Cocaine addiction: Scientists discover ‘back door’ into the brain

Individuals addicted to cocaine may have difficulty in controlling their addiction because of a previously-unknown ‘back door’ into the brain, circumventing their self-control, suggests a new study led by the University of Cambridge.

A second study from the team suggests that a drug used to treat paracetamol overdose may be able to help individuals who want to break their addiction and stop their damaging cocaine seeking habits.

Although both studies were carried out in rats, the researchers believe the findings will be relevant to humans.

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that can lead to addiction when taken repeatedly. Quitting can be extremely difficult for some people: around four in ten individuals who relapse report having experienced a craving for the drug – however, this means that six out of ten people have relapsed for reasons other than ‘needing’ the drug.

“Most people who use cocaine do so initially in search of a hedonic ‘high’,” explains Dr David Belin from the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge. “In some individuals, though, frequent use leads to addiction, where use of the drug is no longer voluntary, but ultimately becomes a compulsion. We wanted to understand why this should be the case.”

Drug-taking causes a release in the brain of the chemical dopamine, which helps provide the ‘high’ experienced by the user. Initially the drug taking is volitional – in other words, it is the individual’s choice to take the drug – but over time, this becomes habitual, beyond their control.

Previous research by Professor Barry Everitt from the Department of Psychology at Cambridge showed that when rats were allowed to self-administer cocaine, dopamine-related activity occurred initially in an area of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens, which plays a significant role driving ‘goal-directed’ behaviour, as the rats sought out the drug. However, if the rats were given cocaine over an extended period, this activity transferred to the dorsolateral striatum, which plays an important role in habitual behaviour, suggesting that the rats were no longer in control, but rather were responding automatically, having developed a drug-taking habit.

The brain mechanisms underlying the balance between goal-directed and habitual behaviour involves the prefrontal cortex, the brain region that orchestrates our behaviour. It was previously thought that this region was overwhelmed by stimuli associated with the drugs, or with the craving experienced during withdrawal; however, this does not easily explain why the majority of individuals relapsing to drug use did not experience any craving.

Chronic exposure to drugs alters the prefrontal cortex, but it also alters an area of the brain called the basolateral amygdala, which is associated with the link between a stimulus and an emotion. The basolateral amygdala stores the pleasurable memories associated with cocaine, but the pre-frontal cortex manipulates this information, helping an individual to weigh up whether or not to take the drug: if an addicted individual takes the drug, this activates mechanisms in the dorsal striatum.

However, in a study published in the journal Nature Communications, Dr Belin and Professor Everitt studied the brains of rats addicted to cocaine through self-administration of the drug and identified a previously unknown pathway within the brain that links impulse with habits.

The pathway links the basolateral amygdala indirectly with the dorsolateral striatum, circumventing the prefrontal cortex. This means that an addicted individual would not necessarily be aware of their desire to take the drug.

“We’ve always assumed that addiction occurs through a failure or our self-control, but now we know this is not necessarily the case,” explains Dr Belin. “We’ve found a back door directly to habitual behaviour.

“Drug addiction is mainly viewed as a psychiatric disorder, with treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy focused on restoring the ability of the prefrontal cortex to control the otherwise maladaptive drug use. But we’ve shown that the prefrontal cortex is not always aware of what is happening, suggesting these treatments may not always be effective.”

In a second study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, Dr Belin and colleagues showed that a drug used to treat paracetamol overdose may be able to help individuals addicted to cocaine overcome their addiction – provided the individual wants to quit.

The drug, N-acetylcysteine, had previously been shown in rat studies to prevent relapse. However, the drug later failed human clinical trials, though analysis suggested that while it did not lead addicted individuals to stop using cocaine, amongst those who were trying to abstain, it helped them refrain from taking the drug.

Dr Belin and colleagues used an experiment in which rats compulsively self-administered cocaine. They found that rats given N-acetylcysteine lost the motivation to self-administer cocaine more quickly than rats given a placebo. In fact, when they had stopped working for cocaine, they tended to relapse at a lower rate. N-acetylcysteine also increased the activity in the brain of a particular gene associated with plasticity – the ability of the brain to adapt and learn new skills.

“A hallmark of addiction is that the user continues to take the drug even in the face of negative consequences – such as on their health, their family and friends, their job, and so on,” says co-author Mickael Puaud from the Department of Pharmacology of the University of Cambridge. “Our study suggests that N-acetylcysteine, a drug that we know is well tolerated and safe, may help individuals who want to quit to do so.”

anonymous asked:

Take a mechanical pencil and take out the lead then tape the front and take out the eraser and put cocaine in the pencil and when you're ready to snort it untape it and the cocaine will come out of the front and you can snort a line then tape it back up.

thank u for this advice

Why the double standard?

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Re-watch tonight everyone?

8:30 est on Slack. Once more, with feeling! We’re starting from the very beginning with “Cocaine Blues”. I hope as many of you as possible can join us. [Maybe default to one ep. per week + convo after since we have an entire year to get through - maybe, hopefully, please.]

Meet you all in John Andrews bathroom!

anonymous asked:

Florida kilo's is all about selling and doing coke. I believe it bc she describes it really accurately

Anybody can describe cocaine accurately. Theres the internet lol

Lexa : Clarke ?

Clarke : What now ?

Lexa : I feel like a hero and you’re my cocaine.

Clarke : What the fuck Lexa ?!

Lexa : This was supposed to make you smile and maybe even flush, it should have been romantic.

