Opening day addresses at the annual meeting.
(These are notes on research in progress, not findings written in stone).
--NIDA director Nora Volkow talked up buspirone (Buspar) as a treatment for cocaine addiction, and referred to favorable results on buspirone for cocaine self-administration in monkeys in a large clinical trial. Also, different vaccine strategies are in the works, including different pharmacological approaches to blocking specific dopamine transporter molecules.
--Edward Sellers of DL Global Partners, a drug research consulting firm, emphasized the importance of enzyme variations in smoking. Variants of the CYP2A6 enzyme of metabolization allow us to identify slow metabolizers who respond well to placebo or nicotine patch therapy, and other smokers who dont.
--Sherry McKee of the Yale University School of Medicine reminded everyone that cigarette smokerseven very light smoking chippers are far more likely to have concurrent drinking problems than non-smokers. Smoking helps drinkers drink more and longer. To demonstrate such potentiated reinforcement, she showed a delightful video of her child eating cookies, then craving a glass of milk, then succumbing to another round of cookie consumption
--Jack Henningfield of Pinney Associates, and former NIDA research chief, said that the reason the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) became an agency focused on one molecule is because Senator Harold Hughes, recovering alcoholic from Iowa, and Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, wanted it that way.
--David Penetar of Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital added more evidence of the link between alcohol and cigarettes, noting that 90 per cent of smokers drink, and that smokers are three times as likely to be alcoholics than non-smokers. He pointed to research documenting a disturbing increased desire to drink when wearing a nicotine patch. With a patch, subjects reported feeling the effects of alcohol sooner and longer.
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