Narcotic Drugs : Biochemical Pharmacology

Edited by Doris Clouet

The riddle of the biochemical nature of drug dependence of the opiate type has stimulated many studies directed toward understanding the molecular basis of the action of opiates, and, particularly, the phenomena of tolerance, physical dependence, and drug-seeking behavior-phenomena exhibited by man and experimental animals exposed persistently to these drugs. The results of these studies provided a substantial body of information which has been published in the scientific and medical literature. The purely pharma- cological responses in man and animals to the opiates have been described and evaluated in many monographs and text-books of pharmacology. However, there is no single source for specific and detailed information on the responses of the body and its tissues to narcotic analgesic drugs at the level of biochemical pharmacology that is, the molecular history of the drug in the body and the biochemical consequences of its presence in tissue. This volume has been prepared in an effort to repair the deficiency. Two factors have contributed a special urgency to making this infor- mation available in convenient form: (1) the current need for a better under- standing of the biochemical mechanisms underlying addiction to narcotic drugs, and (2) the progress made in molecular biology which promises that significant advances in the elucidation of fundamental processes in the central nervous system and their drug-induced aberrations may soon be possible.