Cocaine and the Brain


At first glance, a clump of cocaine appears pearly-white, crystalline, and innocuous.  But within this compound resides the molecular power to inhibit the human brain’s uptake of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, chemical neurotransmitters essential to the governance of mood and many other mental activities.  Along the way, cocaine suppresses one’s appetite, speeds up thoughts and actions, races the heart, and inspires a raucous euphoria that makes the brain hungry for more and more. (Chapter 3)