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NIH study examines nicotine as a gateway drug
Date:11/2/2011

cocaine prior to smoking.

These findings in mice suggest that if nicotine has similar effects in humans, effective smoking prevention efforts would not only prevent the negative health consequences associated with smoking but could also decrease the risk of progression and addiction to cocaine and possibly other illicit drug use. In the meantime, this mouse model provides a new mechanism to study the gateway theory from a biological perspective.

"Now that we have a mouse model of the actions of nicotine as a gateway drug this will allow us to explore the molecular mechanisms by which alcohol and marijuana might act as gateway drugs," said Eric Kandel, M.D., of Columbia University Medical Center and a senior author of the study. "In particular, we would be interested in knowing if there is a single, common mechanism for all gateway drugs or if each drug utilizes a distinct mechanism."


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Contact: NIDA Press Team
media@nida.nih.gov
301-443-6245
NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse
Source:Eurekalert

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