Gambling addiction triggers the same brain areas as drug and alcohol cravings

Gambling addiction activates the same brain pathways as drug and alcohol cravings, suggests new research.

The study, by international scientists including researchers from Imperial College London, suggests targeting these brain pathways may lead to future treatments for the condition.

The findings, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, also suggest connections between the parts of the brain that control our impulses may be weakened in people with gambling addiction.

Full story of gambling addiction similar in brain to drugs at Science Daily

Prince’s Painkiller Addiction Hidden From His Closest Friends

Prince’s addiction to opioid painkillers, which has come to light since his death, was hidden from even some of his closest friends, The New York Times reports.

Prince had a reputation for leading a clean lifestyle, avoiding alcohol and marijuana and eating a vegan diet. While many people close to him say they never saw Prince take any pills, evidence is mounting that he had become dependent on painkillers, according to the newspaper.

His dependence on pain pills became so great that friends called Dr. Howard Kornfeld, a California specialist who treats people addicted to pain medication. Dr. Kornfeld sent his son Andrew to meet with Prince at his Minnesota home, but he arrived too late, according to William J. Mauzy, an attorney for the Kornfeld family.

Full story on Prince’s addiction at drugfree.org

Teens With Severe Alcohol and Drug Problems Often Lack Concern for Others: Study

Teens with severe drug and alcohol problems often have a low regard for others, a new study suggests. They have higher rates of driving under the influence and having unprotected sex with a history of sexually transmitted disease, The Huffington Post reports.

These teens are also less likely to volunteer their time helping others, the researchers report in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse. Helping others has been shown to help adult alcoholics stay sober, the article notes.

“Alcoholics have been described as a ‘tornado running through the lives of others,’” said lead author Maria Pagano, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. “Results from this study suggest that alcoholics lack awareness of others and how their actions impact others, rather than being sociopaths or intending to harm others.”

Full story of teens with alcohol and drug problems at drugfree.org

Researchers Study Wearable Device to Track Drug Addiction Relapses

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School are testing a wearable device that may help track drug addiction relapses.

The E4 Empatica wristband device measures temperature, heartbeat, motion and skin electrical conductance, according to Business Insider. The measurements are taken 30 times per second.

Knowing the time addicts tend to relapse, and the effect the relapse has on their bodies, can help doctors improve their methods of intervention, according to researcher Stephanie Carreiro. She has led two studies on the device.

Full story of the E4 Empatica wristband at drugfree.org

Senate Votes to Begin Considering Bill Targeting Drug Addiction

The U.S. Senate voted 89-0 on Monday to begin considering the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which would increase addiction treatment and prevention.

An amendment by Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a Democrat, which would provide $600 million in anti-drug spending, seems unlikely to pass, the Associated Pressreports. Republicans oppose the amendment, arguing Congress already has approved enough money for such programs that have not been spent.

CARA is sponsored by Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, a Democrat, and Rob Portman of Ohio, a Republican. The bill has bipartisan support and would expand prescription drug take-back programs and establish monitoring to prevent over-prescribing of opioid painkillers.

Full story of senate votes targeting drug addiction at drugfree.org