Drugs and Narcotics

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Explain the ways and mechanisms by which drugs affect the brain.

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Drugs affect the brain by passing through the "blood-brain barrier" in order to create chemical effects on brain cells or in some way alter how certain brain cells function or communicate with each other. Many of the commonly used illicit drugs affect sensory perception, causing people to perceive objects differently or think they are perceiving objects that do not exists. Other drugs may affect the centers controlling mood, cognitions, or reflexes -- for example, alcohol slows down reaction times. Many drugs affect the chemical processes involved in pleasure and pain, such as dopamine receptors.

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