Sentences For Drug Offenses

See Mandatory Sentencing; Shock Incarceration and Boot-Camp Prisons

SEROTONIN Chemically named 5-hydroxy-tryptamine, this Monoamine transmitter is a widely distributed substance particularly prevalent in the gut, blood, platelets, and pineal gland, as well as in nine major sets of brain neurons (nerve cells). In the 1950s, chemical similarity between serotonin and the chemical Hallucinogen Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) focused attention on this Neurotransmitter in mental illness, a link strengthened by experimental studies in animals and humans. Neurons containing serotonin, atypical monoamine, project widely throughout the brain and spinal cord, and a large number of well-characterized serotonin-receptor subtypes mediate both direct and indirect regulation of ion channels that exist in the membranes of neurons. By regulating these channels, these serotonin Receptors influence the concentration within the neuron of such ions as K+ (potassium) and Ca++ (calcium) and thereby the activity of the cell.

(See also: Brain Structures and Drugs; Dopamine; Neurotransmission; Reward Pathways and Drugs; Serotonin-Uptake Inhibitors in Treatment of Substance Abuse)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Cooper, J. R., Bloom, F. E., & Roth, R. H. (1991). The biochemical basis of neuropharmacology, 6th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

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