BEHN 617 Neurochemical Substrates of Addiction
Spring term, alternate years beginning 2011-12
This course will provide a critical overview of the neurochemical systems that are affected by exposure to drugs with abuse liability in humans and will discuss the biochemical changes that may lead to chronic drug abuse. The course will consist primarily of lectures from faculty with expertise in specific neurotransmitter system followed by round-table discussions of selected current literature. Lectures will focus on classical neurotransmitter systems (e.g., monoamines, amino acids, neuropeptides) and their potential role in the development and maintenance of addictive behaviors. Categories of drugs to be discussed include psychostimulants, opiates, hallucinogens and benzodiazepines, barbiturates and alcohol. The overall aim is to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the concepts necessary for studying the neurochemical mechanisms of drug reinforcement and the development of effective neuropharmaceutical therapies.