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Students will conduct a literature review on a drug of abuse, using either the Psychinfo, Pubmed, or Google Scholar databases. Students should choose a minimum of 5 unique scientific articles from their search to read and summarize. Review papers are acceptable. Students should ensure that access to the full text version of the article is present before choosing it. Students will supply an APA-formatted reference for each article, followed by a summary of the information in the paper. The summary should be long enough to cover the major material in the article but should not exceed 500 words for a given article. Articles should be listed in alphabetical order by the first author's last name. Students should use their own words when summarizing the articles; I'm good at catching plagiarism and the consequences are severe (see course syllabus).
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Students should choose one of the following drugs to research: amphetamine, methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), cathninones (bath salts), alcohol, ketamine, PCP, heroin, marijuana, LSD, psilocybin
In addition to the article summaries, students should explicitly answer the following questions about the drug of abuse that she studied, using citations from the articles reviewed. These answers should be in addition to your article summaries, not buried within them.
1) How commonly is the drug abused? Students should answer this question by trying to find a prevalence rate, or an estimate of the proportion of the population that abuses the drug.
2) What is the social impact of abusing or recreationally using this drug? Students can answer in terms of economic burden, or death toll, if applicable.
3) What is the drug's mechanism of action? Asked another way: Describe how the drug alters the activity of the brain to produce its effects at the synaptic level.
4) Does the drug have reinforcing effects or produce euphoria? If so, what is the current understanding for the mechanism causing these reinforcing effects? If not, why is the drug abused or used recreationally?
5) Are there any drug treatments or behavioral interventions available to treat a substance abuse disorder related to this drug? Describe how those treatments are thought to work.