A new study suggests restrictions put into place by the U.S. government on a chemical needed to produce cocaine have led to a reduced use of the drug in the past decade. Mexican police action against a company importing pseudoephedrine, which is used to make meth, also contributed to the decline. The U.S. government cracked down on the availability of the chemical used in making cocaine, sodium permanganate, in 2006, UPI reports. Since then, the number of people using cocaine in the past year decreased by 1.9 million people, or 32 percent. After the Mexican government closed down a company accused of importing more than 60 tons of pseudoephedrine, the supply of meth was reduced significantly, researchers report in the journal Addiction . The researchers reported a 35 percent decrease in past-year use of meth after that action.
Cocaine and methamphetamine may impair a person’s moral judgment, suggests new research conducted on prison inmates. The drugs damage the parts of the brain involved in moral processing and evaluating emotions, according to U.S. News & World Report . The study included 131 prison inmates who regularly used cocaine and meth, as well as 80 inmates who did not use the drugs. Their brains were scanned while they made decisions requiring moral reasoning. The findings are published in Psychopharmacology. Up to 75 percent of U.S. inmates have substance abuse problems, according to a journal news release.