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The Thirteenth StepAddiction in the Age of Brain Science$
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Markus Heilig

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172363

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172363.001.0001

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Molecular Culprits

Molecular Culprits

(p.163) 14 Molecular Culprits
The Thirteenth Step

Markus Heilig

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses three categories of drugs that people become addicted to. The first of these, morphine-like substances, or “opioids,” are probably the psychoactive drugs whose use goes the furthest back in the history of mankind. The next drug group—cocaine and amphetamine-like drugs—which can be bundled under the label “psychostimulants,” is important because it hooks right into the core of the brain systems thought to mediate approach behaviors and reward. Finally, alcohol makes up a substance category of its own but is probably able to fill up a catalog of actions more extensive than any other drug category. It is also, for that very reason, the addictive drug where individual differences in drug effects are the greatest.

Keywords:   addiction, addictive substances, substance abuse, substance use, opioids, cocaine, amphetamine, psychostimulants, alcohol

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