Naloxone Can Treat Cocaine and Heroin Addiction

May 1, 2015 by  
Filed under Treatment and Recovery News


naloxone molecular diagramThe search continues for ways to prevent rampant spread of addiction. Since treatment protocols are only somewhat effective, there is a search for replacement or substitute drugs that can interfere with the progression of addiction in those who use drugs.

Drugs can either interfere with the chemical reaction of the body to other substances of abuse or create adverse effects like Antabuse, which is used to stop drinking behaviors by making the drinker sick if they’re on the drug.

Researchers have discovered one drug, Naloxone, which has shown promise for heroin addicts. Recently, drug researchers at both the University of Adelaide, South Australia and University of Colorado in Boulder have shown interesting links in the use of Naloxone.

How Naxolene Works

Previously seen to be effective in blocking the use of a brain receptor believed to be linked in addiction to heroin, Naloxone has shown the same benefits when used to block the addictive properties of cocaine.

This receptor, known to scientists as Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is an immune receptor in the brain that responds to cocaine to produce a pro-inflammatory response. This response is considered a vital link in the reward system underlying formation of the addictive process.

In previous testing, scientists proved that using the drug Naloxone, along with heroin or cocaine, disrupts the process of binding the drug(s) to the receptor, thus ceasing pleasurable sensations normally caused by the drug. Without these pleasurable sensations, the continued use of the drug has no pleasurable effect on the brain of the addict.

The User’s Brain

The first response that a heroin or cocaine user feels is a sense of well-being and pleasure, often called “a rush.” This rush is created, according to the research, in the receptor known as TLR4 which is known to play a key part in creating addiction to the drug.

The user continues to seek the rush and drug use escalates as more and more of the drug is required to achieve the same effect. This is the process of addiction called tolerance. When there is no pleasure involved, it is believed that the user will stop using the drug.

Making Progress

Discovering that the same receptor is responsible for the rush received with cocaine is a big step toward testing Naloxone for further use in substances of addiction, such as methamphetamine, alcohol and others. We can perhaps speculate that addiction has a common mental component that is as simple as overusing the TLR4 receptor in the brain of a user. We might even go so far as to wonder if this is the key to finding a common solution to stopping the addictive properties of all drugs on the brains of users who have this common factor for addiction.


Medical News Finding new ways to treat cocaine dependence could help with all addictions. Retrieved online from:

Kelly McClanahan has an MSW in clinical social work and a CATC IV in addictions counseling. She teaches meditation and mindfulness, specializing in addiction and trauma. She also leads workshops and seminars on treatment of addictive disorders and stress reduction.

Devil’s Breath: What Is It and Should We Be Afraid?


Devil's Breath Can Be Confused with Cocaine

Devil’s Breath Can Be Confused with Cocaine

Scopolamine, nicknamed Devil’s Breath, is a Colombian drug known for leaving users or victims in a zombie-like trance and taking away all free-will, temporarily blocking memory receptors in the brain. The drug can take effect while being airborne, ingested by mouth, or absorbed through pores in the skin–all of which make Devil’s Breath a drug to fear.

How Scopolamine Is Administered

Scopolamine is feared and revered in Colombia because of how easy it is to administer to a victim. The most common scheme is to walk down the street, blow the dust in a pedestrian’s face, follow the victim (for approximately five minutes), and then the criminal will take control of the person for his/her own wants and needs. Most people in Colombia go so far as to steer clear of this plant because they are afraid that they will be drugged by walking beside or underneath the flowers.

What Happens on Devil’s Breath?

Victims have been made to empty their bank accounts, perform sexual acts, give up organs, and other abhorrent acts that would normally go against their morals and beliefs. When the drug takes effect, people are easily coerced to do things that they normally would not do. In some instances, people have gone so far as to have victims rape and murder other victims.

Devil’s Breath can be easily camouflaged in another common drug–cocaine. After being ground up, Devil’s Breath (scopolamine) takes on the same color and texture as cocaine, and the two can easily be confused. The white powdery substance is typically stored in small bags or envelopes so that the dealer does not have to physically touch it.

How Devil’s Breath Affects the United States

Devil’s Breath may be a new topic of discussion in the media, but the drug has been around for years. It has even been said that it is more feared than Anthrax. While there are many people who believe that Colombians will keep the drug local, there have been certain instances where people have smuggled some Devil’s Breath across the border in an attempt to test it themselves. Since the United States’ main importer of cocaine is Colombia, Devil’s Breath is definitely a drug to be on the watch for.


Cryste Harvey has battled with addiction since the day she was born. From family issues to personal issues, she has seen many things, but she has taken the leap to be sober and to help inform others of the hardships, trials and tribulations associated with addiction. She is now a mother and wife, and she has vowed to help others on their road to recovery. With little to no help from her parents and siblings, she was the first person in her family to graduate high school and then continue on to college. She is currently working towards an English degree, and she hopes to become a published author.




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