A peek into opioid users' brains as they try to quit

U.S. Air Force / Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner / MGN
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BETHESDA, Md. (AP) - Researchers are looking for people willing to have their brains scanned for science at the same time they're struggling to kick opioid addiction.

Opioid abuse changes how the brain works in ways that can persist even after people quit. Anti-addiction medicines are proven to help by easing cravings and withdrawal, but it's not clear if they speed healing of those brain circuits.

The National Institutes of Health aims to scan the brains of people in medication-based treatment to find out. Researchers also are looking for clues to help doctors choose which of the three anti-addiction medicines may be best for which patient.

Far too few of the estimated 2 million opioid users who need anti-addiction medicine get it, and the study's outcomes could help overcome some of the barriers.

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