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Science Behind Drug Addiction
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Monday 9th May 2022
Doors Open 18:30 | Event 19:00 - 22:30
Louis Hartlooper
Tolsteegbrug 1, 3511 ZN Utrecht

The history of addiction in science: A disputed concept

The science of addiction is expanding, and the concept is expanding to all kinds of behaviours. Surprisingly then that the concept was something unknown for most of human history. The science of addiction has begun only in the 18th century, in periods of enormous societal upheavals. The spectres of drug use and addiction have since led to the War on Drugs of the last century. Interacting with these developments, the science of addiction seems to have walked in circles and still more promises than delivers successful therapies. In this talk, Stephen Snelders will show us the fascinating history of addiction and some of the scientists who have struggled with the concept.

Stephen Snelders

Research Fellow

Utrecht University


History of Dutch drug policy in a European context

Researcher on drug policies, focusing on policy implementation and cross-country comparisons. Work and research experience in the Netherlands, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia. 

Rafaela de Quadros Rigoni

PostDoc Researcher

Utrecht University

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Substance addiction as a brain disease

In the past 25 years, the view that substance addiction is a brain disease has been enormously influential. In its simplest form, this notion states that repeated exposure to substances of abuse causes long-lasting – perhaps permanent – changes in brain function that – particularly in vulnerable individuals – subverts control over substance use, culminating in addictive behaviour. From the outset, this view has been subject to criticism, both from within and outside the scientific community. In his presentation, Louk Vanderschuren will highlight the merits and drawbacks of the brain disease view of substance addiction.

Louk Vanderschuren
Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience

Utrecht University

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