The Chemistry of Drug Addiction

IntroductionDrug addiction is a continual process, where drugs are induced, most usually for pleasure. After time, continual use starts to interrupt the natural processes of the body, mainly in the brain, especially the reward system. As these natural processes are more and more interrupted over time, they become less effective, and the drugs more needed to create feelings of pleasure, and in extreme cases feelings of normality. This is where the actual addiction to drugs starts to arise. I've chosen Drug Addiction as my research topic for mostly educational, and real world reasons. The idea of drug addiction and the actual chemistry involved is very complex. Also drug addiction is a real world phenomenon that affects millions of lives.

Composition of ...

    • Drugs
    • Dopamine System
    • Glutamate System
  • Serotonin System

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

  • Drugs (Methamphetamine[C10H15N], Cocaine[C17H21NO4], Heroin[C21H23NO5], etc.) Overstimulate our body, and can lead to addiction or death.
    • Dopamine (C8H11NO2) A Neurotransmitter that affects almost everything in the body, especially the reward and motor functions of the brain.

Chemistry's Role

    • Drugs
      • Chemistry is absolutely needed for the creation and/or synthesis of all drugs. From the photosynthesis of cannabis and tobacco plants, to the very complicated synthesis processes of lab drugs such as Zohydro, and LSD. Some drugs such as krokodil, and methamphetamines can be even made very crudely, and dangerously in home labs using home ingredients. Rather the drug is natural, or man made chemistry is needed in the creation of all these substances.
      • Drugs induce the overproduction of many neurotransmitters, especially Dopamine. An overproduction of Dopamine, the neurotransmitters responsible for the reward system of the brain, create exponential feelings of pleasure, much more so than nature ever intended. The overproduction of neurotransmitters also cause chemical imbalances. This is mainly what leads to the cognitive side effects of drug addiction, Depression, apathy, anxiety, mood swings, and personality shifts.
    • Dopamine
      • Chemistry's role in dopamine is exponential. Chemistry processes is what allows dopamine to be created, absorbed, transmitted, and released. The chemical formula and chemical structure of Dopamine itself is also very important, as drugs such as methamphetamine, and cocaine closely resemble both dopamines chemical structure, and formula. This is what confuses the body into readily accepting these dangerous, unnatural, foreign substances.
      • Dopamine is naturally used to create pleasure in response to everyday stimuli. This rewards our bodies for doing things that better our lives. From eating right, and brushing our teeth everyday, to receiving a promotion or praise. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for basically running our lives. The pleasure from dopamine is what motivates us to do everything in life!!! Drugs interrupt this process vastly! And as drugs produce massive amounts of dopamine and pleasure, it overpowers the natural amounts of dopamine produced, and in response the body begins to tolerate larger and larger amounts of dopamine and pleasure. This is where problems arise as our bodies will never be able to produce as much dopamine as say methamphetamine can. As more and more dopamine is needed, it begins to get harder and harder to feel any natural pleasure, satisfaction, or motivation. Many users begin to feel as tho drugs are the only thing that gives them pleasure, because its true, drugs become the only thing that is able to produce the vast amounts of dopamine needed to feel satisfied.

Background Research

Drugs can be created, and/or found almost everywhere on this planet, they can be made right from nature, or require very complex lab setups and procedures. For safety, legal, and integrity reasons I will not release any information on the creation of any drug, I have however, made my own made up equations.

    1. Drugs + Body = Tolerance
    2. Tolerance + Drugs = DEATH

Dopamine, Located mainly in the frontal cortex, and the deep inner parts of the brain.Dopamine Biosynthesis 2-step reaction

    1. C9H11NO3 + C19H23N7O6 + O2 + Fe2+ → C9H11NO4 + C19H21N7O6 + H2O + Fe2+
    2. C9H11NO4 + C8H10NO6P → Dopamine(C8H11NO2) + C8H10NO6P + CO2


what is dopamine? what does it do? where does it come from?

How Dopamine works, and how drugs affect neurotransmitter systems.

Learned of Serotonin and its role in the body, and mainly brain.

How drugs interfere with the Serotonin, and Dopamine systems

learned about the Glutamate systems, and the side effects from drug use

learned how different neurotransmitters behave in combination with each other, and induced drugs

About the Author

Zach is a senior at Senior High School. He enjoys the simple things in life such as, eating, sleeping, and most importantly breathing. His hobbies are thinking, learning, and dreaming. He also enjoys all aspects of life, and in the future plans a career in the Army. Zach also wants to pursue his economic, and chemistry knowledge at college. Zach is eighteen years old, and plans to live for at least another thousand years.