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NIDA

Medical Consequences

Annual Event Teaches Students Brain Science

Highlights activities held during Brain Awareness Week for students in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, to learn about brain anatomy and function.

Crack Cocaine Promotes Progression of HIV Infection to AIDS

Reports on two studies showing a high prevalence of HIV infection and more rapid progression to disability and death among drug abusers.

Reality Videos Bring NIDA Scientists to Web Site for Teens

Highlights new video clips on NIDA's Web site for teens that explore the dangers of drug abuse and that address questions from youth and their parents on the topic.

Injection Drug Users Acquire Hepatitis C Infection Later in Developed Countries

Reports trends in onset of injection drug use to infection with hepatitis C virus in developed countries and notes the influence of prevention efforts.

Steroid Abuse Is a High-Risk Route to the Finish Line

NIDA Director Nora Volkow

Highlights research on the effects of steroid use on the brain and the rest of the body, and stresses the need to educate young people about the serious health risks associated with its use.

Letter from the Director

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) — the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) — has been with us for three decades now. Today, an entire generation of young adults has never known a world without HIV/AIDS.

From the Director

Hallucinogens and dissociative drugs—which have street names like acid, angel dust, and vitamin K—distort the way a user perceives time, motion, colors, sounds, and self. These drugs can disrupt a person’s ability to think and communicate rationally, or even to recognize reality, sometimes resulting in bizarre or dangerous behavior. Hallucinogens such as LSD and psilocybin cause emotions to swing wildly and real-world sensations to appear unreal, sometimes frightening.

Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse

This is an image of Leonardi da Vinci's famous drawing called The Vitruvian Man

Drug addiction is a brain disease. Although initial drug use might be voluntary, drugs of abuse have been shown to alter gene expression and brain circuitry, which in turn affect human behavior. Once addiction develops, these brain changes interfere with an individual’s ability to make voluntary decisions, leading to compulsive drug craving, seeking and use.

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