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

5: Summary: cocaine binding in nucleus accumbens and activation of reward pathway

Cocaine binding in nucleus accumbens

Show the "big picture," As a result of cocaine's actions in the nucleus accumbens (point to the sprinkles of cocaine in the nuc. acc.), there are increased impulses leaving the nucleus accumbens to activate the reward system. Indicate that with continued use of cocaine, the body relies on this drug to maintain rewarding feelings. The person is no longer able to feel the positive reinforcement or pleasurable feelings of natural rewards (food, water, sex).

This page was last updated January 2007