This is a special class that trains UCLA senior neuroscience students and graduate students to present accurate, knowledgeable, and age-appropriate lectures on specific legal and illegal drugs of abuse to high school students (grades 9 to 12). The class visits traditionally underserved high schools to provide a scientific and policy-based education with the aim of both inspiring teenagers who may be interested in a career in addiction and mental health research, and educating teens on the risks of drug use.
A typical high school visit is comprised of a one hour session, during which a small group of neuroscience students give interactive presentations, followed by a series of practical demonstrations on how drugs affect the brain. Course co-directors Dr. Christopher Evans and Dr. Rafael Romero make general introductions followed by an overview of the neuroscience of drug addiction. Separate presentations on the underlying science and societal impact of specific classes of drugs follow for about 20 minutes, accompanied by powerpoint slides. Following the presentations, high school students participate in several practical demonstrations. Leave-behind pamphlets are provided with summary information and links to other resources