Future Painkillers Might Be Made From Yeast, Not Poppies

Ever since humans first noticed the mind-altering effects of poppies, we’ve planted vast fields of the flowers to make drugs that range from the legal (morphine) to the illegal (heroin). Our strongest legitimate painkillers still originate in these large, unwieldy, and pesky-to-regulate poppy fields. But what if we could just brew vats of morphine-making yeast?

Drone Crashes While Smuggling Weed Into US Prison

These days, there’s no need to stuff drugs up your butt to get them into a prison — you can just drop them in from your trusty drone. Unless you crash it, that is.

The Tiniest Propeller Ever Can Sneak Between Cells

Researchers want to use microscopic nanobots for drug delivery and other tasks inside the human body, but there are still places the micro machines can’t get. Now, scientists have made the smallest bot yet, a magnet-guided corkscrew so tiny, it can sneak through the pores in human connective tissue.

Are Smart Drugs Really That Smart?

Are we asking the right questions about smart drugs? Marek Kohn looks at what they can do for us — and what they can’t.

Paracetamol Might Affect Pain Receptors The Same Way Marijuana Does

Video: Paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen) is one of the most popular pain relievers in the world, but no one seems to know why it actually works. There are some theories though; some researchers say Acetaminophen affects some pain receptors the same way marijuana does.

US Drug Administration Wants Companies To Tweet Side Effects

Realising that social media isn’t a passing fad, the Food and Drug Administration has finally laid out its highly anticipated guidelines for how US drug companies should act on the internet. The Wall Street Journal reports the agency has laid out tentative regulations, including a proposed rule that if a drug’s side effects and other information can’t be relayed in a single tweet, firms should “reconsider using Twitter for the intended promotional message”.

A Mutant Cocaine-Eating Enzyme Could Cure Addiction And Overdoses

Ready for some weird science? Certain bacteria found in the dirt near coca plants are powered by an enzyme that eats cocaine. Unfortunately, the enzyme breaks down quickly at body temperature, meaning it can’t be used to treat human overdoses or addiction. Now, though, researchers have designed a version that can survive body temps — and more than doubles its cocaine appetite.

How Scientists Are Finding New Ways To Treat Pain

Pain medication is many, varied, confusing and, on occasion, ineffective — which is why researchers around the world dedicate their lives to working out how to treat our discomfort better. This documentary takes a close look at where new drugs come from and how they might help us all in the future.

Real-Time Waste Water Analysis Can Show Who's On What Drugs And Where

After a hard night of partying, the metabolised chemical remnants of whatever you snorted, smoked, sucked or injected are expelled through your urine. While authorities have long been able to detect these metabolites through direct urine tests, monitoring drug use in any given geographic region has been far less precise — until now, that is.

Put Down The Smart Drugs: Cognitive Enhancement Is Ethically Risky Business

Cognitive performance enhancers promise to deliver a better version of ourselves: smarter, more alert and more mentally agile. But what if such enhancement was no longer a personal choice but a socially and legally enforced responsibility?

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