What Factors Influence A Drugs Effects On Behavior

Although good behavioral procedures are necessary for understanding a drug's effects on behavior, pharmacological factors are also important determinants of a drug's effect. Pharmacological factors include the amount of drug given (the dose), how

Figure 1

Risk of Being Involved in a Traffic Accident as a Function of the Amount of Alcohol in the Blood

Figure 1

Risk of Being Involved in a Traffic Accident as a Function of the Amount of Alcohol in the Blood

quickly the drug produces its effects (its onset), the time it takes for its effects to disappear (its duration), and whether the drug's effects are reduced (tolerance) or increased (sensitivity) if it is taken several times. Although this point may seem obvious, it is often overlooked. It is impossible to describe the behavioral effects of a drug on the basis of just one dose of the drug, since drugs can have very different effects, depending on how much of the drug is taken. Moreover, the probability that a drug will produce an effect also depends on the amount taken. As an example, consider Figure 1, which shows the risk of being involved in a traffic accident as a function of the amount of alcohol in a person's blood.

The way in which a drug is taken is also important. Cocaine can be taken by injection into the veins, by smoking, or by sniffing through the nose. Each of these routes of administration can produce different effects. Environmental factors also influence a drug's effect. Cocaine might change the amount of cereal and milk consumed in the morning but it might not change the amount consumed at a different time of day or if other types of food are available. Finally, individual factors also influ ence the drug effect. These include such factors as how many times an individual has taken a particular drug; what happened the last time it was taken; or what one may have heard from friends about a drug's effects.

Defeat Drugs Death

Defeat Drugs Death

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