A Common Pathway in the Brain That Enables Addictive Drugs to Hijack Natural Reward Processing Has Been Identified by Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai researchers, in collaboration with scientists at The Rockefeller University, have uncovered a mechanism in the brain that allows cocaine and morphine to take over natural reward processing systems.

Overdose deaths from fentanyl laced stimulants have risen 50-fold since 2010

New UCLA-led research has found that the proportion of US overdose deaths involving both fentanyl and stimulants has increased more than 50-fold since 2010, from 0.6% (235 deaths) in 2010 to 32.3% (34,429 deaths) in 2021. This rise in constitutes the ‘fourth wave’ in the US’s long-running opioid overdose crisis

Cocaine addiction makes the brain age faster, suggests study

A new study finds evidence from the DNA methylome that the biological age – different from the chronological age – of cells in Brodmann Area 9 of the prefrontal cortex might be greater in people with cocaine use disorder. This suggests that cocaine abuse makes these cells age faster according to the ‘epigenetic clock’. The authors also find differences in methylation in 20 genes, mainly involved in regulation of the activity of neurons and their connectivity. This post-mortem study is one of the first to directly look at the methylome of brain cells in human donors with cocaine use disorder, rather than in rodents.

UCLA researchers use artificial intelligence tools to speed critical information on drug overdose deaths

Fast data processing of overdose deaths, which have increased in recent years, is crucial to developing a rapid public health response. But the system now in place lacks precision and takes months. To correct that, UCLA researchers have developed an automated process that reduces data collection to a few weeks.

EMS Ketamine Use on Agitated Patients on Cocaine Increases Intubation 5.75-fold

Patients with excited delirium often are administered ketamine by EMS before arriving at the hospital. Many of them are intoxicated or are using illicit substances, which may alter the properties of ketamine.

Novel Anti-Craving Mechanism Discovered to Treat Cocaine Relapse

Cocaine continues to be one of the most commonly abused illicit drugs in the United States. Pre-clinical literature suggests that targeting glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors (GLP-1Rs) in the brain may represent a novel approach to treating cocaine use disorder. Specifically, GLP-1R agonists, which are FDA-approved for treating diabetes and obesity, have been shown to reduce voluntary drug taking and seeking in preclinical models of cocaine used disorder. However, the exact neural circuits and cell types that mediate the suppressive effects of GLP-1R agonists on cocaine-seeking behavior are mostly unknown.