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Chickens and eggs: Separating cause and effect in drug addiction

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Charlie, white, snow, toot – once the drug of the rich and famous, cocaine is now the most widely-used illicit stimulant in Europe. These estimates are confirmed by Home Office figures indicating that cocaine has become the second most popular drug among young people in England and Wales. However, not everyone who occasionally has a line of cocaine at a party develops dependence. But for those who do make the transition from recreational use to addiction, the impact on health, social and work life are enormous. Whilst treatment demand for cocaine has been steadily growing throughout Europe, there is currently no medically proven pharmacological treatment available to support cocaine users on their road to recovery. In light of the high relapse rate in cocaine-dependence (approximately 40%), more effective treatment interventions for patients affected by stimulant drug dependence are badly needed. In my talk today, I will give an overview of my work over the past few years in Cambridge on how personality traits may contribute to the development of addiction, and how they may be used as targets for addiction recovery.

This talk is part of the Chaucer Club series.

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