. Drug-use may damage ability to choose right from wrong
Regular drug users can have difficulty choosing between right and wrong, perhaps because the specific parts of their brains used for moral processing and evaluating emotions are damaged by their prolonged drug habits, says a study.
There is strong link between drug use and criminal behaviour, but it is not known whether the criminal behaviour is in part a result of the drugs’ effects on brain function. “This is the first study to suggest impairments in the neural systems of moral processing in both cocaine and methamphetamine users,” said lead author Samantha Fede from University of New Mexico in the US. The findings were published in Springer’s journal Psychopharmacology. The researchers examined how the neural networks and brain functioning of chronic cocaine and methamphetamine users in US jails relate to their ability to evaluate and decide about moral situations or scenarios.