En español
NIDA

Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: What Science Says

6: Neurotransmission

Neurotransmission diagram

As mentioned earlier (image 3), information is communicated in the brain via a process called neurotransmission. Neurotransmission involves a variety of chemical substances called "neurotransmitters." One such neurotransmitter is called "dopamine." In the normal communication process, dopamine is released by a neuron into the synapse (the small gap between neurons). The dopamine then binds with specialized proteins called "dopamine receptors" (see image) on the neighboring neuron, thereby sending a signal to that neuron.

This page was last updated January 2007

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.