Tuesday, July 10, 2007

This is your brain on cigarettes

There was a fascinating interview, today, on NPR's Fresh Air with the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In the interview, Dr. Nora Volkow had many interesting and provocative things to say about the science of addition, but the one thing that really stood out to me is what she replied when she was asked what the worst gateway drug. Was it marijuana? Alcohol? No. She said it was nicotine.

It's not that cigarettes make you high. It's that they stimulate the same dopamine receptors that cocaine and crystal meth do. They get you trained to want to get your dopamine thing on.

I'm glad to say that the hospital I work at has recently decided to become to a smoke-free campus!

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