NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
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Glossary

Glossary

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  • Neuron (nerve cell): A unique type of cell found in the brain and body that is specialized to process and transmit information. [5]
  • Neurotransmission: The process that occurs when a neuron releases neurotransmitters to communicate with another neuron across the synapse. [5]
  • Neurotransmitter: A chemical produced by neurons to carry messages to other neurons. [5]
  • Nicotine: The addictive drug in tobacco. Nicotine activates a specific type of acetylcholine receptor. [5]
  • Nitrites: A special class of inhalants that act primarily to dilate blood vessels and relax the muscles. Whereas other inhalants are used to alter mood, nitrites are used primarily as sexual enhancers. (See also amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite). [9]
  • Nitrous oxide: Medical anesthetic gas, especially used in dentistry. Also called "laughing gas." Found in whipped cream dispensers and gas cylinders. [9]
  • Noradrenaline: A chemical neurotransmitter that is made in the brain and can affect the heart. [9]
  • Nucleus: A cluster or group of nerve cells that is dedicated to performing its own special function(s). Nuclei are found in all parts of the brain but are called cortical fields in the cerebral cortex. [5]
  • Nucleus accumbens: A part of the brain reward system, located in the limbic system, that processes information related to motivation and reward. Virtually all drugs of abuse act on the nucleus accumbens to reinforce drug taking. [5]
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