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World Health Organization. (2004) Neuroscience of psychoactive substance use and dependence. Geneva: World Health Organization.

PDF (Neuroscience of psychoactive substance use) - Published Version

This neuroscience report is the first attempt by WHO to provide a comprehensive overview of the biological factors related to substance use and dependence by summarizing the vast amount of knowledge gained in the last 20-30 years. The report highlights the current state of knowledge of the mechanisms of action of different types of psychoactive substances, and explains how the use of these substances can lead to the development of dependence syndrome.

Though the focus is on brain mechanisms, the report nevertheless addresses the social and environmental factors which influence substance use and dependence. It also deals with neuroscience aspects of interventions and, in particular, the ethical implications of new biological intervention strategies.

The various health and social problems associated with use of and dependence on tobacco, alcohol and illicit substances require greater attention by the public health community and appropriate policy responses are needed to address these problems in different societies. Many gaps remain to be filled in our understanding of the issues related to substance use and dependence but this report shows that we already know a great deal about the nature of these problems that can be used to shape policy responses.

Pages:264 p.
Publisher:World Health Organization
Corporate Creators:World Health Organization
Place of Publication:Geneva
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Related URLs:
Subjects:E Concepts in biomedical areas > Pharmacology and toxicology
G Health and disease > Disorder by cause > Genetic disorder
B Substances > New (novel) psychoactive substances
B Substances > Drugs and alcohol in general
R Research > Research ethics
E Concepts in biomedical areas > General life processes (physiology)

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