Drugs Drugs - Start

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Influences on Drug Use

Biological – heredityIdentical twinsAdoption studiesBoys at age 6 excitable, fearless, impulsive (genetic traits) are more likely to take drugsNPY – brain chemical more sensitive to alcoholGene identified to predispose people to alcohol dependencePsychological Lacking sense of purposeStressDepressionSocial-culturalUrban enviroCultural attitude toward drugsPeer influences



Our brain is protected by a layer of capillaries called the blood-brain barrier.The drugs that are small enough to pass through are called psychoactive drugs.


Psychoactive Drugs

Chemicals that

alter moods and perceptions

through actions on neural synapses

Altered state (altered moods and perceptions)associated with changes in brain activity

Examples: alcohol, marijuana, cocaine (depressants, hallucinogens, stimulants)



Dependence and Addiction

Addiction – compulsive craving for a drug despite adverse consequencesTolerance – need to take larger and larger doses to experience the same effectsNeuroadaptation - change in brain chemistry that offsets the effects of a psychoactive drugWithdrawal – discomfort and distress that follow the discontinued use of certain drugs (aches, nausea, distress)Physical dependence – physiological need for a drug indicated by withdrawal symptomsPsychological dependence – psychological need to use a drug


Drugs are either….

Agonists – mimics neurotransmittersOpiates (heroine, morphine) mimic endorphinsAntagonists – block neurotransmittersLSD – blocks serotoninReuptake inhibitorsCocaine – blocks reuptake of dopamine, Ecstasy blocks reuptake of serotonin



Slows down body processes and calms neural activity.Breathing slows, pupils constrict, anxiety replaced by pleasureAlcoholBarbiturates/ tranquilizersOpiates (morphine, heroine)



More than 86 billion dollars are spent annually on alcoholic beverages.Alcohol is involved in 60% of ALL crimes.Alcohol is involved in over 70% of sexually related crimes.Is it worth the cost?



Agonist for endorphins. Morphine, heroin, methadone and codeine.Pupils constrict, breathing slows, lethargy, blissful pleasure replaces pain and anxietyHighly addictiveBrain stops producing own opiates (endorphins)brain will lack painkilling neurotransmitters after withdrawal



Excite neural activity and speed up body processes.

Increased heart and breathing rates, pupils dilate, appetite diminishes, energy increasesMore powerful ones (like cocaine) give people feelings of invincibility.AmphetaminesMethamphetaminesCaffeineNicotineCocaineEcstasy




Causes changes in perceptions of realityLSD, peyote, psilocybin mushrooms and marijuana.Reverse tolerance or synergistic effect

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