The death of Amy Winehouse is a powerful example of how drug and alcohol addiction can take hold of and destroy people’s lives. Every year abuse of alcohol and illegal substances contributes to the death of more than 100,000 Americans.
So how do drugs work in the brain to produce pleasure? Most drugs cause the brain to release excessive amounts of dopamine. Flooding the brain with dopamine causes an intense state of euphoria and this response strongly motivates people to take drugs again and again.