Cocaine Users Paid For Brain Scans

The University’s Psychology department are offering £80 to people who take cocaine as part of their research into addiction.

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Drug users will be paid £80 to have brain scans as part of a University psychology study into addiction.

Volunteers who take the drug recreationally will have brain scans and blood tests and get £80 compensation for “their time and inconvenience”, according to an advertisement posted online.

Cambridge scientists want to find out why some people get addicted to cocaine while others can take it recreationally.

They are currently looking for people who use the party drug “from time to time” to volunteer themselves as test subjects.

Dr Karen Ersche, who’s involved with the project, said the aim of the study was: “to find out how their brains are wired.”

“By comparing their brains with people who have become addicted to cocaine and with those who don’t use any drugs, we hope to find out what it is that makes some people vulnerable for developing cocaine dependence and others not.”

But it could be some time before they achieve that goal. Dr Ersche admitted: “the study is at a very early stage. It’s a relatively large study, so it will take a while before we will have any results.”

Scientists are looking for 50 volunteers to take part in the study. An ad posted online called for participants who are: “occasionally using cocaine… healthy… aged 22-55 years… able to spend 5 ½ hours on one day in Cambridge.”

An anonymous medic told The Tab:  “I don’t see how they can call someone who uses drugs ‘healthy’. They’re sending the completely wrong message that it’s ok to take cocaine as long as it’s only recreational.”

But Dr Ersche stressed this was something they were aware of, saying: “cocaine is a highly addictive drug and causes a lot of problems in society.”

Earlier this term, it emerged that volunteers took ketamine as part of another study carried out by the psychology department.