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Addiction has been called a disease of learning. Once addicted, it is very difficult to unlearn the behavior. For drug addiction, the drugs themselves mimic or alter the ability of neurotransmitters to function properly and for synapses to remodel. A number of the materials on this website address this subject.
BrainU lesson plans on the subject of addiction
C. elegans and Alcohol is a laboratory experiment in which students test the effects of alcohol on the roundworm.
What's the Deal? Card Game Students can explore this subject via a fun card game.
Dendritic Spines Lab is a lesson related to drugs and their effects on the brain.
Lesson plans on the subject of addiction from other organizations
Online activities at the Genetic Science Learning Center let students explore the effects of drugs and addiction on the brains of mice and humans in a fun and interactive way.
NIDA Goes Back to School offers science-based drug abuse publications and teaching materials free of charge. Several of these materials are available in Spanish.
The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction is an NIH Curriculum Supplement for Grades 9-12. At this link, you may access the Web version or request printed materials. Chapter 4: Drug Abuse and Addiction is one chapter in this curriculum supplement.
The study of addiction and the brain is being carried out at numerous sites across the country. Notable websites include: