Buprenorphine, Heroin, and Methadone: Comparison of Relative’ Reinforcing Properties

Buprenorphine is a partial agonist of the morphine type. It is both a long-acting opiate antagonist, like naltrexone, and a potent opiate agonist with respect to analgesia, physiological and subjective reactions in man (). However, buprenorphine does not induce physical dependence in several species and appears to produce only minimal physical dependence in man (). Buprenorphine’s positive morphine-like agonist effects combined with its antagonist potency, low toxicity, and minimal capacity for producing physical dependence, suggested that it should be valuable for the treatment of opiate addiction (). Clinical studies have shown that buprenorphine maintenance (8 mg/ day s.c.) significantly suppressed self-administration of heroin (21 to 40.5 mg/day) by male heroin addicts over 10 days of heroin availability in comparison to buprenorphine placebo (). Buprenorphine (0.282 to 0.789 mg/kg/day i.v.) also significantly suppressed opiate self-administration in the rhesus monkey drug self-administration model (). Recent clinical studies have shown that sublingual administration of buprenorphine (1-2 mg) should be suitable for daily maintenance for the treatment of narcotic addiction (). The opiate agonist effects of Read more […]

Internal Stimulus Control and Subjective Effects of Drugs

For many years psychotropic drugs have been characterized and classified using methods designed to measure their subjective effects in humans (). This research approach has two principal purposes: 1) to investigate the efficacy of a drug in attenuating unwanted subjective states in patients (e.g., pain, anxiety, depression), 2) to investigate the abuse potential of new drugs by comparing their subjective effects in experienced drug abusers to those produced by known drugs of abuse. In regard to the latter, such methods have been used to determine whether there are any common subjective states produced by all drugs of abuse (e.g., euphoria). Systematic studies of subjective methods for drug classification have been conducted at the Addiction Research Center (ARC) in Lexington, Kentucky, now part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A major mission of the ARC has been to evaluate new analgesic compounds to determine whether they produced morphine-like effects. The subjective effects of morphine and related compounds were an important aspect of this evaluation. The research demonstrated that morphine and related narcotic analgesics produced a unique spectrum of subjective effects that can be reliably discriminated Read more […]

History of Drug Exposure as a Determinant of Drug Self-Administration

The purpose of this paper is to review how a drug’s effectiveness in initiating and maintaining self-administration can be influenced by a subject’s past experience with drugs. Drug self-administration by humans and laboratory animals is considered an instance of operant behavior (), controlled by the subject’s genetic constitution, past history, and the current circumstances of drug availability (of Skinner, 1938). The influence of history of drug exposure on current drug-maintained behavior may be controlled, in turn, by the particular drugs and doses employed and the conditions under which the drug is administered. This discussion will focus on the ways in which a history of drug exposure can control later drug self-administration in laboratory animals. Effects of history of drug exposure on initiation of drug self-administration In order to study drug self-administration by laboratory animals, an experimenter must set up a situation in which subjects are exposed to some contingency between the occurrence of a specific response and delivery of a particular drug. For many drugs, no explicit behavioral or pharmacologioal history is necessary for the drug to maintain behavior. In one initial study, for example, Read more […]

Club Drugs and Hallucinogens

The term club drugs comes from the association of several drugs with use in dance clubs or all night dance parties (“raves”). Popular club drugs are methamphetamine (see earlier section, “Amphetamine-Related Disorders”), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD; “acid”), 3,4-methylene-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; “Ecstasy” or “X”), gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB; “liquid X”), ketamine (“special K”), Rohypnol (“roofies”), and dextromethorphan (“DMX”) (). Emergency department visits due to MDMA and GHB use increased dramatically starting in the late 1990s. In the United States in 2002, emergency department visits for MDMA-related disorders numbered 4,026 and for GHB-related disorders numbered 3,330. Hallucinogenic drugs include LSD, mescaline, psilocybin, and synthetic derivatives such as 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA). The popularity of hallucinogens began to wane in the mid-1970s, but a modest resurgence in use occurred in the early 1990s, particularly among youth. MDMA (“Ecstasy”) MDMA, called “Ecstasy,” was promoted in the 1960s and 1970s as a “mood drug” without the distracting perceptual changes of other hallucinogens. MDMA is usually taken orally but can be taken in-tranasally (snorted). The purity of the drug in tablets Read more […]

