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Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction

National Institute on Drug Abuse, July 2018

Posted in: Addiction Treatment Guidance & Policy Resources

For much of the past century, scientists studying drugs and drug use labored in the shadows of powerful myths and misconceptions about the nature of addiction. When scientists began to study addictive behavior in the 1930s, people addicted to drugs were thought to be morally flawed and lacking in willpower. Those views shaped society’s responses to drug use, treating it as a moral failing rather than a health problem, which led to an emphasis on punishment rather than prevention and treatment.