Neuroscience of Addiction

The Neuroscience of Addiction or NOA curriculum was AES’s first program. This brainchild of Dr. Alex Stalcup is a six-session, comprehensive, science- & evidence-based program that communicates the brain’s involvement in the development of the disease of addiction. It also addresses brain development, risk factors, and introduces the Pleasure Scale, a scientific model of addiction. It is a complete solution to any alcohol, tobacco, or other drug (ATOD) prevention need. This 6-session curriculum provides the student with the knowledge, understanding, and skills necessary to make intelligent & healthy decisions about substance use. There are add-on modules available for education on topics such as:

  1. Fentanyl: Why now?
  2. Refusal Skills & Role Playing
  3. Guide to Rehab
  4. Home Experiments

Learning Objectives

  1. Students can describe how drugs affect the brain’s pleasure system.
  2. Students will use the Pleasure Scale over four days to measure their craving score via their cell phone using The Craving Experiment app.
  3. Students can describe what an addictive drug is.
  4. Students can describe how the brain neuro-adapts to protect itself from too much stimulation.
  5. Students can identify one factor that shows a brain has developed tolerance, the first step of addiction.
  6. Students can use the Pleasure Scale to explain how withdrawal creates the “opposite of high”.
  7. Students can describe how craving weakens decision-making in the prefrontal cortex, leading to a loss of control over choices.
  8. Students will use a case study to analyze the extent of someone’s addiction.
  9. Students can explain four causes of relapse when someone is trying to quit.
  10. Students will use a case study to analyze the causes of relapse.
  11. Students can identify factors that make people more likely to become addicted.
  12. Students can describe how drug use affects brain development in adolescence.
  13. Students can identify factors that help people avoid addiction and increase resilience in a case study.
  14. Students will reflect on their experience of craving awareness in the Craving Experiment.

NOA Program At A Glance v.7 FINAL 4.4.23.pdf

Click here ⧉ to download the at-a-glance sheet for this program.

“Neuroscience of Addiction” Access Request Form

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