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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

The evolutionary origins and significance of drug addiction

Tammy Saah

Author Affiliations

Stanford University School of Medicine, Transplant Immunobiology Laboratory, USA

Harm Reduction Journal 2005, 2:8  doi:10.1186/1477-7517-2-8

Published: 29 June 2005

Abstract

By looking at drug addiction from an evolutionary perspective, we may understand its underlying significance and evaluate its three-fold nature: biology, psychology, and social influences. In this investigation it is important to delve into the co-evolution of mammalian brains and ancient psychotropic plants. Gaining an understanding of the implications of ancient psychotropic substance use in altering mammalian brains will assist in assessing the causes and effects of addiction in a modern-day context. By exploring addiction in this manner, we may move towards more effective treatment early prevention, treating the root of the issue rather than the symptoms.