Another Effective Treatment for Drug Addiction Discovered by the University of Pennsylvania

Over the past 25 years, the death rate in the United States from drug overdose has been increasing and has even become a factor in a certain reduction in overall life expectancy. During the pandemic, the problem of drug addiction, which only worsened, took a back seat, and this crisis continues in the shadow of more global events. To be sure, increased drug use and excessive alcohol consumption are associated with stress, fear, and uncertainty during the pandemic. And this is not just a household observation. Scientific studies conducted after such cataclysms as hurricanes, floods, fires, and earthquakes have found that people, after major shocks, consume more alcohol or drugs to cope with stress.

According to statistics, during the coronavirus pandemic, the death rate from drug overdose has increased by almost 30%. Last year, 93,000 people died of an overdose in the USA. This is the largest number of drug-related deaths in one year in US history.

Most drug addicts in the US die from the use of stimulants such as methamphetamine and opioids such as heroin and synthetic opioids, the most dangerous of which is fentanyl. It is deeply embedded in the illegal drug supply and 70% of cocaine overdose deaths and 50% of methamphetamine overdose deaths are also related to it.

One of the most effective states to fight drug addiction is Pennsylvania. Not only will you find the best rehabs in PA, but also the University of Pennsylvania often conducts and publishes various research on drug addiction and treatment.

The study 

One of the recent studies showed that drugs already approved for the treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes could help in the treatment of cocaine addiction. This is reported by Medical News Today with reference to Neuropsychopharmacology.

According to the University of Pennsylvania, exendin-4 reduces drug cravings. Thus, rodents with developed drug addiction were less likely to try to find cocaine when this drug was administered.

According to experts, the main problem of drug addiction treatment is that a person returns to drugs (this happens in 40-60% of cases).

Exendin-4 mimics a hormone that lowers blood sugar and reduces food intake. It belongs to a class of agents known as glucagon-like peptide 1 agonists. These drugs work by stimulating peptide receptors. Receptors are present in the brain and gastrointestinal tract.

Thanks to work with rodents, scientists managed to discover the previously unknown role of receptors from the point of view of drug addicts’ behavior (searching for the drug itself). Animals resisted the urge to find the drug, despite the presence of external stimuli and associative cues, if they were given exendin-4.

Drug addiction and best rehabs in Pennsylvania

Despite the fact that there are a lot of best drug rehab centers in Pennsylvania, the state is among some of the highest drug and alcohol consumption in the U.S. Moreover, Pennsylvania is in the top 20 states with the heaviest drinking rates. In Pennsylvania, 28% of adults are binge drinkers, 60% of adults drink alcohol, and 4% of adults have alcoholism and need treatment at the best drug rehabs in Pennsylvania.

That is why there are a lot of facilities that provide the best recovery care. Among the best rehab centers in Pennsylvania, there are: 

  • White Deer Run, Allenwood, PA
  • Bowling Green Brandywine Treatment Center, Kennett Square, PA
  • Fairmount Behavioral Health System, Philadelphia, PA
  • Bradford Recovery Center, Millerton, PA
  • Greenbriar Treatment Center, Washington, PA
  • Abraxas, Marienville, PA
  • DreamLife Recovery, Donegal, PA

Drug policy in the US

Former President Trump, who cannot be called a great philanthropist, never tired of showing his support for Americans with drug addiction. He even established National Substance Abuse Awareness Month. During the Trump era, the production of overdose drugs — Narcan and Naloxone — was expanded and information and educational campaigns to combat opioid abuse among youth were intensified. For a while, these measures showed success, but small gains were lost with the onset of the pandemic.

Biden got into a more difficult situation, but his administration’s approach to the problem of drug addiction differs from Trump’s in details, but not in substance. Biden’s program, like Trump’s, focuses on education and life-saving efforts for drug addicts. Biden’s current plan called “Saving America” includes $1.5 billion. for the treatment of disorders related to the use of psychoactive substances. But unlike Trump, the Biden administration supports a controversial method known as “harm reduction.” Instead of helping drug addicts achieve abstinence, the main goal of this method is to reduce the risk of death or contracting infectious diseases. So Congress allocated 30 million dollars for the first time. specifically on programs to distribute disposable syringes designed to protect users from diseases such as HIV, and on drug test strips for the presence of fentanyl. (Fentanyl paper test strips can detect the presence of fentanyl in any type of drug: pill, powder, or injection.)