Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Environment May Increase Drug Abuse

Date:
September 5, 2000
Source:
Texas A&M University
Summary:
When it comes to drug addiction and abuse, a Texas A&M University psychologist believes certain populations may be at more of a risk than others because of what, up until now, has remained an unknown factor - chemicals in the environment.

COLLEGE STATION, August 22 - When it comes to drug addiction and abuse, a Texas A&M University psychologist believes certain populations may be at more of a risk than others because of what, up until now, has remained an unknown factor - chemicals in the environment.

"We have to say it's possible that a chemical environment may actually increase drug abuse," says Texas A&M psychologist Jack Nation, who for the last 15 years has studied the effects of environmental contaminants on drug use.

"There's an entire chemical soup we all live in that could interact with drugs that have abuse liability," Nation says. "No one has ever looked at that. We're the only lab in the world that systematically looks at the effects of environmental pollution on drug abuse, using animal models."

The contaminants Nations studies are lead and cadmium.

Through the use of an animal model, Nation has determined both of these environmental contaminants act as antagonists to drugs such as cocaine and alcohol. In other words, they create a tolerance for the drugs that results in the user having to take more of the drug to reach the level he or she is seeking.

Nation says research indicates the threat of lead poisoning is especially great among economically disadvantaged, nonwhite and inner-city children. A 1999 report places the at-risk figure for children suffering from excessive lead exposure at 70 percent in major metropolitan areas of the United States, he notes.

Cadmium naturally accrues in tobacco products at a point where it is toxic to humans, and it is present in all tobacco products. Nation notes that almost 20 percent of North American women who are pregnant smoke and transfer cadmium to their babies.

"What we are seeing is a relatively long lasting and potentially non-reversible effect in adulthood," he says. "Smoking during pregnancy could put that child at risk for drug abuse later in life."

Nation emphasizes that these contaminants don't cause drug abuse, but instead, they act to augment drug abuse patterns.

Nation's animal model has produced some alarming results.

Rats exposed to lead only during gestation have developed long-term side effects later in life despite having their tissues showing no presence of lead contamination at this time.

"Here's an animal that has no detectable metal in its tissues, but what we see are dramatic changes in terms of their reactivity to cocaine and opiates like morphine," Nation explains. "We're seeing, generally, this pattern of antagonism of the dopamine system."

Nation notes there is a large amount of literature that documents the validity of animal models as models for human substance abuse.

"Animals - rats and primates - will self-administer and abuse pretty much the same drugs that humans do, " he says.

"Some populations that are at risk for lead or cadmium poisoning and drug abuse are fighting biological as well as psychosocial imperatives and if these contaminants are promoting drug use," Nation says, "then you have a relatively high public health risk issue."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas A&M University. "Environment May Increase Drug Abuse." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000904124045.htm>.
Texas A&M University. (2000, September 5). Environment May Increase Drug Abuse. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000904124045.htm
Texas A&M University. "Environment May Increase Drug Abuse." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000904124045.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins