Archived News Releases

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New clinician screening tool available for substance use

 |  The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network has unveiled a new scientifically validated, online screening tool designed to assess a patient’s risk for substance misuse and substance use disorder, and assist the health care provider with prevention and treatment strategies.

Special journal issue highlights ABCD brain study

 |  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.

Study upends conventional view of opioid mechanism of action

 |  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.

Five million American adults misusing prescription stimulants

 |  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.

Study changes long-held concepts of cell decoding

 |  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.

The brain's hyper-network uncovered

 |  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.

Dr. Redonna Chandler selected to lead AIDS Research Program at NIDA

 |  Dr. Redonna Chandler has been named director of the AIDS Research Program at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this role, she will be responsible for the development, planning, and coordination of high priority research on HIV and AIDS and drug use within NIDA and across other NIH Institutes.

Cocaine contributes to overdose deaths among some minorities

 |  Drug overdose deaths are a major public health concern across all racial/ethnic groups, and are often associated with opioid use. However, a new study shows that cocaine is also a consistent contributor to overdose deaths. The research suggests that rates of cocaine-related overdose deaths in the non-Hispanic black population are similar to heroin-related deaths among non-Hispanic white women and prescription opioid-related deaths among non-Hispanic white men. The study was conducted by researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Cancer Institute, both part of the National Institutes of Health.

Separating side effects could hold key for safer opioids

 |  Opioid pain relievers can be extremely effective in relieving pain, but can carry a high risk of addiction and ultimately overdose when breathing is suppressed and stops. Scientists have discovered a way to separate these two effects -- pain relief and breathing -- opening a window of opportunity to make effective pain medications without the risk of respiratory failure.

How the Brain Grows Up

 |  This study demonstrated that the new axons arrive via a pathway that originates in the VTA and passes through the part of the forebrain called the nucleus accumbens (NAC).

Stronger Relief for Neuropathic Pain

 |  Opioid medications are highly effective against many types of pain, but not neuropathic pain, which arises from damaged or diseased nerves. Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests a way to remedy that shortcoming.

Young adults’ daily use of marijuana a concern

 |  The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) announced that the latest Monitoring the Future (MTF) national survey results of drug use among full-time college students and their non-college peers are now available online, highlighting that daily marijuana use is at the highest level since the early 1980s for this age group.

Collaborative care shows promise for opioid and alcohol use disorders

 |  A NIDA-funded randomized clinical trial found that primary care patients with opioid and alcohol use disorders (OAUD) who were offered a collaborative care intervention were more likely to receive evidence-based treatment and refrain from using opioids and alcohol six months later, compared to patients receiving usual care.

Grants awarded to address opioid crisis in rural regions

 |  To address the opioid crisis in rural U.S. regions, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in partnership with several other federal agencies, have issued nine grants to help communities develop comprehensive approaches to prevent and treat consequences of opioid injection, including substance use disorder, overdose, HIV, hepatitis B and C virus infections, as well as sexually transmitted diseases.

NIDA scientists advance DREADD technology

 |  Scientists at the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have discovered new clues to the successful use of the DREADD technology. It has been thought that artificially designed DREADD receptors can be activated by a metabolite of the antipsychotic drug clozapine, called CNO.

Glutamate Receptor’s Role in Cocaine Reward and Relapse

 |  Scientists supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that rats lacking mGluR2 self-administered more cocaine than wild-type rats when little work was needed to obtain the drug, but less when the work requirement rose—and they were less likely to relapse after a period of abstinence.

Microglia Revealed

 |  Neuroscientists at the NIDA Intramural Research Program, with colleagues from the Johns Hopkins University, conducted the most extensive analysis to date of microglia in the midbrain of healthy mice. They discovered that the microglia in different midbrain areas differ in population density, number of branches, cellular contents, and gene expression.

Smoking cessation medications alleviate symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, but not long-term brain changes

 |  Researchers now report that nicotine replacement therapy and the smoking cessation medication varenicline alleviate ex-smokers’ deficits in decision-making, but do not restore reward sensitivity. The new study pinpoints the types of decision errors newly abstinent smokers make, and how their brain activity during decision-making differs from that of non-smokers.

High mortality among opioid use disorder patients in a general health care setting

 |  A new report provides information that primary care physicians and health care systems can use as they develop responses to the reforms and measure their success. The findings provide a baseline estimate of the excess mortality suffered by patients with opioid use disorder who are treated in a general health care system, and identify the main proximate causes of this mortality.

Research shows parallels between addiction and aggression

 |  A new study by scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) Intramural Research Program (IRP) showed that when mice are exposed to experimental protocols adapted from those that are used to model human addictive behaviors, some animals develop an addiction-like propensity to aggression.

New analysis highlights patterns of adult medical marijuana use

 |  An analysis of medical marijuana use among adults in the United States indicates that more than 21 percent of medical marijuana users reside in states that have not legalized its use; suggesting that physicians might be recommending medical marijuana regardless of legalization in their respective states.