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D.Understanding Environmental Cues in Drug Addiction

Narrator: This is Science Today. There have been a number of studies in drug treatment suggesting a link between environmental cues, or triggers, and drug craving. Rosanna Camarini, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, has been working on nerves in the brain involved with learning that share a common pathway with an early stage of addiction called sensitization.

Camarini: Sensitization is an increase in the initial effect of a drug after repeated administration of a given dose of these drugs of abuse.

Narrator: The hope is to develop a therapeutic agent that can block the pathways associated with a form of learning that links environmental cues with responsive behavior.

Camarini: Basically, you associate the drug with some environment cues. Then, when you paired the environment cues with the drug use, this environment stimuli can become a conditioned stimuli that elicit compensatory response - as craving, for example.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.