positron emission tomography (PET) scans to examine the effects of cocaine in the dorsal striatum of those who use the substance recreationally. The researchers provided the subjects with personalized stimuli by filming them in the laboratory as they ingested cocaine with a friend that they had previously engaged in substance abuse.
Later, the subjects watched the film while undergoing a Pet scan. The researchers found that exposure to the footage had caused dopamine release in the dorsal striatum, and increased the likelihood of cravings among participants, which can be the overture to addiction.
The report concluded that the best way to avoid long-term addiction is to seek recovery treatment as early as possible.