Kratom: Everything you need to know

Kratom is a plant that grows in Southeast Asia. Its leaves have psychotropic and opioid-like pain-relieving effects.

People living in areas where kratom grows sometimes use it to treat diarrhea, pain, cough, and fatigue.

People living in the United States have shown increasing interest in using this substance as an alternative to opioid pain relievers. Other people use kratom to experience the psychotropic effects, or the “high.”

While kratom is currently legal in the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Agency list it as a “Drug of Concern” due to several potential safety issues.

Full story at Medical News Today

Through my eyes: Addiction and recovery

Growing up, I had the picture-perfect family. I lived in a beautiful home in the suburbs of Detroit with my parents and younger brother. I had every opportunity in the world, attended private schools, and even made it onto the honor roll. I was involved in dance, theater, and many of the school sports teams.

Beneath the surface, however, I always felt a lot of pressure to be perfect.

I was the first of 12 grandchildren, and this led to me feeling that I had to be the best at everything I did, which gave me terrible anxiety from the early age of 5.

Full story at Medical News Today

Is amyl nitrite safe?

Poppers are a liquid drug that can give an instant high when inhaled. Other names for it are amyl nitrate, butyl nitrite, and liquid gold. The effects of poppers appear quickly and include dizziness, warm sensations, an increased heart rate, and headaches.

Poppers have a widespread recreational use. The drug can cause euphoric effects and act as a sex enhancer by relaxing the anal muscles.

Poppers are sometimes marketed as room deodorizers or leather cleaners, although people rarely use them for these purposes.

Full story at Medical News Today

Drugs of abuse: Identifying the addiction circuit

What happens in the brain of a compulsive drug user? What is the difference in brain function between an addict and a person who takes a drug in a controlled manner? In an attempt solve this puzzle, neurobiologists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland; have been looking at this difference in a rodent addiction model. They have discovered that the brain circuit connecting the decision-making region to the reward system is stronger in compulsive animals. The researchers also found that by decreasing the activity of this circuit, compulsive mice were able to regain control and that conversely, by stimulating the connection a mouse that initially remained in control became addicted. The work is published in this week’s edition of the journal Nature.

Addiction is an disease that develops in stages: it starts with the initial exposure to a substance followed by a phase where consumption remains controlled. Some individuals however will start using drugs compulsively in spite of the major negative effects it has on their lives (such as mounting debt, social isolation or incarceration). Clinical estimates suggest that only one person in five moves from controlled to compulsive use.

“We do not know why one person becomes addicted to drugs while another doesn’t,” begins Christian Lüscher, senior author and professor at the Departments of Basic and Clinical Neurosciences of the Faculty of Medicine. “But our study identifies the difference in brain function between the two behaviors.”

Full story at Science Daily

ABCD study completes enrollment, announces opportunities for scientific engagement

The National Institutes of Health announced today that enrollment for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is now complete and, in early 2019, scientists will have access to baseline data from all ABCD Study participants.

There are 11,874 youth, ages 9-10, participating in the study, including 2,100 young people who are twins or triplets. All will be followed through young adulthood.

The ABCD Study is a landmark study on brain development and child health that will increase understanding of environmental, social, genetic, and other biological factors that affect brain and cognitive development and can enhance or disrupt a young person’s life trajectory. Coordinated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the study is supported by eight other NIH institutes and offices, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal partners.

Full story at drugabuse.org