Smart Talk

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Host: Scott LaMar

Opiate Addiction and the Brain

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Apr 18, 2017 8:00 PM
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Professionals treating substance addiction will say the easy part is getting the patient detoxified.  Keeping the addict clean is the hard part.  Dr. Scott Bunce is an associate professor of psychiatry at the Penn State Hershey Neuroscience Institute at the Penn State University College of Medicine.

"We've been able to safely withdraw people from substances of abuse since the 1980's. The real problem lies in the weeks after residential treatment when they go back to their homes and neighborhoods and have a high possibility of relapsing," he says.

Bunce is currently researching physiological markers to detect an opiate addict's predilection for relapse.  The idea is to administer a simple test - something akin to a quick blood pressure cuff, a thermometer or a basic blood test.  The test would indicate that the addict has a predisposition to use drugs after treatment.

It is a complex proposal, questioning a person's ability to grasp their own free will versus congenital programming driving a person towards substance abuse.  It is an important paradigm to define in this era of opiate abuse; Dr. Bunce will join Smart Talk to discuss his research and how it can help with opiate abuse treatment in Pennsylvania.

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Dr. Scott Bunce - Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Penn State College of Medicine

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- What do you think about Vivatrol for opioid and alcohol cravings?  Any good results?     -  Scott

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