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Updated 6/20/02

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STARTing over

Illustration courtesy of the START Center

It is never easy for an addict to make a fresh start, but hundreds of drug and alcohol abusers now face a sobering reality: the Southwest Texas Addiction Research & Technology (START) Center.

The START Center will celebrate its one-year anniversary this May.

The facility opened its doors with

international acclaim and continues to dominate the field of addiction treatment and research.

Faculty see 100 to 125 clinical study participants each week. Eleven federally funded and four privately funded research studies are now in progress.

Renowned psychiatrist and pharmacologist Bankole A. Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., directs the center. He is the Wurzbach Distinguished Professor in the Health Science Center's department of psychiatry, where he is the deputy chairman of research and chief of the alcohol and drug addiction division.

Dr. Johnson and his team have found that a group of medications called dihydropyridine-class calcium channel antagonists show promise at stopping cocaine-induced strokes.

Other START studies, hailed worldwide, show the medication ondansetron is effective at reducing drinking in early-onset alcoholics.

A second study showed that ondansetron and another medication, naltrexone, when given in combination, have a powerful effect in reducing drinking in the same group.

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