The search for a magic pill that will cure addiction continues, this time at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Dr. Bronwyn Kivell is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria and is looking into the efficacy of a number of anti-addiction compounds derived from salvia divinorum that could be the future base for a prescription that would cut down on the cravings that patients experience during detox, and thus help them fight relapse and the return of active addiction.
Cutting Back on Cravings
The focus of the new study is on the cravings that come with stimulant dependence upon drugs like crystal meth and cocaine. The hope is that by targeting a specific receptor in the brain, the drug will be able to change the patient’s perception of pleasure and reward. By manipulating this perspective in terms of perception of stimulant drugs and their effects, it is hoped that the patient will no longer be triggered to use the drug.
Using Salvia to Fight Crystal Meth Addiction
Salvia has been all over the media for the past year, indicted time and again by parents, medical professionals and law enforcement who have all seen the horrible effects of the hallucinogen in young people who use it. Currently unregulated in most states, salvia can cause users to do things they otherwise wouldn’t because their perception of reality is dangerously skewed.
Can this drug actually be helpful? That’s what the researchers are hoping to find out. Because hallucinogens affect levels of serotonin in the body, a chemical that dictates a person’s mood, Dr. Kivell says that salvia “has a unique structure and contains compounds that we think could have anti-addictive properties.”
Obstacles to Developing Treatments
The biggest obstacle to finding a medication that can help treat addiction? Side effects. Targeting this specific receptor can mean side effects that include nausea and depression.
Another obstacle? Learning more about the nature of addiction. Says Dr. Kivell: “Drug addiction research is exciting science and it’s also very relevant. Banning every mind-altering drug is not going to work so we need to find therapies to help people with their addiction. It’s a very complex field and there is a lot yet to understand about why some people who take drugs get addicted and others don’t.”
While some drugs of addiction are still under investigation in terms of finding medication to aid treatment, other drugs – like alcohol and opiates including heroin and prescription painkillers – already have pharmacological aids for rehab. If you would like to learn more about the medical detox options for your drug of choice, contact us at Axis today and find out what you need to know.