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Drugs, Brains, and Behavior The Science of Addiction
For much of the past century, scientists studying drug abuse labored in the shadows of powerful myths and misconceptions about the
nature of addiction. When scientists began to study addictive behavior in the 1930s, people addicted to drugs were thought to be
morally flawed and lacking in willpower. Those views shaped society’s responses to drug abuse, treating it as a moral failing rather
than a health problem, which led to an emphasis on punishment rather than prevention and treatment. Today, thanks to science, our views
and our responses to addiction and other substance use disorders have changed dramatically. Groundbreaking discoveries about the brain
have revolutionized our understanding of compulsive drug use, enabling us to respond effectively to the problem.