NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
Find NIDA for Teens on: NIDAnews on Twitter NIDANIH on YouTube NIDANIH on Facebook
Teen double image

Question 1

The word hallucinate comes from the latin words meaning:

Yup! No wonder some people refer to hallucinating as tripping. Hallucinogens powerfully affect the way our five senses work, and change our impressions of time and reality.

The influence of hallucinogens does make your brain lose control of how you perceive the world. In fact, senses seem to get crossed - giving the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. However, this wasn't the answer we were looking for.

In some people hallucinogens can cause drowsiness, but this is not the correct answer.

Hallucinogens can disrupt how the brain works, but this isn't the answer we were looking for.

Question 2

MDMA and MDA cause neurons to release the neurotransmitter serotonin. This can cause which of the following:

Ulcers are medical conditions in which there are sores on a sensitive lining such as the stomach. Ulcers aren't caused by the release of serotonin.

Correct! Serotonin neurons have a role in lots of things such as mood, and sleep. MDMA and MDA can disrupt the function of these neurons and alter behavior.

Although gingivitis is a disease, it is caused by poor dental hygiene. While serotonin doesn't play a role in getting gingivitis, we just wanted to remind you to keep up the good brushing.

Gray hair is not caused by the neurotransmitter serotonin, but your parents may get gray hair if you abuse MDMA, MDA or any illicit drug.

Question 3

LSD and PCP can change the way that neurons communicate, which can cause changes in the way you sense the world around you. Which of the following is used by neurons to communicate:

Right! Chemical messengers , or neurotransmitters, send information from nerve cell to nerve cell in the brain and body. These speedy couriers trudge through wind, hail, sleet and snow to deliver your nervous system messages on time!

Chromosomes carry the genetic code (genes) for the production of neurotransmitters, but they themselves are not used by neurons to communicate.

Morse code is a system of communication that consists of either long and short sounds or dots and dashes to transmit messages. Although morse code can be used to transmit messages over long distances, it is not used by neurons to communicate.

Nope, although the computer system you're accessing these questions off of is kind of like a brain. The computer network around the world does constantly send messages back and forth with amazing speed, much like your brain and body.

Question 4

Some hallucinogens are natural. However, many hallucinogens are chemicals that don't occur in nature. Can you identify some of these?

Correct! Lysergic acid (LSD) and phencyclidine (PCP) are powerful hallucinogens which aren't found in nature. The effects of these drugs are unpredictable: they can alter your senses, affect your moods, or cause vivid hallucinations.

While mescaline is a potent hallucinogen, it is found in nature. Mescaline comes from a cactus called peyote.

Gasoline is an inhalant, not a hallucinogen. But it is a chemical you should be wary of.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, not a hallucinogen. But hallucinogens can affect neurons that contain serotonin.