Study Looks at Experimental Drug to Treat Meth Addiction

molpsymethMethamphetamine is a powerful drug that is one of the most addictive and difficult to recover from. One of the toughest parts of trying to stop using meth is the cravings that develop after use stops. Studies have suggested that only about 12 percent of meth users fully overcome their addictions and make a complete recovery.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute may have recently discovered a way to eliminate the memory of the high of methamphetamine, making it possible to not crave the drug. They used a medication called Blebbistatin on meth-addicted rates, showing great promise. The rats who were administered the drug later showed no interest in their behavior, while the control group gathered around where the drug had previously been administered, waiting for their next fix.

Called Blebb for short, the drug targets the memories of the meth use experience and breaks down the components so that they are not so easily relived with such intensity. When meth users crave the drug, they often recall the high that they initially felt, which is attached to that memory. With Blebb, they are essentially able to erase the part of the memory associated with the high.

“It’s one of the many happy surprises of this project,” said study author Erica Young, “We fully expect that they wouldn’t relapse a year or more later, but we don’t know for sure yet.” The full results of the study were published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

After a surge in meth use and addiction in the U.S. about 20 years ago, it later declined significantly, which was attributed to laws pertaining to better regulation of meth precursors. Since then, meth has started to make another comeback, as the majority of the supply now comes from “superlabs” in Mexcio.