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Addiction should be treated as a public health issue, National Drug Control Policy Director R. Gil Kerlikowske told participants of a conference on prescription drug abuse Thursday.

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The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy announced there has been a 41 percent decrease in worldwide cocaine production since 2001, and a 10 percent drop from the previous year.

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A single dose of Ritalin may help improve brain function in people addicted to cocaine, according to a small study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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A new study finds little evidence that mothers’ use of cocaine during pregnancy in the 1980s led to a proliferation of “crack babies,” the Associated Press reports.

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Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have identified a compound that stopped mice addicted to cocaine from wanting the drug. The compound has been proven safe for humans and is undergoing further animal testing, in preparation for possible clinical trials for people addicted to cocaine.

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An experimental anti-cocaine vaccine blocks the drug from reaching the brain, according to a study of non-human primates. Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York say human trials of the vaccine may begin within a year.

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Scientists have used laser lights to turn cocaine cravings off and on in a study of rats. The findings suggest new directions for treatment of addiction in humans, the researchers say.

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Officials in Bogota, Colombia are hoping to convince people addicted to a smokable type of cocaine called basuco to use marijuana instead, according to ABC News.

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Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, which have been using Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador as drug-trafficking transit points, have added Costa Rica, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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A California state senator has proposed legislation that would allow misdemeanor charges to be filed in cases of simple possession of heroin and cocaine, instead of felony charges.

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