Topic: Research, Studies and Reports

Posts regarding research, studies, reports and thought leadership concerning addiction and recovery.

New study debunks “chemical imbalance” in the brain theory

August 2nd, 2022|

Depression Is Not Caused by Chemical Imbalance in the Brain - KEY POINTS

  • We don’t know how antidepressants work
  • There is no convincing evidence that depression is caused by serotonin abnormalities.
  • Many people take antidepressants believing their depression has a biochemical cause. Research does not support this belief.
  • The notion that antidepressants work by elevating serotonin levels is not supported by the evidence.

Congressional Watchdog Agency Preliminary Observations on the 2022 National Drug Control Strategy

July 27th, 2022|

What GAO Found Federal drug control efforts span a range of activities including prevention, treatment, interdiction, international operations, and law enforcement. These efforts represent a considerable federal investment. The federal drug control budget for fiscal year 2022 was over $39 billion and the federal government has enlisted more than a dozen agencies to address drug misuse and its effects. Our preliminary review of the available documents suggests that ONDCP included some but not all of the types of information in the strategy that is required by federal law. More information may be in the additional documents ONDCP plans to release later this year.

Study: Buprenorphine treatment in emergency rooms not sustained

July 22nd, 2022|


The majority of patients filling buprenorphine prescriptions written by emergency physicians do not subsequently fill prescriptions written by other clinicians, and the rates of subsequent prescriptions were lower after the declaration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. These findings highlight the need for a system of care that improves buprenorphine treatment continuity of care for patients with opioid use disorder from emergency settings to community treatment providers.

NIDA-funded Study Concludes More MAT is Needed

July 20th, 2022|

As reported at "Researchers from Columbia University analyzed 2019 national survey data on teens and adults who could benefit from medication for OUD. They found 57% received no treatment and 15% received only services without medication. Just 28% received medication such as methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone, HealthDay reports. “Our nationally representative research revealed critical gaps in treatment engagement and use of medication for opioid use disorder. Increased efforts to address barriers to care are critically needed,” study lead author Pia Mauro, Ph.D., said in a news release. “Evidence supporting the effectiveness of medication for opioid use disorder such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone is unequivocal, but most people who needed OUD treatment in the US did not receive this gold standard treatment.”

Brain lesions disrupting addiction map to a common human brain circuit

July 15th, 2022|

To better guide neuromodulation therapies, we need to know which brain regions are causally involved in addiction remission in human patients. A unique source of information that can help answer this question is cases where brain damage such as a stroke results in remission of addiction in a patient. These cases are valuable because they provide a causal link between therapeutic benefit and human neuroanatomy. For example, lesions involving the insula are more likely to disrupt nicotine addiction than lesions that spare the insula. However, lesions disrupting addiction have been reported outside the insula in many different brain locations, leaving localization unclear. Recently, it has been possible to link lesions in different brain locations to a common neuroanatomical substrate using the human connectome, a map of human brain connectivity. When lesions result in therapeutic benefit, this approach can identify effective therapeutic targets.

Buprenorphine abuse high in Scandinavian countries

July 13th, 2022|

BPN is abused more than cocaine, GHB, or ecstasy in Scandinavian countries, where it has gained great popularity as a street drug. Snorting or injecting the non-naloxone preparation is a common recreational activity in Europe, but it has not yet reached great proportions in the United States. But it's only a matter of time until U.S. addicts catch on. BPN cannot be detected by a urine drug screen, and I can envision it gaining use for affluent oxycodone addicts whose private physicians address addiction in a manner more civilized than the local methadone clinic.

Study of life course histories validates multiple pathways to recovery

July 8th, 2022|

About the Report

Addiction Policy Forum’s (APF) Patient Experiences Journey Map was developed through the input of patients in treatment and recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). The map underscores the obstacles and positive points patients encounter across seven distinct phases, from treatment to finding long-term, stable recovery.

The Addiction Policy Forum’s Patient Journey Map represents a common set of moments that individuals in treatment and recovery from a substance use disorder experience. While this map does not represent what happens to every individual who engages in treatment for addiction and recovery support, it highlights common elements, bright spots, and pain points in accessing care and finding and maintaining long-term recovery.


The Harms of Constructing Addiction as a Chronic, Relapsing Brain Disease

June 24th, 2022|

As an international network of historians and social scientists who study approaches to the management of drugs across time and place, we have noticed the effort to redefine addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease (CRBD). The CRBD model is promoted as a route to destigmatize addiction and to empower individuals to access treatment that works within that model’s terms.1 CRBD usefully recognizes that brain-based neural adaptations place individual brains in chronic states of readiness to relapse. But brains are housed inside of people. Substance use is biological, social, and political; our concepts and approaches to complex questions surrounding substance use must be, too.2,3 By overlooking the sociopolitical dynamics and inequalities bound up with substance use, the CRBD model can paradoxically further marginalize people who use drugs by positing them as neurobiologically incapable of agency or choice. We are concerned that the CRBD model paints drug users as individuals whose exclusion from social, economic, and political participation is justified by their biological flaws and damaged brains.

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