Archive for category Drug Addiction

Drugs That Influence Genetic Switches Could Address Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction has always been a difficult issue to address, but a recent study sheds light on a possible relationship between genetic makeup and the use of epigenetic drugs to stop cocaine addiction.

cocaineA joint study by the McGill University and Bar Ilan University investigated the effect of using epigenetic drugs to stop addiction to cocaine. The research team conducted lab experiments on mice, which were trained to crave for cocaine using a visual or auditory cue. The rats were then observed for evidence of cocaine withdrawal for up to 30 days. Results showed that changes in the mice’s genetic switches were at their highest as the withdrawal became longer.

The researchers injected RG108, an inhibiting agent for DNA methylation, to the mice during the lengthy withdrawal just before the triggering light or sound could cause them to crave for cocaine. “We discovered that injecting the drug RG108 just before the animals were exposed to the light cue after the long withdrawal not only stopped the addictive behavior of the animals, it also lasted for a longer period. This suggests that a single treatment with RG108 could reverse or perhaps cure drug addiction,” said study co-author Moshe Szyf in a news report.

The effect of the epigenetic drug was most evident during the withdrawal phase, according to co-author Gal Yadid. “During this period of withdrawal, hundreds of genes changed their state of DNA methylation including genes that were known before to be involved in addiction,” Yadid added.

Details of the study were published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Study: Brain Structure Can Predict Likelihood of Drug Addiction

A new study discovered how a person’s likelihood to be addicted to drugs may be predicted by analyzing the brain structure. Dr. Benjamin Becker led a team of researchers whose paper published in Brain: A Journal of Neurology looked into a connection between distinctions in brain regions and a possible addiction to amphetamines and MDMA.

drug addiction brain headAfter analyzing the brains of 66 individuals who occasionally used the identified amphetamine-type stimulant drugs, it was discovered that those who used amphetamines more frequently within two years from the start of the assessment had smaller front-striato-limbic regions. “These findings indicate that individual differences in fronto-stiato-limbic regions implicated in impulsivity and decision making could render individuals vulnerable for the transition from occasional to escalating stimulant use,” Becker said in a news release.

Becker emphasized the importance of their study and oter future researchers on the matter. “Prospective longitudinal studies in occasional users are of great importance to determine biological vulnerability markers, which can help to identify individuals at greatest risk of developing an addiction,” Becker added.

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British Teen Death Caused By Drug Cocktail

drug mixtureA male teenager in the U.K. was reported dead in September 2014 after taking a mixture of drugs that have been deemed deadly. A recent inquest determined that the cause of death was indeed due to the deadly drug cocktail. Arron Matschy, 19 years old and a resident of Normandy Road, Worthing, combined amphetamine, codeine and fentanyl and took the mixture without knowing its effect on the body.

According to a recent inquest proceeding in relation to the teen’s death, Matschy spent the night at the house of his then-girlfriend Toni Forrest. His death was caused by the fatal mixture of the drugs that were metabolized in his body. The coroner’s report declared traces of morphine in the boy’s body. Penelope Schofield, coroner at West Sussex, said that the demise of Matschy was caused by accident. “From the evidence I have heard it’s clear to me that he was mixing the drugs and probably had no idea of the potential cocktail he was building in his body… The coroner’s officer said that some of those drugs could actually aggregate the toxicity of the other drugs,” Schofield said.

Matschy’s father said in a news report that his son was under serious self-esteem issues and would sometimes think negatively. “Arron had this dark said that he would go to that even I couldn’t reach him… Once he was in there even I couldn’t reach him,” the boy’s father said.

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Antidote For Cocaine Addiction? New Study Breaks Ground

It’s only a matter of time before scientists discover the cure for addictions to illicit drugs like cocaine.

A team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen’s Neuroscience and Pharmacology department claims to have stumbled upon the mechanisms surrounding dopamine, an amino acid found in the brain associated with processing motivation and addiction. Claus Juul Loland, one of the department’s associate professors and study co-author, said that this discovery could pave the way to eliminate addiction to cocaine. “If we have a better understanding of the dopamine transporter function we will become more proficient in developing an antidote against cocaine addiction,” said Loland in a news item.

Cocaine effect on dopamine [source]

Cocaine effect on dopamine [source]

The research team investigated the dopamine transporter — which has the ability to control the mechanism of dopamine — and has found a way to manipulate the metabolism between dopamine and the transporter. Loland believes that by creating a mutated form of the transporter, the dopamine molecule can be “tricked” into binding with an inhibitor instead of cocaine. As a result, cocaine in the human body will not be processed and may subsequently prevent addiction to the drug. “Our objective here is that cocaine will not then work anymore as the antidote will inhibit the stimulatory response of taking this drug,” Loland added.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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Latest NIDA Study Reveals Drop In Teen Drug Use, Increase In Vaping

The latest report by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reveals both good and bad news in terms of substance use by teenagers.

teen drug abuseAccording to the annual teen tracking report by the government agency, teenage use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin has dropped this year. “Probably that relates to very aggressive campaigns for prevention,” said NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow in a news release.

In addition, the rate of teenage smoking using traditional cigarettes has also dropped significantly, as well as the rate of teenage binge drinking. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about e-cigarette use. What’s troubling for the agency is that the dangers of e-cigarettes have not yet been exposed completely. “One of the arguments has been that when you’re vaping nicotine you are not inhaling all the combustion products from tobacco leaves that you get from a regular cigarette… The problem has to do with the fact that if these e-cigarettes are improperly manufactured, then they can deliver toxins from leakage from paint or other materials that are used in their production,” Volkow said.

Illicit use of Adderall and other similar prescription stimulant drugs is also on the rise, according to the NIDA study. “The problem of using stimulant medication to study for tests is that stimulant drugs are addictive and actually they can be highly addictive,” the NIDA director added.

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Celebrate National Recovery Month This September

If you or someone close to you is currently recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, this is the perfect time to make your voices heard and make the public aware of the struggles of recovery.

national recovery month september SAMHSASeptember is celebrated all around the U.S. as the National Recovery Month, which provides an opportune time to highlight the importance of early intervention and preventive measures to rescue people from their addictions. This year marks the 25th time that the campaign is being held, with the advocacy stretching to the awareness of mental disorders as well.

The theme for this year is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” which gives recovering addicts the chance to have their voices heard and express their struggles in recovering from drug and alcohol abuse. The campaign hopes to put a positive spin on the issue by emphasizing the significance of a person’s behavior to overall well-being, as well as the benefits of prevention and immediate treatment.

Several organizations are putting their full support on the campaign, including the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

If you want to support the campaign through a monetary donation, you may send them through this page at drugfree.org. You may also find more information about National Recovery Month from the SAMHSA website.

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