This course provides a basic introduction to the neuropsychopharmacology of drug abuse and addiction, and has a strong natural science (neuroscience) orientation. Prerequisites include Psychology 230 (Introduction to Biopsychology) and an interest in biological approaches to the study of behavior. Introductory Biology and Chemistry are also recommended. The acute and long-term effects of selected drugs of abuse on behavior, mood, cognition and neuronal function are discussed, and material from studies with humans is integrated with basic studies on the neurobiological basis of drug action and drug abuse — including detailed coverage of synaptic transmission and the distribution, regulation and integration of brain neurotransmitter systems. The focus is on addictive or illicit drugs, and all the major classes are discussed, including: opiates (heroin, morphine, opium), sedative – hypnotics (alcohol, barbituates, chloral hydrate), anxiolytics (benzodiazepines), psychomotor stimulants (amphetamine, cocaine), marijuana, hallucinogens (LSD, mescaline), hallucinogenic-stimulants (MDA, MDMA), and dissociative anaesthetics (PCP).

A lecture format is used, with required readings from a text. The class is intended primarily for juniors or seniors concentrating in biopsychology, neuroscience, biology orthe biomedical sciences (eg., pre-med).

This course is taught by Dr. Robinson once a year, usually in the Winter term. The full course outline for 2009 is available by clicking on
Psych. 436 Course Outline (2009)