OxyContin abuse: Who are the users?

University of California, Los Angeles, Los √Āngeles, California, United States
American Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 13.56). 12/2007; 164(11):1634-6. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.07091393
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we reviewed data on drug use among high school students in Iran. Published epidemiological studies in international and domestic journals show that drug use/abuse is a serious mental health problem in Iran. There is cultural support for opium in Iran and also there is cultural tolerance for tobacco smoking, especially as water pipe smoking in Iranian families. Alcohol, opium and cannabis are the most frequently used illicit drugs, but there are new emerging problems with anabolic steroids, ecstasy and stimulant substances, such as crystal methamphetamine. There is a serious drug abuse problem among Iranian high school students. It could be due to role modeling by parents - mainly fathers - and also cultural tolerance of some substances. Early onset of tobacco smoking, with a daily use rate between 4.4 and 12.8% in high school students, is an important risk factor for other drug abuse problems. Use of all types of drugs, except prescription drugs, is more prevalent among boys. Alcohol is the most frequently abused substance, with a lifetime rate of at least 9.9%. Lifetime rates of opiate use - mostly opium - was between 1.2 and 8.6% in different parts of the country. As drug abuse is a frequent problem among Iranian high school students, it is necessary to design and implement drug prevention programs to protect them. Such programs, including life skills training and drug education, have been operating in recent years for Iranian students from kindergarten to the university level.
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    ABSTRACT: Opiates are among the most powerful analgesics and pain-relieving agents. However, they are potentially extremely addictive thereby limiting their medical use, making them exceedingly susceptible to abuse and adding to the global drug problem. It is believed that positive memories associated with the pleasurable effects of opiates and negative memories associated with dysphoria during opiate withdrawal contribute to compulsive opiate-seeking behavior characterizing addiction. There is a vast amount of available data regarding the neuroadaptations in response to opiates during opiate tolerance, dependence and withdrawal that contribute to opiate addiction, yet it is still a major challenge to identify the neurobiological adaptations that underlie the hallmarks of opiate addiction such as compulsive drug use, and relapse to drug seeking. Since the discovery of synaptic plasticity as the cellular correlate of learning and memory, strong overlaps between neural and cellular substrates of learning and addiction have been recognized. Consequently, the current notion of addiction supports the idea that aberrant forms of drug-induced synaptic plasticity and learning in the brain drive addictive behaviors. Here we discuss current progress on some of the recently identified forms of synaptic plasticity at excitatory and inhibitory synapses in opioid-sensitive areas of the brain that are targeted by opiates and other addictive drugs. The neuroadaptations involved in opiate tolerance, dependence and withdrawal will be re-visited since they share many features with synaptic learning mechanisms.
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