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

10: Summary: opioid binding in nucleus accumbens and activation of the reward pathway

opiate binding in nucleus accumbens

Show the "big picture". As a result of opioid actions in the nucleus accumbens (point to the sprinkles of opioids in the nuc. acc.), there are increased impulses leaving the nucleus accumbens to activate the reward system (point to the frontal cortex). As with cocaine, continued use of opioids makes the body rely on the presence of the drug to maintain rewarding feelings and other normal behaviors. The person is no longer able to feel the benefits of natural rewards (food, water, sex) and can't function normally without the drug present.

This page was last updated November 2019

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

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