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NIDA

The Brain & the Actions of Cocaine, Opiates, and Marijuana

2: Brain regions and neuronal pathways

Brain regions and neuronal pathways

Certain parts of the brain govern specific functions. Point to sensory, motor, association and visual cortex to highlight specific functions. Point to the hippocampus to highlight the region that is critical for memory, for example. Indicate that nerve cells or neurons travel from one area to another via pathways to send and integrate information. Show, for example, the reward pathway. Start at the ventral tegmental area (VTA) (in blue), follow the neuronal path to the nucleus accumbens (purple), and then on to the frontal cortex. Explain that this pathway gets activated when a person receives positive reinforcement for certain behaviors ("reward"). Indicate that you will explain how this happens when a person takes an addictive drug.

This page was last updated January 2007

NIDA Publications

NIDA Notes: The Latest in Drug Abuse Research

Teaching Packets

Explores the consequences of drug abuse on the brain and body and introduces the topics of prevention, and treatment.