Behavioral Pharmacology and Substance Abuse

Behavioral pharmacology is the scientific field in which research is conducted on the contribution of drug effects to behavior and the interactions between behavior and drugs. The term was coined by Peter Dews in the 1950s and is interchangeable with the term psychopharmacology, a term that was used previously by David Macht in the 1920s. Travis Thompson and Charles Schuster authored the first book devoted to behavioral pharmacology in 1968. The field involves three dominant goals: (1) to develop and evaluate behavioral interventions that can have an impact in screening the effectiveness of drugs, (2) to investigate how behaviorally active drugs are implemented using behavioral techniques, and (3) to use drugs as a tool for analyzing complex behavioral processes.

Methodological Considerations

Methodologically, this area of research ...

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