drugs.pdf - Beverly Kao Professor Kaatz PSYC 100 91818 18 Sept 2019 The Brain on Drugs Heroin and Psilocybin Fifty years ago the biggest topic involving

drugs.pdf - Beverly Kao Professor Kaatz PSYC 100 91818 18...

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Beverly Kao Professor Kaatz PSYC 100 91818 18 Sept 2019 The Brain on Drugs: Heroin and Psilocybin Fifty years ago, the biggest topic involving drugs was propaganda against it—films with reckless teenagers, wild partying, car crashes, and solemn medical experts warned people of the dangers of drugs (particularly psychedelic ones) and of the consequences of using them (Dyck). Now, though, people have a very different perspective on drugs—it is a commonplace occurrence in this day and time, so much so that certain substances that used to be taboo, like marijuana, have been decriminalized. One popular drug is heroin, an illegal opiate derived from morphine that can be white or brown in color that can be injected, smoked, sniffed, or snorted. On occasion, users will combine it with crack cocaine in a practice called “speedballing” to enhance the pleasure-highs of both drugs. Once taken, heroin binds to mu-opioid receptors in the reward center of the brain and triggers an overload of dopamine that subsequently burns out the receptors. Since dopamine is responsible for sensations of pleasure and pain, the brain recognizes that heroin is causing all these good feelings of satisfaction and happiness, and stores that information away for later (Kosten). Though the consequences of repeated heroin use depend on other factors like how much was taken, long-term effects include respiratory failure, hormonal and neural imbalances, the decay of white brain matter that affects decision-making abilities, and severe addiction (NIDA). Since heroin is a Schedule I substance, which means it has no medical
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