Virtual: Effects of Opioids Use on the Human Brain

Sponsor: New Hampshire Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors Association

PRESENTATION:  The opioid epidemic has had devastating consequences on families across New Hampshire. The opioid overdose death rate doubled between 2011 and 2015 and has remained at that level since. For individuals still battling opioid use disorder, the effects on the brain are long lasting and difficult to overcome. The purpose of this training is to first understand normal physiology of the brain’s reward circuit in order to then better understand how opioids disrupt that circuit. The presentation will also shed a light on how opioids have an impact on craving, decision making, and overall human behavior. These changes can be long lasting and epigenetically passed on to next generations. At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:


  • Describe normal physiology of the reward system in the brain;
  • Explain effects of opioid use on the brain’s reward circuit; and
  • Discuss opioids’ long lasting impact on overall brain function.

PRESENTER: Dr. Jabbour earned her doctoral degree in Molecular Biology from the Anatomy department at Case Western Reserve University, where she then also pursued a post-doctoral fellowship in the pathology department.  Her interest in drug use disorder begun when she volunteered for the Cleveland medical examiner. She is now an assistant professor at Franklin Pierce University where her research is focused on investigating the effects of opioids on the human brain. In collaboration with the New Hampshire medical examiner, Dr. Jabbour generated a unique brain specimen collection, from human brains, collected at autopsy of opioid overdose. She is currently testing these specimens to assess differential gene expression across different brain regions. The project is specifically focused on three regions implicated with opioid use disorder, within the reward circuit (the nucleus accumbens, amygdala and hippocampus). Her research is funded by the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – grant number P20GM103506.

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Event Details

August 3, 2021
8:30 am - 11:45 am
NBCC add $5.