En español

Menu

Publications

Quick Links

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

15: Overall summary: these drugs of abuse all activate the reward system via increasing dopamine neurotransmission

These drugs of abuse all activate the reward system

In this last slide, the binding of all 3 drugs is shown in one of the reward areas, the nucleus accumbens. Summarize that each drug increases the activity of the reward pathway by increasing dopamine transmission. This happens even though the drugs act by different mechanisms. Because of the way our brains are designed, and because these drugs activate a particular brain pathway for reward, they have the ability to be misused.

Start a discussion; ask the students if they can think of any other drugs that are misused that probably activate the reward system in the same way. Answer: alcohol, nicotine, and amphetamine are good examples.

This page was last updated November 2019

Get this Publication

Ordering Publications

Call 1-877-643-2644 or:
NIDA Drug Pubs
Cite this article

NIDA. (2019, November 19). The Brain & the Actions of Cocaine, Opioids, and Marijuana. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/brain-actions-cocaine-opioids-marijuana

press ctrl+c to copy

Teaching Packets

Explores the consequences of drug abuse on the brain and body and introduces the topics of prevention, and treatment.

Lesson Plan and Activity Finder

Mind Matters