The Resurgence of Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens are ancient drugs. They have been used for thousands of years in religious ceremonies, as sources of inspiration for artists, as medicines, and of course for some simply as a means of altering their perceptions of the physical world. In America, although the consumption of certain hallucinogens has been a part of religious practice among native peoples for many generations, to the general public, the decade of the 1960s is most closely linked with these drugs, popularly called psychedelics. During this decade, widespread experimentation with LSD, peyote, and “magic mushrooms” influenced many aspects of American pop culture. San Francisco emerged as the mecca for psychedelic “love-ins,” beatnik poetry readings, and music called acid rock and psychedelic rock. The image of long-haired hippies wearing beads and tie-dyed clothes and speaking in psychedelic-influenced language is etched in popular memory. Many people flocked to hear the guru of LSD, Timothy Leary, urge everyone in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to take the opportunity to experience hallucinogens’ weird effects firsthand. Thanks in part to the advice of Leary and others, the 1960s was a decade of unprecedented psychedelic drug use. The Read more […]

A Strange Class of Drugs

Hallucinogens are drugs that, when ingested, trigger a variety of strange and unpredictable sensations and experiences. Normally, such bizarre perceptions are experienced only in dreams, during periods of extreme emotional and physical stress, or as part of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia. Psychoactive Chemicals There are dozens of different types of hallucinogens, some of which are produced naturally by plants and some of which are synthesized in laboratories or other facilities. There are many different hallucinogens used today, but the best known are mescaline and psilocybin, which come from plants, and LSD, ecstasy, and ketamine, which are manufactured in laboratories. What these drugs have in common is an ability to alter the functioning of the brain in such a way as to either modify the user’s perceptions or create entirely artificial perceptions. Users of hallucinogens experience a range of odd sensations, from mild distortions of information affecting the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch to highly animated and dramatic sensory distortions — the hallucinations that give this class of drugs its name. Altered Perceptions Typically, users of hallucinogens characterize these sensations Read more […]

Rave Drugs

Just as LSD came to be associated in the public’s mind with the culture of the 1960s, two other hallucinogenic drugs, ecstasy and ketamine, have come to be associated with the so-called rave culture of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. These two drugs, which the DEA classifies as hallucinogens, are popular among those who attend impromptu wide-open parties called raves. “Ravers” who take ecstasy and ketamine claim that although these drugs produce perceptual distortions, the effects are mild enough to allow them to dance and converse with friends. Users of ecstasy and ketamine believe that within the rave environment these drugs enhance the experience of dancing to loud music and light shows as well as the enjoyment of being emotionally connected with the large numbers of people who attend raves. Raves Raves are cultural phenomena that have sprung up in nearly every urban setting in America and Europe. Hundreds of rave websites promote the parties and provide information about the rave culture, personal experiences, and rave paraphernalia. Initially, raves were known for their remote natural settings at beaches and wooded mountain retreats. They rarely started before midnight, and they frequently Read more […]

Physical Effects of Ketamine

As with other hallucinogens, ketamine’s psychological effects are unpredictable, being somewhat dependent on the individual user. The physical effects, however, are quite consistent. Ketamine begins to take effect about four to five minutes after injection or ten to fifteen minutes if swallowed in pill form. Initial effects include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, difficulty speaking, and loss of coordination. For all its similarities to other hallucinogens, in one way, ketamine is unique: If a large dose is taken, muscle rigidity, respiratory distress, paralysis, cardiac distress, coma, and even death can result. These dangerous effects of ketamine are rooted in the fact that the drug was originally developed in the 1960s as an anesthetic for use on small animals. At the time, veterinarians were experiencing a high rate of death among animals on which they were operating. For the most part, this was because available anesthetics often caused the animals to stop breathing. As a consequence, researchers began looking for drugs capable of anesthetizing small animals without impairing their respiratory systems. Ketamine was the product of this research, and in 1962 was introduced to veterinarians with Read more […]

Drug Info: Therapeutic use. Treatment. Mental and Physiological Effects. Rehab.

Entries are arranged alphabetically and follow a standardized format that allows to easily find information, and also facilitates comparisons of different drugs. Rubrics include: • Official names, Street names: This section lists the alternate names for a substance, including brand names, generic names, and chemical names for drugs, as well as common “street” names for drugs and other substances. • Drug classification: This section lists the type of drug and its classification and schedule by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, if applicable. • Key terms: This is a mini-glossary of terms in the entry that may be unfamiliar to students. • Overview: Historical background is included here, including the drug’s origin, development, and introduction to society. The current impact of the drug is discussed. • Chemical/organic composition: This section includes discussion on the various compositions of the drug, if it is found in pure or altered forms, and whether or not it is often mixed with other substances or drugs. • Ingestion methods: Availability of the drug or substance in different forms, for example, pill or powder, is discussed. • Therapeutic use: This section describes Read more […]

2C-B (Nexus): Reactions with other drugs or substances

2C-B (Nexus): Composition, Therapeutic use, Usage trends. Treatment and rehabilitation. 2C-B (Nexus) effects. Reactions with other drugs.