Yavin Shaham and his lab group at the Baltimore-based NIDA Intramural Research Program found a reliable cure for addiction — at least for rats. Their research, reported recently in Nature Neuroscience, centers on rat addicts who had heroin or methamphetamine mainlined into the pleasure centers of their brains. These rats, alone in their cages, could choose between pressing a lever for a hit of the drug and a lever that would deliver another rat to them for company. The rats, including those in the most heavily addicted subgroup, chose a playmate nearly 100% of the time, even if they weren’t ordinarily isolated and starved for company. Remarkably, choosing and getting the immediate social reward of a playmate rewired the rats’ brains, preventing relapse. This is vital, as the scientists found cravings don’t “naturally” fade away as abstinence continues. In fact, they get worse weeks, months or even years after drug use ends.