Slaughter announces funding for new research in the fight against opioids

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - The opioid crisis isn't slowing down and it's happening right in our backyard. 

In just the first six weeks of 2018, Monroe County has seen 112 overdoses and 17 deaths. 

On Monday, Congresswoman Louis Slaughter announced a federal award for new research in the fight against opioids. 

Slaughter says the National Institute of Drug Abuse has given a lab at URMC $200,000 to research a pill that may decrease the desire for opioids. 

Researchers say they're hopeful the pill would decrease dopamine levels in the brain. 

They say currently the drugs on the market act as opiate receptors and this new pull could be a major breakthrough. 

"What I'm looking at is a hormone that has been shown in animals which has been shown to reduce a preference for sweet and alcohol by decreasing dopamine levels," said Dr. Jean Bidlack, investigator at Bidlack Lab. "This is a potential new therapy for treating opiate addiction and this funding gives us the opportunity to say will it work won't it work?"

The grant starts March 1, so they'll be able to start testing in mice around then. They're looking at a five year time frame for the research.

Slaughter also said the bipartisan budget agreement passing will keep community health centers like Jordan Health open for two more years. 

Without this agreement, Slaughter said community health centers would have lost 70% of their funding.


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