According to Landmark Recovery, Oklahoma is one of the states that has been the most severely affected by the opioid crisis, one of the drugs being methamphetamine.
Scientists in Oklahoma have made a new discovery that they hope will pave the way to preventing drug abuse relapse.
Mike Beckstead, who is leading research at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, says that when a person has a stress-induced drug relapse of meth and cocaine there are chemical changes in the brain.
Those changes have been a mystery, but new research may provide a solution.
"What we are thinking now is that this receptor on the astrocytes, not on the neuron, may be the link that we have been looking for between the stress response and the drug addiction relapse," says Beckstead.
Beckstead says that right now the only treatment options available are for drug overdoses.
For example, Narcan, which can help people who have overdosed on opioids.
He says there is no therapeutic medication that people can take that treats the addictive process itself. Behavioral interventions, clinics and rehab are best options available right now.
That is why researchers are trying to develop something new.
If something is put on the market to help prevent a drug relapse, he says that person would also have to want to make a change.
"I think the same would be true for a drug, if we could establish a pill someone could take, it would have to work in concert with someone wanting to stop and some behavioral therapy going on at the same time," Beckstead says.
The next step is further testing on animals, and then after that they will begin testing this research on people and develop a therapeutic.
To learn more about the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, click here.