Gateway drugs

types of used drugs that may potentially lead to using other more powerful drugs

4 Principles of Psychoactive Drugs

1. drugs, per se, are not good or bad; 2. drugs have multiple effects; 3. drug effects depend on the dosage taken (ED vs OD)


any substance, natural or artificial, other than food, that by its chemical nature alters structure or function in the living organsim

psychoactive drug

any substance that acts to alter mood, thought processes, or behavior, or that is used to manage neuropsychological illness; has its principle effects on the CNS

illicit drug

a drug that is unlawful to possess or use; illegal

drug misuse

the use of prescribed drugs in greater amounts than, or for purposes other than those prescribed by a health care professional; use of non-prescription drug or substance for purposes other than those intended by the manufacturer

drug abuse

the use of a substance in a manner, amounts, or situation such that the drug use causes the chances of problems occurring (negative consequences).

drug addiction

frequent use of the drug and by the fact that a great deal of the individual's time is focused on: using the drug, obtaining the drug, talking about the drug, or on paraphernalia associate with the drug use

moral theory of addiction/dependency

addicts are lazy and weak willed

early medical theory of addiction/dependency

the presence of physical dependence; indicated by withdrawal when person stops taking the drug

reinforcement theory of addiction/dependency

stimuli or events (reinforcers) increase/decrease the likelihood of a specific behavior recurring; drugs produce an euphoria that many people seek to repeat

social theories of addiction/dependency

hypothesis that drug use is determined by cultural and social influences

personality theory of addiction/dependency

specific personality characteristics are associated with drug abuse: low self-esteem, poor interpersonal skills, need for immediate gratification, defiant feelings toward authority, little tolerance for anxiety, impulsive and risk-taking, low regard for p

disease model/concept

addiction is a chronic medical disorder; in 1957, the American Medical Associate defined alcoholism as a disease; it's progressive; loss of control; biological predisposition


provides criteria for diagnosing Substance Abuse and Substance Dependence

substance dependence

physiological dependence is indicated by evidence of tolerance and/or withdrawal symptoms)

substance abuse

no evidence of substance dependence

cerebral cortex

processes visual and auditory info; higher mental processes; responsible for reasoning, judgment, cognition and cognitive appraisal; affected by almost all psychoactive drugs


info. relay center between cerebral cortex and lower brain centers; psychoactive drugs affect body functions through their impact on thalamus (LSD)


food intake, thirst; boy temp, heart rate, BP; sexual behavior; stress; linked to various behavioral and drug dependencies; balance

brain stem

role in sensory/motor reflexes and complex movements; controls vomiting and regulates breathing; affected by alcohol and opiates;

limbic system

emotional center including pleasure and pain; can be activated by amphetamines and cocaine; function as emotional memory and imagination center

Reticular Activating System (RAC)

serve to connect nervous tissue from thalamas to spinal cord; wakefulness and arousal center; provide constant feedback between cortex and peripheral nervous system


associated with REM stage of sleep; plays role in muscle contraction and cognitive func; decreased levels associated with Alzheimer; abnormally high levels associated with narcolepsy; high levels cause somatic anxiety


synthesized from tyrosine; sig. role in emotional, mental, and motor functions; abnormally high levels are associated with psychosis; low level is associated with depression and Parkinson's disease; cocaine and nicotine appear to increase dopamine levels


arousal and attentiveness; role in initiation of food intake; high level may associate with panic disorder or mania; low level - depression;


blood vessel constriction and blood clotting; associated with mood, memory, and appetite control; linked to aggression and violence; high level is linked to hypersomnia and low level leads to insomnia


inhibits nerve impulses from being sent from one neuron to another when released; tranquilizers and some depressants stimulate GABA, producing relaxation and sedative effects


play role in pain relief; may be associated with positive addiction; found in several places in the brain and circulating in the blood


action potential; neurotransmitters are the messengers; resting action potential is caused by uneven distribution of ions; action potential occurs when sodium ions move across channels; blocking channels prevents the action potential and disrupts communic

action potential

a brief electrical signal transmitted along the axon; when the action potential arrives, neurotransmitters are released into the synapse; released neurotransmitters bind with receptors on the membrane of the next neuron


neurotransmitter precursors are found circulating in the blood supply


selected precursors are taken up by cells, a process requiring energy


precursors are changed (synthesized) into neurotransmitters through the action of enzymes


