“Exposure to ecstasy or cocaine during adolescence increases the “reinforcing effects” that make people vulnerable to developing an addiction. This is the main conclusion of a research team from the University of Valencia (UV), which has shown for the first time how these changes persist into adulthood.”
“Although MDMA and cocaine are psychoactive substances frequently used by teenagers, very few studies have been done to analyze the short and long-term consequences of joint exposure to these drugs”, Jos- Mi-arro, lead author of the study and coordinator of the Psychobiology of Drug Addiction group at the UV, tells SINC.
The study, published in the journal Addiction Biology, shows for the first time that exposure to these drugs during adolescence leads to long-lasting changes that increase the reinforcing power of ecstasy or MDMA, and which lasts until adulthood.
Mi-arro’s team studied the joint consumption of different drugs in order to carry out an in-depth examination of the effects of this interaction. The scientists administered MDMA, cocaine, and saline solution to mice over an eight-day period. “The animals exhibited an increase in vulnerability to re-establishing behavior (relapse), showing a preference for certain environments previously associated with the pleasant effects of the drug”, explains Mi-arro.
The results highlight that the so-called “reinforcing effects” are greater in adult mice treated with ecstasy or cocaine during adolescence than in adolescent mice not exposed to these drugs. “Adolescence is a critical stage in development, during which time drug consumption affects plastic cerebral processes in ways that cause changes that persist right through to adulthood”, adds the scientist.