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Intravenous Substance Abuse

Intravenous Substance Abuse

Antidrug vaccines represent an exciting area of development in the pharmacological treatment of chemical dependency. In addition to the clinical trials being conducted on vaccines for cocaine and nicotine dependence, preclinical development of vaccines for methamphetamine and heroin is ongoing.

You are surprised when a patient of yours, a physician recovering from a substance abuse problem, tests positive for morphine. Do you believe his explanation of a false-positive result?

When Gordon R. Kelley, MD, was called to the ICU in Kansas City, Mo, to evaluate a deteriorating patient who had apparently overdosed on methadone, he was puzzled. CT and MRI scans revealed an obstructive hydrocephalus associated with abnormal signals throughout the cerebellum, basal ganglia, and hippocampi. He knew that these findings were not consistent with a typical cerebrovascular injury, but he and other treating physicians were unsure of the cause of the findings. Reaching for his handheld computer, he entered several key words into his favorite program, NERVLINE: cerebellum . . . heroin . . . leukoencephalopathy

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