Addiction 101: The Mesolimbic Pathway

In line with my goal to provide a “bottom-up” view of biomedical topics relevant to the legal system, this will be my first post dealing directly with the neurobiology of drug addiction. 

Addiction is a common problem for clients within the criminal justice system, yet many lawyers struggle to understand the basics of addiction. Although not an ideal situation, lawyers often end up acting as quasi-addiction counselors  in practice – being entrusted (at least partially) to provide guidance on treatment plans and overall rehabilitation for drug addicted offenders.

Moreover, through understanding some of the basic neuroscience of drug addiction, lawyers can learn to act empathetically and responsibly when acting for clients dealing with addiction.

To assist with this education, watch the short video below which explores the ‘mesolimbic pathway’ a neuronal pathway stimulated by  the four major classes of abused drugs: psychostimulants, opiates and depressants.


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