How do drugs work in the brain to produce pleasure?

Most drugs that are abused directly or indirectly target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine, a chemical in our bodies. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The overstimulation of this system, which rewards our natural behaviors, produces the joyful, euphoric effects sought by people who abuse drugs and teaches them to repeat the behavior.

(Adapted from

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