Neurotransmitters and Drugs

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Neurotransmitters and Drugs
Drugs (chemical substances that affect the function of living things) interfere with natural neurotransmitters and change the
communication pathways in the brain. When people use drugs to make them feel "high," they change the way the brain functions, in
particular by altering the reward pathway. When drugs affect the reward pathway, the temporary good feelings can lead to
continued abuse (non-medical use) and addiction (uncontrollable and compulsive drug seeking and use, regardless of negative
effects
Use the Mouse Party Website to answer these questions.
http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/drugs/mouse.html
1. List three points in the neurotransmission pathway that can be affected by drugs of abuse.
2. Choose one of the drugs in the “Mouse Party.” What is the effect of the drug on the
cellular mechanisms of a mouse’s brain?
3. How are the mechanisms of different drugs of abuse alike? How are they different?
4. Do you think that the findings from studies of the drugs and the brain functions of mice
can be applied to humans?
5. Pick one drug and describe the short-term effects, and predict the long-term effects.
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