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Cocaine is one of the most potent and addictive psychostimulants and there are no available drug therapies to treat cocaine addiction. Cocaine rapidly enters the brain by crossing the blood brain barrier and exerts its effects upon the central nervous system.
An estimated 2.2 million people in the United States were users of cocaine, according to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health prepared by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Other co-authors on the paper include Ashley L. St. John, Hae Woong Choi, Q. David Walker, Bruce Blough, Cynthia M. Kuhn and Soman N. Abraham.
A group of researchers at Duke and RTI International, which includes Staats, Blough, and Abraham, are also investigating how a vaccine approach could be used to treat opioid addiction.