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Addiction Science

Brief Description

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. Through scientific advances, we know more about how drugs work in the brain than ever, and we also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and lead productive lives.  Learn more

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Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction

Published April 2007. Revised July 2014. 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. En Español

Equips teachers and students in grades 9 through 12 with interactive curriculum on the neurobiology of the brain as a result of drug abuse and addiction.

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Bringing the Power of Science to Bear on Drug Abuse and Addiction (Teaching Packets)

Revised January 2007. The fifth in a 5-part series, summarizes the science behind drug abuse and addiction, reviews the harmful consequences of drug use, and poses the question of whether it is worth the risk.

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The Neurobiology of Ecstasy (MDMA) (Teaching Packets)

Revised January 2007. The fourth in a 5-part series, explores the biology behind ecstasy use in the brain and discusses both short- and long-term effects of its use.

Other Resources

Past information on many drugs of abuse is available on our Archives site.

This page was last updated December 2012

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    National Institute of Drug Abuse (2012). Addiction Science Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/addiction-science

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    Featured Publication

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    Easy-to-read drug facts site: easyread.drugabuse.gov
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