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NIDA Notes Articles: Opioids

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Drug Use and Its Consequences Increase Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults

July 2019
The spread of marijuana use and the opioid epidemic over the past 10 years have affected middle-aged and older Americans. In addition, prescription opioid and benzodiazepine misuse increased older adults’ risk of suicidal thoughts.

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Methadone Maintenance Treatment During Incarceration Has Long-Term Benefits

April 2019
Prisoners who received methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) during incarceration were more likely than prisoners who did not receive MMT to engage in the treatment after being released.

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Interim Buprenorphine Alleviates Psychiatric Symptoms in Waitlisted OUD Patients

March 2019
Interim treatment with buprenorphine significantly improved the psychiatric symptoms of people awaiting comprehensive treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Buprenorphine treatment, even without concurrent psychosocial counseling, may help patients with no, or delayed, access to comprehensive OUD treatment.

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A Promising Alternative to Opioid Pain Medications

February 2019
An experimental compound with a dual action at two opioid receptors may provide powerful pain relief without many of opioids' harmful side effects. En Español

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New Studies Clarify Risk Factors for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

January 2019
A recent NIDA-sponsored study found higher rates of NAS among males than among females. A second study found that, among infants whose mothers were treated with buprenorphine while pregnant, NAS was more severe among those whose mothers used other substances.

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Prescription Opioid Misuse Treatment Leverages Mindfulness To Amplify Natural Rewards

October 2018
Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) reduces opioid misuse among chronic pain patients. MORE shifts patients' attention away from drug cues and toward cues for natural rewards.

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As Opioid Use Disorders Increased, Prescriptions for Treatment Did Not Keep Pace

July 2018
Several effective medications are now available for treating opioid use disorder but many patients who could benefit do not receive them. Some patients who receive the medications face challenges to staying in treatment.

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In Animals, Opioid Combination Shows Promise for Safer Pain Relief

June 2018
In rats, the combination treatment of oxycodone/nalfurafine had lower levels of abuse liability and produced less respiratory depression than oxycodone alone.

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Fear of Distress Signals Risk for Opioid Misuse in Chronic Pain Patients

April 2018
Among patients with chronic pain, those who reported less ability to tolerate physical or emotional distress were more likely to misuse opioid analgesics.

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Deep Brain Stimulation Attenuates Rats’ Responses to Heroin

October 2017
High-frequency electrical stimulation of neurons deep in the brain can reduce rats’ relapse-like behavior and motivation to take heroin. The finding strengthens hope that deep brain stimulation might offer a new treatment alternative for opioid addiction, particularly for patients who have not benefited from other treatments.

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