Breakthrough brings non-addictive opioid alternatives a step closer

The Guardian – The prospect of a non-addictive alternatives to morphine and other opioids has moved a step closer as scientists say they have cracked a key challenge in developing safe and effective substitute painkillers.

Overuse of highly addictive opioids has led to a health crisis across the world, especially in the US where more than 60,000 people died after overdoses in 2016 alone; president Donald Trump has declared the epidemic a public health emergency.

Researchers looking for alternatives examined a receptor protein that interacts with opioids in the brain, and have now revealed its structure as it binds to a molecule related to morphine. While the structure of the receptor had previously been reported, this is the first time scientists have unveiled its structure as it interacts with a drug.

Read more at The Guardian.

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