Mission Control: Understanding the Brain’s Central Control System

First published 2012. To view the latest Heads Up content, click here.

Directions: Study the information and diagram on this page, as well as the information from the article “Drugs + Your Brain.” Then read the health effects caused by drug abuse (below the illustration), and write the name of the brain area involved in creating the health effect.

brain diagram

1. Abusing prescription painkillers or sedatives can slow and stop breathing:

2. Many parts of the brain are affected over time with repeated drug use, leading to addiction. Name two:  

3. Steroids and methamphetamine can lead to aggressive behavior: 

4. Marijuana and alcohol can affect coordination and movement:

5. Combining sedatives with alcohol can slow the heart rate: 

6. Marijuana impairs the ability to think clearly: 

Think It Through: The cerebral cortex does not fully develop until a person is about 25 years of age. Why is this important for teens to know when it comes to decisions involving drugs? Explain your reasoning.


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