Medications that Help with Cocaine Addiction

A highly sensitive search strategy was used across several electronic databases, which yielded multiple studies providing data on anti-craving efficacy of pharmacotherapies. Further, 2 independent reviewers performed all stages of the review, with good interrater reliability. Acute administration of serotonergic (5HT) agonist meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (m-CCP) [39] led to a substantial reduction (20%) in craving. The 5HT agonist lorcaserin in a single dose showed mixed results; it had anti-craving effect only after placebo IV doses, but not after IV cocaine doses [58]. A total of 84 studies evaluated both craving and cocaine use as outcomes, 76% of them (64) presented a direct correlation between craving and cocaine use after the treatment. Combined, the studies included had 8137 participants; the smallest study had eight participants, whereas the largest had 358 participants.

From the moment a person takes the first dose of cocaine, the brain’s chemical processes go through a series of changes brought on by the drug’s ability to over-stimulate neurotransmitter secretions. Ongoing cocaine use all but exhausts the brain’s ability to regulate neurotransmitter levels on its own. In turn, cocaine’s effects take over where the brain’s normal processes leave off. McNutt decided to get clean about six years ago, not long after his mother died, because he no longer had a place to stay.

Behavioral Interventions

But it’s clear at least some forms of harm reduction are facing significant resistance — and many of the communities hardest-hit by the overdose crisis are among those pivoting fastest to the police-based approach. As the drug overdose crisis has worsened, the U.S. has generally warmed to harm reduction, the philosophy of helping people who use drugs stay safe while acknowledging they may be unable to stop using altogether. Nonetheless, addiction cocaine addiction treatment medicine and drug policy hasn’t changed much in the past year. Despite strong rhetoric from President Biden and lawmakers on Capitol Hill about tackling the opioid epidemic, Washington didn’t pass any major reforms to the addiction treatment system. About 110,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2023, about the same as in previous years. Fentanyl, the powerful synthetic opioid that now dominates the illicit drug market, remained the main culprit.

Reuptake is a process that normally modulates the action of the neurotransmitters by decreasing their concentration in the brain. When cocaine excessively increases the concentration of “feel good” neurotransmitters in the brain, the drug prolongs and amplifies the effects of these chemicals. However, lower-cost variants of VBRT using intermittent reinforcement, such as the “fishbowl” technique, have been shown to be effective (16). In the fishbowl technique, patients are rewarded for achieving abstinence by being allowed to draw from a fishbowl in which they are likely to not only achieve a smaller reward but also have a chance at receiving a much larger reward. Family members and loved ones may be the best able to pinpoint when someone has a problem with cocaine abuse.

What to do if Someone You Love is Abusing Cocaine

Withdrawal from different categories of drugs — such as depressants, stimulants or opioids — produces different side effects and requires different approaches. Detox may involve gradually reducing the dose of the drug or temporarily substituting other substances, such as methadone, buprenorphine, or a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. When people enter treatment, addiction has often caused serious consequences in their lives, possibly disrupting their health and how they function in their family lives, at work, and in the community. Additionally, medications are used to help people detoxify from drugs, although detoxification is not the same as treatment and is not sufficient to help a person recover.

cocaine addiction treatment

“The people who were so opposed to this because they still want to do it in an outpatient [facility], you wonder if they’ve ever actually lived with somebody who is seriously psychotic,” Cassidy said. Lawmakers are on the verge of allowing Medicaid to cover substance use treatment in the facilities. Everyone interviewed for this story said doing that kind of work in 2024, at a time when Congress and the electorate are increasingly polarized, will be nearly impossible — even if drug deaths keep rising. “Empathy for people in the clutch of addiction is noble, and finding ways to help them is a moral necessity,” Humphreys wrote, along with co-author Jonathan Caulkins from Carnegie Mellon University. NPR is not using Renae’s full name because some of what she does to help keep people alive, like supervising active drug use, is illegal.

Cocaine Health Effects

He has partnered with a few other groups, including the Westside Heroin Opioid Task Force, which several times a month distributes the overdose-reversing drug naloxone and, when funding is available, hands out food, too. Regular cocaine use often leads to increased tolerance, making it necessary for users to take more frequent or larger quantities of the substance to experience the desired effects. Additionally, 12-step program support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous can provide invaluable peer support, which is crucial to achieving lasting recovery. Peer support groups can also offer an opportunity to build a sober social network and learn coping strategies for dealing with cravings or other triggers.

  • A 2014 study found that 1.5 million people (12 and older) were past-month cocaine users—about 0.6 percent of the U.S. population.
  • There is a direct association between craving and cocaine use, underscoring craving as an important treatment target for promoting abstinence among persons with cocaine use disorder.
  • As much as you can, try to speak to them as though they are suffering from any other disease.
  • Future trials targeting craving as the main outcome should include these medications trying to replicate their preliminary positive results.
  • The drug sends high levels of dopamine, a natural chemical messenger in your body, into the parts of your brain that control pleasure.

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