Clarke : Wait… Don’t tell me anything. Raven ?

Lexa : She said cocaine was the same as heroine.

Clarke : I can’t believe she did this…

I once told someone that I’d never touch cocaine because that stuff can send you into a cardiac arrest and he legit turned around and said “oh no that’s just a myth” I was like mate are you kidding me I’ve met someone who spent a night in the emergency department because they had a heart attack after snorting cocaine. Some people will do anything for a high and a lot of them, including people you look up to, who you aspire to be like or who you think are your friends will not be aware of or tell you about the risks that drugs carry. Drugs can have fatal short-term complications just as they can have detrimental long-term effects. Don’t let people glamourise or romanticise that stuff or convince you something is safe because “it’s natural”. 

It’s sad to know that the person you love is suffering. When they can’t be happy, because people hate whatever they do with someone because their not with them. I love Dean Ambrose not because of his looks, but his personality and his history. It’s sad to know that he can’t be happy because his fans don’t support him with his decisions, For Example, Renee Young gets called things you should never call a woman just because she’s dating Dean and the fans and the fans parents are finding ways to bully Renee, but she takes it like a champ. He is getting bullied because they are saying that he’s a druggie and that he smokes cigarettes and takes cocaine, because a person can’t just eat healthy and go to the gym a little more apparently. Well you know what Dean Ambrose fans, STOP. Let this man be happy, he suffered from depression and did do drugs in the past. But he got over that, like I said, in the past. There’s is no reason to hate and bully a person you don’t even really know and the people around them. I love him ok, I will tell everyone I know that I love Dean Ambrose even though I don’t know him that well, and it breaks my heart to see one of the things that make me smile be depressed. Of course, he says he doesn’t listen to the fans all that much because he’s not on social media and when he’s in the ring he just wants a reaction, because it tells him that he’s doing his job right. I want him to leave a legacy in WWE, I want him to have a happy life and whatever decisions I will support because he’s a smart man and he knows what he’s doing. I will be happy for him no matter what he does because I love him and I’m not going to doubt his decisions, I just want him to be happy and if any of the other fans don’t want that too, then they aren’t true fans. He is the man I love and I want him to be happy. I don’t care what anyone has to say about that.

Sorry not sorry for the Johnny Cash spam. . Mostly pics I want to recreate with the loving help of my June, @floweredintomadness

There’s an open mic night next month and I plan on dressing in a black suit, introducing myself in classic Cash style “Hello I’m Johnny Cash” *plays music*
And I’m pretty sure if I can, I’ll play:

Cocaine Blues
Folsom Prison Blues
Ring Of Fire

In the order. See how the crowd takes it.

anonymous asked:

What do you make of the very persistent rumour in UK theatre circles, and mentioned on places like Data lounge, that BC is bipolar and that his occasional odd behaviour is caused by medication lapses and changes?

I am only answering this because I am the mother of Bipolar kids and mental illness runs in my family.  First of all, what persistent rumors?  I know of the Data Lounge post, but that’s about it.  And one person does not a “persistent” rumor make.  

I have already explained that I have been told by multiple sources that cocaine use was his problem.  Each Bipolar person can react a little differently during episodes.  However, his behavior is much more in line with someone who is unhappy with his lot in life and chose to “self medicate” with drugs to cope with his stressors (SH and HW).  

My big question is this:  what is your motivation with this ask?  Because it SOUNDS like you are trying to stigmatize mental illness and “hurt” Benedict in the process.  I am not the person to attempt that with.  


Through your lense I see the marble, floating and fleeting in the sky.

A cascade of stunning silver in a waterfall of passion.

Fiery, finery, laced in cocaine and no amount of shame can cover this up, and leave it to fate.

They’ve conspired and gathered at the top of the mountain, to steal the thunder clapping.

Like a tankard driving down a dirt road, throwing dust up on starving children.

Like guns, flung on the backs of men, marching towards another aimless battle, no one understands.

A Daisy grows in the middle of the cemented field. Its fight for life a struggling, grandeur.

One mud covered boot, snuffs the life out. The life is out.

Unrequited Love

The very essence of me

Is more addictive than

Crack Cocaine in the late 80’s.

Come on, come on Focus Baby,

Can’t you see the game I’m playin’?


You probably won’t realize

Until the high subsides

And you crash and burn

Beneath the lies,


Knowing you,

You’ll still try to seek Refuge Between my thighs.

You know I’m guaranteed to leave you feeling

Like a hollow shell

Heart cold as ice and black as hell.

Yet you still reminisce about my kiss

And the way it lingered on your lips.                  

Meaningless I love yous still echo in your brain

The thoughts of you and I

Are enough to drive you fucking insane

But to you,

The high is worth the pain.

I keep trying to save you

Although you’re making it hard to.

You were supposed to be strong.

Thought you knew better than other men,

But look at you feenin’

Tryna hit it again.

Life becomes cataclysmic

Each time you partake of me.


The way I’m killing you

Slowly rewriting your destiny;

Yet still you long for me,

Basking in the blissful misery.

I’m like that fire in your veins.

My empty promises

Fill you with pain,

Just temporary forevers

Masked by monumental pleasures

But without me you can’t hold it together?

Yeah, I see you’re hell bent on self-destruction

And my cautions to you are just mere interruptions

So, I’ll sedate you for one more night

Let you hold me close,

I just pray you open your eyes

Before you fucking overdose.