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Alcohol is a Gateway Drug for Cocaine

Feb 28, 2018  by 21bethere

Mark Gold MD – RiverMend Health
Alcohol to Cocaine: The study, led by Dr. Edmund Griffin Jr., shows that extended alcohol use serves as a primer in rodents to use cocaine but also more frequently and persistently following exposure to alcohol when compared to rodents that have never had alcohol. We have known since we discovered the reward path in 1954 that rats preferred an electrically induced dopamine high more than food or water, even when administered painful negative reinforcement in order to ingest a drug. But the mechanism by which animals exposed to ethanol increased persistent use of cocaine was not known. Griffin et al, (2017).
Why Does This Matter: Marijuana use appears to be related to both vaping and cigarette smoking and we have observed adult cocaine or opioid addicts in the clinical setting, of which, nearly all describe extensive use of marijuana preceding cocaine or opioid use. These findings all point to a shared mechanism of action for alcohol, tobacco smoking or vaping and marijuana use—thus increasing the likelihood of drug seeking to find a better—and higher—high via substances that increase dopamine faster and thus a more robust euphoric experience. The findings also reveal a novel mechanism by which environmental factors may be part of a unique epigenetic process, thereby altering the bio-environment of the reward system that increases vulnerability to cocaine addiction.
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← Alcohol-related disease claims 6000 lives Time’s Up For Big Alcohol →