The human brain is the most complex organ in the body as it is responsible for every single thought, feeling, and behavior that every human being has ever had or will ever have. It regulates our every function including breathing, consuming food, driving a car, and enjoying everyday activities. But what happens to the brain when it is exposed to a toxic substance such as alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs? This 90-minute session will describe the addiction pathway, also known as the mesolimbic dopamine pathway, or the reward circuit. This scientific session will be taught in a way that the average citizen will walk away with a full understanding of how substances impact the brain, what that exposure means for young people who have under-developed brains, and the long-term consequences that can occur as a result. Once attendees are armed with this knowledge, the session will conclude with some tangible preventative efforts that every caring adult can put into place now to protect themselves and the people in their lives.
1. Identify the addiction pathway of the brain
2. Describe the impact of substance exposure to adolescent brains
3. Utilize a minimum of 3 preventative measures that can be taken immediately to prevent the negative consequences of substance use and misuse