Biological Sciences Faculty Publications

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The relationship between insects and humans is a complex one, characterized biotically as commensalism, mutualism, or parasitism. This collection of papers reveals yet another dimension, in which shared history invests invertebrate models with the power to interrogate critical challenges to the human reward system. As humans we take pride in approaching a given scenario rationally, in considering the possible options, assigning them values, and then choosing that which maximizes one's individual outcomes. So, why do drug addicts make choices that inevitably lead to ruinous consequences? Fundamentally, addiction appears to impair the very ability to form considered judgments, as it strips the afflicted of this most essential of human faculties. What are Homo sapiens bereft of their “sapient” power? Despite widespread recognition of the devastating and lasting effects of addiction, there is little consensus regarding its mechanistic and perceptual causes, or on effective therapeutic interventions. Policy makers, healthcare specialists, and the general public, frequently view drug dependence as an incompetent life choice, or moral failure resulting from a fundamental lack of willpower. However, the moralistic perspective falls short in generating effective solutions. It provides little help to the addicted, offers no support to those in the addict's immediate social circle, and gives no guidance in addressing the significant and growing societal burden posed by substance abuse (Florence et al., 2016). In contrast, the US National Institute of Drug Abuse has strongly advocated for a brain disease model of addiction (BDMA), and empirical findings in behavioral neuroscience have advanced promising avenues for reframing this phenomenon from a more structural perspective (Volkow and Koob, 2015)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Frontiers in Physiology