Issues Behind Addictive Drug Use


Prior to beginning work on this discussion, read the required chapters from the text and review the required articles for this week. Humans have engaged in psychoactive drug use, sometimes in formal (ceremonial) settings and sometimes recreationally, since before recorded history. It has only been in the last century or so that abuse and addiction have become large-scale problems. Using the literature and your own insights into these issues, formulate an argument as to why the problem has reached its current scale. In your discussion, evaluate the employment of psychoactive drugs from the aspects of a risk-benefits analysis and ethical considerations such as the risk of addiction versus the cost of punitive action. Also explain purely pharmacological issues such as pharmacokinetics and routes of drug administration and dose. If needed, include factors such as supply, cultural attitudes to drug use, and the context of drug use.

Required Resources


  • Advokat, C. D., Comaty, J. E., & Julien, R. M. (2014). Julien’s primer of drug action: A comprehensive guide to the actions, uses, and side effects of psychoactive drugs (13th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
    • Chapter 7: Cocaine, the Amphetamines, and Other Psychostimulants
    • Chapter 8: Psychedelic Drugs
    • Chapter 9: Cannabis


  • Kisch, S. J. (2008). The pharmacologic mechanisms of crystal meth. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 178(13), 1679-1682. Retrieved from the ProQuest database.
    • The author of this article examines methamphetamine and the difference between drug action and toxicology.
  • Rolland, B., Jardri, R., Amad, A., Thoas, P., Cottencin, O., & Bordet, R. (2014). Pharmacology of hallucinations: Several mechanisms for one single symptom? BioMed Research International, 2014, 1-9. doi: 10.1155/2014/307106
    • The full-text version of this article can be accessed through the PubMed database in the Ashford University Library. The authors of this article examine the commonalities of several hallucinogenic drugs.

Supplemental Materials

  • Briner, W. (2014). PSY630 Rapid Review Example [PDF]. College of Health, Human Services, and Science, Ashford University: San Diego, CA.
    • This PDF provides a sample paper for the Rapid Review assignments within this course.

Recommended Resources

As part of your ongoing studies this week, you are encouraged to interact with one another in the Ashford University Online Psychology Club via LinkedIn. This community of learning will allow you to create supportive networks for like-minded scholarship and to work through difficult course concepts in a mutually respectful environment. Please take a moment to explore the community and see what your colleagues are discussing.

Please note: If you do not already have a LinkedIn account, you will need to create one before joining.


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