Washington State University researchers have found that treatments of pure oxygen in a high-pressure chamber can relieve the symptoms of opiate withdrawal.
Researchers gave morphine-addicted mice pure pressurized oxygen before they began withdrawal from the drug. The mice had far less severe withdrawal symptoms than addicted mice that did not receive the treatment.
The treated mice appeared “much calmer. You can tell the difference,” according to Ray Quock, a pharmacologist and Washington State University psychology professor.
Writing this month in the journal Brain Research, Quock and his colleagues say implications of the discovery are of “profound importance.” While current therapies for treating heroin addiction can provide relief from withdrawal, they themselves can be addictive. Moreover, the finding comes amid a national heroin epidemic in which use of the drug has doubled among young adults over the past decade, according to the US CDC.