By Avram Goldstein
Content material: medicinal drugs and the mind. Neurotransmitters : the brain's personal medicinal drugs -- Receptors : locks for the addictive keys -- Addictive habit -- ache and enjoyment -- The seesaw mind : "highs" and diversifications -- Are addicts born or made? the medicine and the addicts. Nicotine -- Alcohol and similar medicines -- Heroin, morphine, and different opiates -- Cocaine and amphetamines -- hashish (Marijuana) -- Caffeine -- Hallucinogens. medicines and society. Prevention : simply say no? -- Treating dependancy, combating relapse -- 3 classes from the road -- 3 classes from in another country -- Prohibition vs. legalization : a fake dichotomy -- New techniques for rational drug coverage
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Extra resources for Addiction : from biology to drug policy
Its wide distribution in the brain and elsewhere suggests it has many other functions. Finally, a new and powerful technique is being widely applied for deleting a gene of known sequence in an animal, producing what is called a gene knockout. Provided that absence of the gene is not lethal, what happens when it is knocked out may let us infer its normal role. In some respects this is an improvement over using an antagonist to infer a normal function, because here one specific receptor (the product of a single gene) is deleted, whereas no antagonist is totally selective for a single receptor.
Receptors: Locks for the Addictive Keys \ 39 a rat, mouse, or guinea pig (or of a human, obtained at autopsy) is removed and homogenized, as in a food blender, to break open all the neurons. Test tubes containing the homogenized material are rotated at high speed in a centrifuge to pack down the cell membranes with their receptors. After pouring off the watery soup, we stir up the membranes in salt water to wash them, then pack them down again. They are washed repeatedly, to get rid of all traces of everything but the membranes with their receptors.
Since every protein is built according to the blueprint in the DNA of the genes, it is often possible to analyze the gene sequence directly or—what amounts to the same thing—the sequence of the mRNA. A gene is said to be expressed when it is copied into mRNA, which will then serve as the template 46 | Drugs and the Brain on which the protein is assembled from its constituent amino acids. Genes are expressed only when and where they are needed; otherwise, since every body cell contains our entire genome, we would have the ridiculous situation that all proteins would be made all the time in every tissue.
Addiction : from biology to drug policy by Avram Goldstein