The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction

FREE Interactive Curriculum for Teachers & Students, Grades 9 through 12

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Science Education, has developed interactive, science-based supplements for use by high school students and teachers (grades 9-12) in the science classroom. The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction includes a high school curriculum in print plus an interactive CD-ROM. These supplements provide current, research-based information on various aspects of drug abuse and addiction, including neurobiology, behavioral components, and treatment.

The materials are free of charge and can be ordered from the NIH Office of Science Education: Direct link to the web version of the NIDA Curriculum is

"Excellent information on drug actions and neurobiology presented in an inquiry format. Students handled difficult concepts because of the way they were presented." - Field Test Teacher

"It appears that students really did learn the material on neurotransmission and drug addiction. I actually heard one student kidding another about their dopamine levels! Another student was in my room after school explaining to an underclassman how information gets from one part of the body to the other - complete with diagrams on the board." - Field Test Teacher

Included in the package:

Activities -- Learning Focus

  1. The Brain: What's Going On in There?
    Positron emision tomography (PET) images identify anatomical regions and functions of the brain - basic brain physiology.
  2. Neurons, Brain Chemistry, and Neurotransmission
    Illustrations and video show how neurons relay information through electrical and chemical signals - neurotransmission.
  3. Drugs Change the Way Neurons Communicate
    Data analysis reveals how drugs exert their effects and can alter the biology and chemistry of the brain.
  4. Drug Abuse and Addiction
    Animal experiments demonstrate the environmental, behavioral, and social influences on drug abuse and addiction.
  5. Drug Addiction Is a Disease - So What Do We Do About It?
    Case studies display treatment options and success rates for treating the chronic illness of drug addiction.