The issue of

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The issue of

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The issue of

Substance abuse


Limbic system creates an appetite that drives you to seek out those things.The reward circuitry is activated—with dopamine carrying the message. The result is less dopamine signaling in the brain, what the scientists call “down regulation.” Larger amounts of the drug are needed to create a dopamine flood, or “high”—an effect known as “tolerance.”These brain changes drive a person to seek out and use drugs compulsively.

Addition in general Terms


The word “addiction” is derived from a Latin term for “enslaved by” or “bound to.” Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use,continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. Three Types of Addictions Chemically Addictive Psychologically AddictiveManically Addictive

What causes addiction?


The brain registers all pleasures in the same wayIn the brain, pleasure has a distinct signature: the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a cluster of nerve cells lying underneath the cerebral cortex Dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens is so consistently tied with pleasure that neuroscientists refer to the region as the brain’s pleasure center.

Pleasure principle


Dopamine not only contributes to the experience of pleasure, but also plays a role in learning and memory—two key elements in the transition from liking something to becoming addicted to it.Dopamine interacts with another neurotransmitter, glutamate, to take over the brain’s system of reward-related learning. This system has an important role in sustaining life because it links activities needed for human survival with pleasure and reward.The reward circuit in the brain includes areas involved with motivation and memory as well as with pleasure. Addictive substances and behaviors stimulate the same circuit—and then overload it.Repeated exposure to an addictive substance or behavior causes nerve cells in the nucleus accumbens and the prefrontal cortex to communicate in a way that couples liking something with wanting it, in turn driving us to go after it. That is, this process motivates us to take action to seek out the source of pleasure.

The issue of the Learning



the brain adapts in a way that actually makes the sought-after substance or activity less pleasurable.Addictive drugs and behaviors provide a shortcut, flooding the brain with dopamine and other neurotransmitters. Addictive drugs can release two to 10 times the amount of dopamine that natural rewards do.The brain receptors become overwhelmed. The brain responds by producing less dopamine or eliminating dopamine receptors.As a result of these adaptations, dopamine has less impact on the brain’s reward center. People who develop an addiction typically find that, in time, the desired substance no longer gives them as much pleasure. They have to take more of it to obtain the same dopamine “high” because their brains have adapted—an effect known as tolerance.

The issue

of tolerance


The pleasure associated with an addictive drug or behavior subsides—and yet the memory of the desired effect and the need to recreate it (the wanting) persists.The hippocampus and the amygdala store information about environmental cues associated with the desired substance, so that it can be located again. These memories help create a conditioned response—intense craving—whenever the person encounters those environmental cues.Cravings contribute not only to addiction but to relapse. Conditioned learning helps explain why people who develop an addiction risk relapse even after years of abstinence.

Compulsion takes over


Neurotransmitters are substances in your brain that pass between individual nerve cells and relay chemical signals that allow these cells to work together and support your body’s essential functions. Certain drugs and behaviors alter the ways in which your brain produces its neurotransmitters, or alter the ways in which your brain’s nerve cells (neurons) respond to the presence of various neurotransmitters. Addiction occurs when these alterations change your basic brain chemistry and force you to rely on specific drugs or behaviors in order to maintain a “normal” chemical environment.

The Issue of Neurotransmitters


Drugs with a potential to produce abuse and addiction have an effect on your body because they alter the neurochemical environment in your brain.Some drugs, such as heroin and marijuana, have chemical structures that closely mimic the structures of your neurotransmitters. These similarities give the drugs access to the chemical receptors on your neurons, and allow them to alter the signals that get passed on to other neurons. Other drugs, including methamphetamine and cocaine, achieve their effects by increasing your brain’s production of certain neurotransmitters, or by interfering with the way your brain recycles its neurotransmitters for future use.The neurotransmitter dopamine plays a primary role in your brain’s response to the presence of various drugs, dopamine is responsible for regulating your emotional responses, controlling the movements of your body and determining whether you perceive any given experience as painful or pleasurable. Simply stated, pain responses occur when your dopamine levels drop, and pleasure responses occur when your dopamine levels rise.

Neurotransmitters and Drug Effects


Over time, use of drugs that increase your dopamine levels will force your brain to compensate and alter the ways that it processes this neurotransmitter. Depending on your specific circumstances, these alterations may include reduced dopamine production in your neurons, A reduction in the number of dopamine receptors on your neurons, or a combination of both of these effects. The overall result of these changes is a lower dopamine level. Addiction sets in when you start to rely on any given drug to restore your brain’s dopamine supply to the levels that existed before drug use began. addiction worsens when your brain develops a tolerance to a drug’s dopamine-boosting effects and you begin to require increasing amounts of the drug in order to maintain a “normal” chemical environment.