neurotransmitters are stored in small vesicles


energy is needed to restore the action potential


neurotransmitters may have excitatory or inhibitory effects


once a signal has been sent, neurotransmitters are removed from the synapse; may return or be metabolized

nerve impulse transmission

electrical impulse in axon; electrical impulse in axon terminals; neurotransmitters released into synapse space from axon terminals; neurotransmitters attached to receptor site; neurotransmitters in receptor site cause changes in electrical activity of po

drug actions on neurotransmitter systems

affect the availability of neurotransmitters: synthesis, storage, release, reuptake, metabolism

drug actions on neurotransmitter systems

affect the receptor directly: can mimic the action of the neurotransmitter; can occupy (block) the receptor and prevent the neurotransmitter from activating it

catecholamine theory of mood

drugs interfere with the catecholamine neurotransmitters which influences mood; drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines that stimulate activity in the catecholamine systems are able to produce temporary mood elevation


the relationship or interaction between drugs and living organisms

positron emission topography (PET)

developed in the 1970s; measures brain functions such as blood flow and volume, oxygen use, an the formation of neurotransmitters; radioactive labeled substances are introduced into the brain intravenously or by inhalation

magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

introduced in the early 1980s; beams high-frequency radio waves into the brain; waves reemitted and analyzed to create thin cross-sectional images of the brain; most detailed images of brain; safer than x-rays

purpose of drug regulation

reduce demand; reduce exposure; protect consumers; taxation; control illegal activities

hypodermic syringe

used primarily to inject morphine into civil war soldiers for pain and dysentry; made it possible to deliver morphine directly and speedily into the bloodstream; injectable opiates allowed time for doctor to perform surgery; "soldier's disease

opium use by chinese immigrants

they were imported to US after the Civil War to help build railroads and many brought with them their habit of smoking opium

patent medicine popularity

sold through peddlers, shops/general stores and mail order ads; many contained opium, alcohol, and cocaine; from 1859-1905, sales increase from $3.5 mil to $74 mil

pure food and drug act of 1906

administered under the department of agriculture; formed the FDA; prohibited the introduction of poisons into foods and drugs; required labels on drugs to be true; required revealing the presence of certain ingredients

harrison narcotic act - 1914

administered under the treasury department; outlawed opiates and cocaine; allowed physicians to prescribe narcotics "in the course of their professional practice and for legitimate medical purposes"; placed tax and fed. license controls on narcotics

marijuana tax act - 1937

provided controls over marijuana similar to those that the harrison act provided over narcotics; required physicians and dentists to pay $1/yr for a license fee; outlawed the recreational use of marijuana

food, drug, and cosmetic act - 1938

gave FDA control over drug safety; resulted from the deaths of several people caused by sulfa drugs used as antibiotics; established class of drugs available by prescription

1962 kefauver-harris amendments

every new drug be demonstrated to be effective for the illnesses mentioned on the label (GRASE)

narcotic addict rehab act - 1966

allowed treatment as an alternative to jail

comprehensive drug abuse prevention act - 1970

replaced and updated all previous federal drug laws concerning narcotics and other dangerous drugs; placed emphasis on law enforcement; transferred authority from Treasury Department to Justice Department; dealt with prevention and treatment; 5 schedules

omnibus drug act 1988

established the office of national drug control policy to better coordinate all federal drug control efforts; established a cabinet level director of national drug control policy in the president's office (drug czar)

lightly regulated drugs

sold legally with some restrictions; ex. alcohol and tobacco

OTC drugs regulations

regulated by the pure food, drug and cosmetic act; strict regulations on purity and labeling; all drugs must be certified by the manufacturer to the FDA as safe and effective; each package must list all active ingredients and must contain instructions for

legend drug regulations

require the prescription of a physician, dentist, podiatrist or vet before they may be legally dispensed; manufacturer of these drugs must place a warning legend on the wholesale packaging stating "CAUTION: fed. law prohibits dispensing this product witho

controlled substance regulations

drug with "abuse potential" that are tightly restricted by fed. and state laws; regulated from the moment they are manufactured or imported in the US and special licensing requirement apply; dispensing or possessing these drugs in violation of the restric

urine test method

detect drugs or its metabolites up to 3 days after use

hair test method

detect up to 90 days after use

saliva test method

detect only recent drug use, up to one day

blood test method

invasive but accurate, detect recent drug use