Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Today's Heroin News

Here's a report from a study done at Brown University using lab rats indicating that cravings for opiates are created by physical remodeling of the brain, which happens as quickly as after 1 dose of morphine. The change not only happened quickly, but it persisted long after the administration of the drug. The article also describes a possible pharmaceutical development that could serve as an antidote to opiate addiction--however, this possibility is a double-edged sword in that it would preserve all the euphoria of opiates without the addictive qualities.

Update: Here's another link from Reuters that I find to be clearer on the same Brown University study.

I can relate to the frustration of the families described in this article from an Irish newspaper explaining various failures of the medical community to intervene in a few appalling situations involving addicts, including one instance where a child who drank her parents' methadone was released back into their care after treatment at a hospital and another situation where a 20 year old addict who was treated for kidney failure was released without follow up. After our little hospital adventure on Monday night, I am becoming more and more upset that no one saw his track marks or asked him about his using as a possible cause for his cellulitis. Maybe because we went to a hospital in a wealthy neighborhod to avoid the long lines at the hospital near our house, the staff isn't as alert to the possibility of addiction...however, it seems like when the nurse was tapping for a vein to inject him with morphine, she might have seen the track marks.

There's not much else new in the heroin news today. Maybe we'll have another fun big drug bust tomorrow!

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