Pharmacology of Illicit Drugs (BIO 113)


Instructor: Donald F. Slish                  

Phone: 564-5160        

Email Address:  


Psychopharmacology, 2nd ed., Jerrold S. Meyer and Linda F. Quenzer, Sinauer Associates, 2013




Pharmacokinetics: How does the body handle drugs?

Pharmacodynamics I: How do drugs act?  Neuron structure & Function


Exam I (Jan 2nd)


Pharmacodynamics II:  Drug / Receptor interaction 

Pharmacodynamics III:  Neurobiology – the structure of the brain

The Pleasure Circuit: Addiction                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Exam II (Jan 9th)

Ethyl Alcohol


CNS Stimulants (Cocaine, amphetamines)


Exam III (Jan 16th)


Hallucinogens (LSD, psilocybin, anti-cholinergics, PCP, ketamine, dextromethorphan)

Stimulant Hallucinogens - (Ecstasy, mescaline)


Exma IV (Jan 23rd)


Objectives of the course            


 After taking this course, the students will:


1.      have a basic understanding of neurobiology and the way that drugs effect this to produce changes in the human body.

2.      improve their critical thinking skills through analysis of case studies and experimental design.

3.      develop an understanding of recreational and illicit drugs and their physical and psychological effects.
                                                     Grading Scale:

The final grade will be based on the three                                 A      > 94

exams during the semester, the final exam                                 A-        90 – 94

quizzes given during class, and attendance                                B+        87 - 8

                                                                                                B         83 - 86

            100 pts.           Exam #1                                              B-         80 - 82

            100 pts.           Exam #2                                              C+        77 - 79

            100 pts.           Exam #3                                              C         73 - 76

            100 pts.            Final Exam                                         C-         70 - 72

                                     Bonus Points                                      D+        66 - 69

            400 pts.÷ 4 = Final grade                                            D         62 - 65

                                                                                                E              < 62


Withdrawal Policy

My withdrawal policy in this class is the same as the University's policy, i.e., withdrawal from a class is permitted until the last day of course selection for the fall semester. Withdrawal after this time will only be allowed for grave illness or other serious difficulty. Withdrawal after this point will not be given due to poor grades. If you have failed the first two tests, seriously consider whether or not you can pass the course with a reasonable grade. There's no penalty for dropping before fall registration is over.                     



Honor Code Pledge


It is expected that all students enrolled in this class support the letter and the spirit of the Academic Honesty Policy as stated in the college catalog.



Plagiarism is the willful representation of another’s work as your own. The Internet has made plagiarism very easy and it is tempting to copy instead of actually doing to work.  I will award a 0 to the first assignment that I can prove has been plagiarized. A second offense will result in failure for the class. There will be no discussion of or exceptions to this rule.




Assessment of Student Learning:  Analytical skill development

and understanding of fundamental biological principles


The faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences are committed to providing students with a first-rate educational experience as articulated in the Departmental Mission Statement:


            “The Department of Biological Sciences strives to provide students with the fundamental understanding of the principles and methods of the life sciences within the context of a sound liberal arts education.  Emphasis is on the development of the student’s ability to analyze problems, apply scientific method, communicate biological information, and interpret current advances in research.”


Student progress toward attaining the goals set forth in the Departmental Mission Statement will be assessed in part by an exam or quiz question that has been selected for this purpose by the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences.



General Education Learning Objectives


Courses in this category develop in students “understanding of the methods scientists use to explore natural phenomena” and “application of scientific data, concepts, and models in one of the natural sciences” (SUNY Required Learning Outcomes). Courses will make clear the difference between science and technology and enable students to critically assess technological worth. Courses will strengthen students’ skills in qualitative and quantitative reasoning and in critical thinking and analysis, by careful study of both historic and contemporary scientific problems. In addition, courses will reinforce students’ understanding and appreciation of the sciences and their ability to use technology effectively.