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A way to reduce addiction? Using electrical currents to stimulate the brain

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8min 52sec
Powder methamphetamine packaged in foil for an illegal street sale. Across the U.S., more and more opioid users report using methamphetamine as well as opioids — up from 19% in 2011 to 34% in 2017, according to one study.

As fatalities from fentanyl and methamphetamine overdoses grow in Colorado, one researcher is experimenting with a surgical procedure that involves stimulating the brain with electrical currents to see if it reduces the intensity of cravings.

Dr. Joseph Sakai, a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Anschutz Medical Campus, received a grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse to study Deep Brain Stimulation as a treatment for methamphetamine addiction. Unlike opioids, there aren't medications approved by FDA to treat methamphetamine use disorder, so Sakai said the research is critical.

The study will be small initially and may expand if the results show promise.