PG 253

Drugs and Behavior

Syllabus: Winter, 1998

Course:   Drugs and Behavior (PG 253)
Quarter:   Winter, 1998
Meeting Times: MTWHF 13:00
Location:   Haley Center 3203
Instructors:   Christopher Newland, Ph.D. Office: 110 Thach Hall. 844-6479
      Jeff Langston. 844-3295.
Office Hours: Jeff Langston: M.W. 14:00 - 15:00. Thach 202. 844-6497 or 844-3295.
Text:     Maistro, S.A., Galizio, M., Connors, G.J. (1995) Drug Use and Misuse. Chicago: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
      Other readings to be made available.
Web page:   The course syllabus, study guide, and other materials are available at
Study Guide:   A study guide is available at the web site for the chapters that we cover.

Overview and Course Objectives. In this course we will examine drugs that people use for their behavioral effects. We will examine drugs from a broad array of categories and whose effects differ widely. The common thread is that all of the drugs to be studied are behaviorally active and, for most of the drugs, this is why they are taken. The course will cover drugs that are abused (illicitly or otherwise) as well as drugs used for therapeutic reasons.

We will investigate drug use and drug actions by drawing from scientific investigations of their use as well as social and policy issues that arise from having behaviorally active drugs widely available. Accordingly, our coverage must span a range of topics including drug actions on the nervous system, elementary principles of pharmacology, therapeutic use of behaviorally active drugs, drug abuse and its treatment, and social policy.

By the end of the quarter you should:

    • Know the actions of drugs from different classes, and the similar effects of drugs from the same general class.
    • Know how the U.S. has controlled the availability of drugs, and especially addictive drugs.
    • Know how a new therapeutic drug is brought to market.
    • Know how these actions are accounted for by their actions on the brain (when this is known).
    • Know current theories of drug abuse.
    • Know how these different theories influence (when they do) approaches to treatment of drug abuse.
    • Know how drug actions are studied in the laboratory and how these relate to their actions on people in everyday life.
    • Be able to draw from behavioral science and other neurosciences to explain the action of a variety of drugs.
    • Have an appreciation of how a science of behavior contributes to an understanding of drug actions at many levels.

Evaluation. Your grade will be an average taken from the best three of four quizzes plus a comprehensive final exam that counts as a single quiz. You will be allowed to drop the lowest quiz grade before your final grade is computed, but the final exam cannot be dropped. Do not squander this privilege but use it wisely: unpredictable events, illnesses, or the consequences of procrastination could arise later in the quarter and you may need to use the "drop" to cover such events. There will be no makeup quizzes for any reason.

Course Structure. The course will be centered around the textbook by Maistro et al. Class time will be used partly to cover material from the textbook, especially material that might be difficult to get from the book alone. For this I will need your help in letting me know what parts of the book you have difficulty with. I also hope to use some class time to extend the discussion in the textbook either to cover a topic in a little more depth or to discuss a point raised by the authors. There are many controversies surrounding drug use and an understanding of the facts of drug use can sometimes shed light where otherwise there is only heat.

Academic Honesty. Cheating is theft and a betrayal of the good-faith required for higher education to function. Cheaters will not be tolerated. The policies established in the Tiger Cub will serve as guidelines for dealing with dishonesty. In this course you are encouraged to study together and even work through study guides together. But all quizzes must be taken on your own.

Schedule: The schedule is on the next page.

PG 253: Drugs and Behavior

Weekly Schedule: Winter, 1998

Week Of: Week # Topic Assignment
5 Jan. 1 Introductory Issues.

History of Drug Use and Legislation.

Drug Abuse and its Costs.

Chapters 1,2
12 Jan 2 Drugs and the Nervous System Chapter 3
19 Jan 3 Martin Luther King Holiday: Mon. 19 Jan.

Quiz 1 (Tuesday, 20 Jan)

Elementary Principles of Pharmacology.

Chapter 4
26 Jan 4 Psychopharmacology.

Drug Development.

Chapters 4, 5
2 Feb 5 Quiz 2 (Monday, 2 Feb)

Major Stimulants: Cocaine and Amhetamine.

Minor Stimulants: Nicotine

Chapter 6, 7
9 Feb 6 Minor Stimulants: Nicotine & Caffeine.


Chapters 8, 9
16 Feb 7 Quiz 3 (Monday, 16 Feb)


Drugs Used Therapeutically.

Chapter 10, 11
23 Feb 8 Drugs Used Therapeutically.


Chapter 11, 12


2 Mar 9 Quiz 4. Monday, 2 March, 1998

Marijuana and Hallucinogens

Costs of Prohibition: Cocaine.

Chapters 13, 14

Assigned readings.

9 Mar 10 Treatment and Prevention of Drug Abuse. Chapters 16, 17.
16 Mar FINAL Final Exam: 11:00-13:30 16 March.  

Lecture Topics.

1. Introductory remarks. The scientific study of drug-behavior interactions.

2. Cost of drug use. Defining and identifying harmful use.

3. History of drug use and prohibition.

4. Drug testing: Identifying users in the workplace and the problem of false-alarms.

5. The peripheral nervous system.

6. Neuron, synapse, and receptor.

7. Neurotransmitters.

8. The central nervous system.

9. Overview: drugs and the nervous system.

10.Quiz 1: Chapters 1,2,3

11. How drugs enter and leave the body.

12. The dose-effect curve.

13. Physiological and behavioral tolerance.

14. The discovery of cocaine's abuse potential: drugs as reinforcers

15. Drugs as discriminative stimuli.

16. Discovering new drugs/The role of animals in research.

17. Behavioral Pharmacology/drug-behavior interactions.

18. Review.

19. Quiz 2: Chapters 4, 5

20. Amphetamine, cocaine, and the monoamine receptor.

21. Acute effects of stimulants.

22. Chronic effects of stimulants, tolerance.

23. Nicotine: Pharmacology, acute and chronic effects.

24. Nicotine: An abused drug with no medical benefits?

25. Caffeine: The most popular stimulant.

26. Alcohol: Forms of alcohol, site of action.

27. Alcohol: metabolism, kinetics, and acute tolerance.

28. Alcohol: Chronic effects, abuse, and fetal alcohol effects.

29. Quiz 3: Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9

30. Reinforcing and other effects of sedative hypnotics.

31. Depressants: site of action and acute effects.

32. Depressants: chronic effects, abuse potential, and tolerance.

33. Schizophrenia and the antipsychotics.

34. Antipsychotics: acute and chronic effects.

35. Antidepressants: Clinical use.

36. Anti-depressants: Acute effects and receptor actions.

37. Morphine and the opiates: analgesia and abuse potential.

38. Morphine and the opiates. receptor theory.

39. Quiz 4. Chapters 10, 11, 12

40. Marijuana.

41. LSD and hallucinogens.

42. Cocaine and the costs of prohibition.

43. Treatment: community reinforcement and contingent abstinence.

44. Treatment: pharmacological interventions.

45. Secondary prevention: Discrimination of blood-alcohol level as a prevention technique.

46. Review.

Final Examination


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Last modified: July 08, 2010