New research has uncovered a drug that can ultimately stop cocaine and alcohol addiction. Hitoshi Morikawa, associate professor of neuroscience at the University of Texas at Austin, led a team of researchers through trials using lab rats and two small rooms for the rats to enter; one room being black, and the other white. Ingeniously, these rats were trained to be able to associate one of these two rooms with the use of a drug. The addicted rats almost always chose the room they associated with their addiction when given their choice of rooms. An antihypertensive drug used to control blood pressure, isradipine, was then injected into the rats preceding the trials. While on the first day the rats still preferred their addiction-related room, in the days to come they began to show no preference. This absence of preference was so evident that they actually showed even more indifference than a control group that was set up for this experiment. What this could mean is that not only were the rats’ addiction memories inhibited, but that they could have been erased altogether. This works because antihypertensive drugs block a certain ion channel that is present in not only heart and blood vessels, but wouldn’t you know it in brain cells too. In the reward learning section of the brain, our brain circuits are believed to be rearranged when addictive drugs come into play. Due to drugs’ euphoric tendencies, this makes a significant impact on that reward learning section. When met with isradipine, these brain cells reverse the brains rearranged brain circuits rendering the patient free of their addiction-ridden memories. Many used to believe that addiction was a choice and that most suffering from it just lacked the resolve to quit, but it has since been proven that addiction is a direct result from abnormal occurrences taking place in the brain. How Morikawa describes isradipine and its effect is that, “Addicts show up to the rehab center already addicted. Many addicts want to quit, but their brains are already conditioned. This drug might help the addicted brain become de-addicted.” Isradipine has already been considered safe for human use by the FDA and was approved. One possible negative side effect to persistent isradipine use is that it may lower your blood pressure significantly, due to the fact that was its original purpose to begin with. So when taking isradipine it may be required to taking additional medication to ensure that your blood pressure does not drop too low.