The role of neuroscience in drug policy: Promises and prospects

Pablo A. Ormachea, Ricky R. Savjani, Richard De La Garza, II, David M. Eagleman


Crack cocaine use carries high costs for society, particularly in terms of increased crime. The tools of modern neuroscience may be able to reduce demand by addressing altered brain circuitry of individuals suffering from severe cocaine use disorder. Here, we review several rehabilitative strategies, including pharmacotherapies targeting neurotransmitter systems, immunotherapies that block cocaine from entering the central nervous system, brain stimulation to disrupt abnormal circuit function, and real-time feedback in neuroimaging to allow the strengthening of impulse control. These experimental treatments hold promise for treating severe cocaine use disorder, and such approaches could be employed as an alternative to widespread incarceration.

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