This is Your Brain on Drugs

Why do people take drugs? And why do they continue to take them when they want to quit? Why are we experiencing an ever-increasing opioid epidemic and record numbers of opioid-related deaths? And why is cannabis “legal” in some states but illegal federally?  Most of you have thoughts about these questions. Are you open-minded enough to explore the science behind your thoughts, and to consider the feasibility of alternate answers?   In this class, we’ll explore the topics of neuropharmacology – drugs that affect our brains. From stimulants like amphetamines, to depressants like ethanol, and psychedelics like psilocybin, we’ll learn how these drugs affect cells and how the cell-drug interactions affect the mind and behavior. We’ll also explore why some drugs are more likely than others to be addictive and why some people are more likely than other to abuse drugs.

Despite the complex topic, this class is an introductory course for all curious and open-minded students, willing to speak out if they do not understand something. Many students go on to study biology and neurobiology and many others use this material to apply it to the fields of social work, law, business, and communications (among others).  

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5 credits of Natural Science coursework towards the Areas of Inquiry requirement.