Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa E. Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Third Advisor

Dr. Wayne Fuqua

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


Cocaine is a particularly prominent drug of abuse indicated by surveys conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (1997,2009). Cocaine abuse is associated with a high relapse rate. Developing effective treatments focused on preventing relapse may help diminish chronic cocaine use. Recent studies suggest involvement of the dynorphin/kappa opioid receptor system in neuroadaptations to cocaine abuse. Drugs targeting the kappa receptors are under investigation as potential pharmacotherapies.

The current study investigated the effects of the kappa opioid agonist salvinorin A on cocaine-discrimination in rats. Sixteen male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to discriminate 3.0 mg/kg cocaine from saline and tested for antagonism of the cocaine stimulus with salvinorin A (0.125-2.0 mg/kg). When tested in combination with cocaine, salvinorin A did not attenuate cocaine discrimination. When tested alone, salvinorin A produced significant cocaine-appropriate responding. The current findings are inconsistent with previous reports. Interpretation of the current findings is complicated by evidence for weak stimulus control by 3.0 mg/kg cocaine.

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