The Onset of Addiction


Even without the use of drugs, your brain can develop neurotransmitter alterations that lead to the onset of addiction.These alterations occur when you have what psychiatrists call a “manic” reaction to certain activities and behaviors — such as shopping, having sex, eating, gambling or shoplifting — and seek to participate in them repetitively or compulsively. As in people with drug addictions, people with these behavioral addictions come to rely on their targeted activities in order to boost their levels of dopamine, as well as their levels of the neurotransmitter epinephrine (also known as adrenaline).

Manic Addictions


Determining whether you have addiction isn’t completely straightforward. And admitting it isn’t easy, largely because of the stigma and shame associated with addiction. But acknowledging the problem is the first step toward recovery.A “yes” answer to any of the following three questions suggests you might have a problem with addiction and should—at the very least—consult a health care provider for further evaluation and guidance.•Do you use more of the substance or engage in the behavior more often than in the past?•Do you have withdrawal symptoms when you don’t have the substance or engage in the behavior?•Have you ever lied to anyone about your use of the substance or extent of your behavior?

Do you have addiction



There are two main types of tests used to determine whether an illegal drug is present in a substance: presumptive tests and confirmatory tests. Presumptive tests are less precise and indicate that an illegal substance may be present. Confirmatory tests provide a positive identification of the substance in question. Presumptive testing may be conducted in the field by law enforcement officers or in the laboratory once the seized material is accepted. Confirmatory tests involve a battery of instrumental tests using techniques such as Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) or infrared spectroscopy that separate individual compounds in the substance and positively identify the chemical signature of the illegal substance(s) within the material.

Presumptive & Confirmatory Testing for Drugs


Schedule I - no medical usage, high potential for abuse. Examples include Heroin, LSD, peyote, MDMASchedule II - severely restricted medical usage, high potential for abuse, but slightly less than Schedule I drugs. Examples include cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, oxycodoneSchedule III - currently accepted medical usage, moderate potential for abuse, and moderate to low risk of dependence. Examples include barbiturates, steroids, ketamineSchedule IV - widely used for medical purposes, low potential for abuse and low risk of dependency. Examples include Xanax®, Valium®, tranquilizersSchedule V - widely used for medical purposes, very low potential for abuse, contain limited quantities of narcotics. Examples include Robitussin® AC, Tylenol® with Codeine

Drug Scheduling and Classification


Marijuana- Euphoria or “high”, altered sensory perception, sleepiness, disrupted coordination/balance Examples include: Marijuana, hashishNarcotics- General sense of well-being, drowsiness, inability to concentrate. Examples include: Opium, heroin, morphine, methadone, oxycodoneStimulants- Euphoria or “high”, exhilaration, wakefulness, agitation, hostility, hallucinations Examples include: Amphetamines, methamphetamines, cocaineDepressants- Sleepiness, amnesia, impaired judgment, confusion, slurred speech, loss of motor coordination Examples include: Alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, GHB, RohypnolHallucinogens- Altered perception and mood, mild to severe hallucinations Examples include: LSD, MDMA, PCP, ketamine, mescaline/peyote, mushrooms (Synthetic drugs- Agitation, irritability, impaired perception of reality, reduced motor control, inability to think clearly Examples include: Bath salts (cathinones), DXM, Steroids- Mood swings, hostility, impaired judgment, aggression Examples include: Human growth steroids, testosteroneInhalants- Loss of inhibition, intoxication, slurred speech, decreased coordination, euphoria, disorientationExamples include: Ether, nitrous oxide, butane, cyclohexyl nitrite,

Illegal drugs


by category


In recent years, use and abuse of synthetic drugs, including “bath salts” (cathinones) and “spice” (synthetic cannabinoids/marijuana), has risen dramatically in the U.S. Between 2010 and 2011, poisoning incidents relating to synthetic marijuana rose by 50% according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. The number of reported poisonings by “bath salts” in 2011 was 20 times higher than in 2010. The danger posed by these drugs comes mainly from their marketing as legal substances labeled “not for human consumption” to circumvent existing legislation and growing evidence of their highly addictive nature. According to the National Institutes of Health, not much is known about their long-term effects on the human body; however, studies indicate they may be more addictive than many scheduled substances. Synthetic marijuana has become the second most abused drug among high school students, exceeded only by marijuana itself.




According to the National Institute of Health, more people die from overdoses of prescription opioids than from all other drugs combined, including heroin and cocaine. Abuse is most prevalent among high school and college-aged students. Abusers often think that these substances are safer than street drugs because they are manufactured for medical use. However, when taken in ways or by individuals for which they are not prescribed, they can be as dangerous and addictive as any other controlled substance. In 2007, the CDC reported approximately 12,000 unintentional poisoning deaths involving non-medical use of prescription drugs. Additionally, among individuals who reported illegal drug use on a national survey, nearly one-third indicated that they started with non-medical use of prescription drugs.




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