Researchers hope they have found a way to increase the effectiveness of opioid medications while also making them less addictive. Scientists from the University of Colorado and the University of Adelaide in Australia took a new approach to the science of addiction—tracking the brain’s immune system rather than the central nervous system. They found an immune receptor in the brain that recognizes morphine and, in the words of researcher Mark Hutchinson, increases addiction by causing immune cells to “hijack the reward paths and drive pathological rewards to morphine.” Using the drug plus-naloxone, researchers blocked the immune receptor and found they could keep the brain from producing the dopamine that can lead to addiction. “It really reduces the reward level down to the equivalent of food, sex, and hugs,” said Hutchinson. Blocking the receptor also increases pain relief, suggesting that we may be able to give people more pain relief while simultaneously decreasing the risk of addiction.