This collection of materials addresses the neurobiology of drug use and abuse at the molecular, cellular, and organism levels.
Addiction involves complex mechanisms that are only partially understood. Yet ongoing research in molecular biology, physiology, and genetics continues to reveal more about the mechanisms that drive drug use and abuse. This work, along with research in the psychosocial factors involved, informs programs for more effectively treating and preventing substance abuse.Learning Goals
- Drugs disrupt communication between neurons at the molecular level.
- Drugs interfere with the brain’s reward and pain pathways, reinforcing repeated drug use.
- Repeated drug use alters the physiology of neurons, increasing tolerance and the risk of overdose.
- There is a genetic component to addiction.
- Social factors influence drug use, addiction risk, and addiction treatment.
The resources on this page have been designed with educators in mind. They are meant to support, supplement and extend the concepts explored in the materials on the Learn.Genetics website, designed for students and the public.