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Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction

Provides scientific information about the disease of drug addiction, including the many harmful consequences of drug abuse and the basic approaches that have been developed to prevent and treat the disease.

Published: April 2007
Revised: July 2014

Inhalants

Definition

Although other abused drugs can be inhaled, the term inhalants is reserved for the wide variety of substances—including solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites—that are rarely, if ever, taken via any other route of administration. (See below for a list of examples.)

Stimulant ADHD Medications - Methylphenidate and Amphetamines

Stimulant medications including amphetamines (e.g., Adderall) and methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin and Concerta) are often prescribed to treat children, adolescents, or adults diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction

Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so.

Registration open for Drug Facts Chat Day; 2014 Drug IQ Challenge preview available

Schools can now register for Drug Facts Chat Day, NIDA’s annual Web chat that connects NIH scientists with teens around the country, at http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov


NIDA’s drug abuse information for teens goes mobile

Teens -- and adults who care for them -- can now find answers to questions about drug abuse and addiction more easily, and through smartphones and tablets.  Spanish language versions of easy to understand resources on drug abuse and addiction are now also available.


Drugs + Your Body: It Isn’t Pretty (Teaching Guide) Poster

Front: Powerful imagery shows teens and young adults how drugs of abuse damage major organs. A provocative and engaging educational tool. Back: Four critical-thinking activity worksheets and lesson plans on drugs of abuse: a basic neuroscience lesson on how the brain governs the body; an in-depth look at how different drugs damage various vital organs; an activity using a diagram to explore how abusing drugs can damage relationships; and an exercise on how to read a statistical graph on emergency room visits to show the impact of drugs on society. A Spanish/English version of the front of this poster is expected in 2013.

Published: October 2012


Learn more at the Heads Up Web site »

Marijuana: Download the Facts Poster (Teaching Guide)

Front: Targets teens and young adults, emphasizing three essential messages about smoking marijuana: it is addictive, it can lead to school failure, and it impairs driving. Back: Four lesson plans for teachers, including critical-thinking activity worksheets and answer keys. Reviews basic marijuana facts. Helps students differentiate between fact and opinion, understand the importance of sources, analyze an editorial cartoon, and realize how messages about drugs are communicated, overtly and hidden, in songs and music videos. See also Heads Up: Real News About Drugs and Your Body—Year 11-12 Compilations for Students and Teachers.

Published: September 2011


Learn more at the Heads Up Web site »

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