Racial inequities and addiction research
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
There is a significant need for research on the racial and ethnic inequities for substance use disorders, but there are also disparities present among those who conduct the research. The authors describe some of the efforts by NIDA to address the disparities among researchers, citing several programs including Diversity Scholars Network, Summer Research Internship Programs, Diversity Supplement Awards, and other funding opportunities. While some progress has been made in the demographic trends in funding over the last decade, the absolute number of applicants among racial and ethnic minorities remains low. One significant barrier may be relatively low salaries for post-doctoral positions that may prevent persons from lower socio-economic backgrounds from entering research careers. The authors suggest grantee institutions could offer additional support to address this barrier.
Epigenetic alterations identify a confluence of genetic vulnerabilities tied to opioid overdose
Neurons were obtained from the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of 51 opioid overdose cases and 51 sudden death controls and studied for epigenetic changes. While the specific epigenetic changes varied in the overdose cases, they all converged on 5 genes known to be linked to OUD. The authors state that these studies increase understanding of the role of genetic influences in opioid overdose.
Preliminary Evidence of the Association between Time on Buprenorphine and Cognitive Performance among Individuals with Opioid Use Disorder Maintained on Buprenorphine: A Pilot Study 🔓
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Participants (n=16) had been on buprenorphine maintenance treatment (BMT) for at least 30 days and had used an illicit drug in the past 30 days and were compared to matched healthy controls (n=23). The cognitive tests assessed response inhibition and attention by showing participants words, colors, and letters on a screen and asking participants to respond when specific patterns appeared. The BMT participants had more errors and slower reaction times than the controls. The BMT participants had an average of 315 days on buprenorphine and the length of time on buprenorphine was associated with fewer errors and faster reaction times. There was no correlation between illicit drug use or craving and errors or reaction time.