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Opioid misuse, including addiction, has emerged as a major health epidemic in the United States. This course will explore the science of opioids as well as the historical and societal context surrounding their use and abuse. We will examine the neurobiological mechanisms through which opioids interact with pain pathways and reward circuits within the brain and we will explore how changes in these systems contribute to opioid tolerance, dependence, and addiction. We will consider how genetic, environmental and behavioral factors can powerfully influence these processes. Finally, we will consider alternative approaches to pain management as well as interventions for the treatment of opioid abuse. Students will be expected to design and conduct an empirical project related to the course material. Critical evaluation of peer-reviewed primary literature from animal and human studies will serve as a foundation for class discussions. Evaluation will be based on class presentations, participation in discussions and empirical projects, written assignments, and a poster presentation of the empirical project.
Format: seminar/laboratory; empirical lab course
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
class presentations, participation in discussions and empirical projects, five short position papers (approximately 2 pages double-spaced), an APA style empirical paper (approximately 20 pages double-spaced) and poster presentation of the empirical project.
PSYC 212 (same as BIOL 212 or NSCI 201)
Psychology majors and Neuroscience concentrators
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit: