researchers from the NIDA Intramural Research Program, in collaboration with scientists from Italy and Sweden.

Neuronal ensembles take center stage

February 22, 2018 | Science Highlight
A new animal study from NIDA's Intramural Research Program (IRP) shines light on the underlying mechanisms in the brain's prefrontal cortex and its role in learning.

Marijuana drug use increasing during pregnancy

January 29, 2018 | Science Highlight

A “New Vista” for Treating Cocaine Addiction

January 17, 2018 | Science Highlight

Oxytocin protocol appears workable and safe for methadone patients who use cocaine

January 09, 2018 | Science Highlight
Some 30 to 60 percent of patients in methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) for opioid use disorders use cocaine. Compared to other MMT patients, those who use cocaine have higher rates of relapse and mortality. Studies with animals have suggested that the hormone oxytocin could be doubly helpful to these patients, by reducing the addictive effects of both opioids and cocaine. Now, researchers supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse have developed a protocol for adjunctive oxytocin treatment, and a pilot study has indicated that it is workable and safe for MMT patients.

Opioid treatment drugs have similar outcomes once patients initiate treatment

November 14, 2017 | News Release
NIDA study compares buprenorphine/naloxone combination to extended release naltrexone.

Substance Use Disorders Are Associated With Major Medical Illnesses and Mortality Risk in a Large Integrated Health Care System

October 24, 2017 | NIDA Notes

Strong associations exist between substance use disorder diagnoses and 19 major medical illnesses among patients in a large, integrated health care system. The study indicates that these associations may persist even in health care systems that provide specialized treatment for substance use disorders and have capacity to integrate behavioral and medical care.

New Medication Formulations Could Quickly Make a Difference for Treating Opioid Addiction

August 22, 2017 | Nora's Blog
As Francis Collins and I wrote in May, NIH and NIDA are committed to an “all scientific hands on deck” effort to end the opioid crisis in America by halving the time it takes to develop new medications to treat pain and addiction and reverse overdoses.