Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant.[The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic. Specifically, it is a serotonin–norepinephrine–dopamine reuptake inhibitor, which mediates functionality of these neurotransmitters as an exogenous catecholamine transporter ligand. Because of the way it affects the mesolimbic reward pathway, cocaine is addictive.
Unlike most molecules, cocaine possesses both high hydrophilic and lipophilic efficiency, violating the rule of hydrophilic-lipophilic balance. This causes it to cross the blood-brain barrier with vastly superior reinforcement than to other psychoactive chemicals.
Its possession, cultivation, and distribution are illegal for non-medicinal and non-government sanctioned purposes in virtually all parts of the world. Although its free commercialization is illegal and has been severely penalized in virtually all countries, its use worldwide remains widespread in many social, cultural, and personal settings.
Cocaine usually makes the user feel euphoric and energetic, but also increases body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. Users risk heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, abdominal pain, and nausea. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly afterwards.
Statistics and trends:
In 2009, 4.8 million Americans age 12 and older had abused cocaine in any form and 1.0 million had abused crack at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The NIDA-funded 2010 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 1.6% of 8th graders, 2.2% of 10th graders, and 2.9% of 12th graders had abused cocaine in any form and 1.0% of 8th graders, 1.0% of 10th graders, and 1.4%...