substance abuse

Judge Reduces Johnson & Johnson Opioid Verdict by More Than $100 Million

A judge in Oklahoma has reduced a verdict against opioid maker Johnson & Johnson by more than $100 million, NPR reports. In August, state court Judge Thad Balkman ordered the company to pay $572 million over its role in Oklahoma’s opioid crisis. On Friday, Balkman cut that amount to $465 million. He…

Brain biomarker predicts compulsive drinking

Although alcohol use is ubiquitous in modern society, only a portion of individuals develop alcohol use disorders or addiction. Yet, scientists have not understood why some individuals are prone to develop drinking problems, while others are not. Now, Salk Institute researchers have discovered a brain circuit that controls alcohol drinking…

Surgeon General’s Marijuana Warning Omits Crucial Context

Speaking about a recent federal advisory on marijuana, Dr. Jerome Adams, the surgeon general, put a new spin on long-standing admonitions about the drug. “Marijuana has a unique impact on the developing brain. It can prime your brain for addiction to other substances,” Adams said at a Washington, D.C., substance abuse conference held late…

Targeting one gut bacterium may treat alcoholic liver disease

Precision targeting of bacteria in a different way to antibiotics shows promise as a treatment for alcoholic liver disease, according to new research in mice. A recent Nature study paper describes how an international team of scientists used bacteriophages, which are viruses that kill bacteria, to eradicate alcoholic liver disease in mice. They used…

‘Benzos’ Are Rising in Popularity Among Teens and They’re Getting Them On Social Media

Teen addiction to benzodiazepines, called “benzos” for short, is on the rise, and these drugs are easier for teens to access—and get addicted to—than most parents think. In fact, they can be as easy to order as direct-messaging a dealer on Instagram. “Benzodiazepines are one of the most commonly prescribed…