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

3: Injection of cocaine into the nucleus accumbens

Injection of cocaine into the nucleus accumbens

Demonstrate how scientists located the structures important for the addictive nature of drugs. Show that a rat will self-administer cocaine directly into the nucleus accumbens (or the VTA) to activate the pathway. Point to an area close to the nucleus accumbens or VTA and state that if the injection is placed in this other area, the rat will not press the lever to receive the drug. Indicate that scientists know a lot more than where the drug acts to produce rewarding effects - they also know how the drugs work. Show examples with cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.

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.