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Addiction in the News Round-up

April 13, 2009
by Daniel Guarnera
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Thanks to NAADAC Govt. Relations Intern Mara Gray for guest-blogging this article!

There is so much media coverage of addiction-related stories that it can be difficult to keep up. But these stories, one by one, help contribute to the way that the public understands the disease of addiction. Here are some notable articles from the past few weeks that you might have missed but are worth checking out:

Alcoholism Drug Not an Easy Sell
By Todd Wallack
The Boston Globe
March 23, 2009

Summary:


For over 60 years, drug companies have been searching for ways to relieve alcohol addiction. So far, none have seen widespread success. Alkermes Inc. believes it has found a solution though in the form of Vivitrol, an injection drug that satiates drug cravings. As opposed to other FDA-approved anti-alcohol drugs, Vivitrol is administered only once a month, which helps alleviate concerns about treatment adherence. However, the drug does not alleviate any financial burdens – it costs around $800 a month, or $9,600 a year. Many doctors and those who have received this drug therapy are strong proponents of it, but others warn that it may not be for everyone. As Dr. Kim Davis put it, “The irony is that [alcohol abusers] are willing to take drugs that harm them, but they have all sorts of fears about drugs that might help them.” There are other physicians who are worried about replacing one drug habit with another, although Vivitrol has not been found to have any addictive qualities. Alkermes Inc. has made it clear that they will continue to work towards encouraging the use of Vivitrol in clinically appropriate situations.

Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory
Benedict Carey
The New York Times
April 5, 2009

Summary:


Some recent neurology research has focused on a certain molecule of the brain – a molecule that allows us to retain memories. More importantly, they have been experimenting with a drug that can block a substance the brain uses to retain memories, and therefore prevent or possibly remove memories themselves. With use of this drug, people afflicted with addiction would be able to “clear” their memories of drug use and potentially erase them from their behavioral repertoire. However, as the article asks, could this possibly promote more experimental use by those already prone to drug addiction? If it is easy to forget, will we be inclined to experiment again? Will we be more likely to try new drugs if we know addiction can easily be avoided? The door always swings both ways when tampering with memory. As research progresses in this area, we will see whether memory adjustment has any future in addiction treatment.

Beyond Addiction: Hurting at Home
William Moyers
Bend Weekly
April 6, 2009

Summary:

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Daniel Guarnera

Daniel Guarnera is the Director of Government Relations for NAADAC, The Association for...