Although extensive evidence exists for the reinforcing properties of drugs of abuse such as cocaine, relatively less research has addressed the functional neuroanatomical correlates of the cognitive sequelae of these drugs. We present a functional magnetic resonance imaging study of a GO-NOGO task in which successful performance required prepotent behaviors to be inhibited. Significant cingulate, pre-supplementary motor and insula hypoactivity was observed for both successful NOGOs and errors of commission in chronic cocaine users relative to cocaine-naive controls. This attenuated response, in the presence of comparable activation levels in other task-related cortical areas, suggests cortical and psychological specificity in the locus of drug abuse-related cognitive dysfunction. The results suggest that addiction may be accompanied by a disruption of brain structures critical for the higher-order, cognitive control of behavior.
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