Since Nixon’s war on drugs in the 1970s, the tendency has been to persecute those with addictions instead of treating them. However, scientists have since established that substance abuse is a disease that causes specific changes in the brain and are discovering possible ways to treat those suffering from addictions. The addiction landscape is changing in a number of ways:
to Heal the Mind
Cocaine addiction started becoming prominent in the 1970s when drug cartels in South America began mass producing the drug and exporting it to the United States. Since then, the problem has progressively gotten worse. Today, over four million people in the U.S. are in need of treatment. Likewise, addiction to amphetamine is on the rise, with more than three million Americans suffering from them.
When cocaine and amphetamine enter the bloodstream, the drugs interfere with the brain’s dopamine transporter (DAT), the protein responsible for removing dopamine from the neural synapses and storing it back
into the nerve cells. By blocking the DAT, psychostimulants keep dopamine in our systems and produce intense feelings of euphoria.
There are nearly 8 million people in the United States in need of treatment for a psychostimulant addiction; however, there are no FDA approved drugs on the market. There is a need to develop a new, first-in-class treatment to help these people that have long been neglected.