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Research Report Series - Cocaine Abuse and Addiction

Where can I get further scientific
information about cocaine abuse and addiction?

To learn more about cocaine and other drugs of abuse, contact the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) at 1-800-729-6686. Information specialists are available to assist you in locating needed information and resources.

Fact sheets and other information on the health effects of cocaine or other drugs of abuse and other drug abuse topics are available on the NIDA Web site (, and can be ordered free of charge in English and Spanish from NCADI at


Addiction: A chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and use and by neurochemical and molecular changes in the brain.

Anesthetic: An agent that causes insensitivity to pain.

Antidepressants: A group of drugs used in treating depressive disorders.

Cocaethylene: Potent stimulant created when cocaine and alcohol are used together.

Coca: The plant, Erythroxylon, from which cocaine is derived. Also refers to the leaves of this plant.

Crack: "Slang" term for a smokable form of cocaine.

Craving: A powerful, often uncontrollable desire for drugs.

Dopamine: A neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, motivation, and the feeling of pleasure.

Neuron: A nerve cell in the brain.

Physical dependence: An adaptive physiological state that occurs with regular drug use and results in a withdrawal syndrome when drug use is stopped; usually occurs with tolerance.

Polydrug user: An individual who uses more than one drug.

Rush: A surge of pleasure that rapidly follows administration of some drugs.

Tolerance: A condition in which higher doses of a drug are required to produce the same effect as during initial use; often is associated with physical dependence.

Vertigo: The sensation of dizziness.

Withdrawal: A variety of symptoms that occur after use of an addictive drug is reduced or stopped.


Gold, Mark S. Cocaine (and Crack): Clinical Aspects (181–198), Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook, Third Edition, Lowinson, ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1997.

Harvey, John A. and Kosofsky, Barry, eds. Cocaine: Effects on the Developing Brain. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 846, 1998.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Epidemiologic Trends in Drug Abuse: Advance Report, Community Epidemiology Work Group. NIH Pub. No. 03-5363A. Washington, DC: Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., June 2003.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. NIDA InfoFacts, Crack and Cocaine, 1998.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. National Survey Results on Drug Use From the Monitoring the Future Survey, 2003.

Office of National Drug Control Policy. The National Drug Control Strategy, 1998: A Ten Year Plan.

Shoptaw, S. et al. Randomized placebo-controlled trial of baclofen for cocaine dependence: preliminary effects for individuals with chronic patterns of cocaine use. J. Clin. Psychiatry, 64(12):1440–1448, 2003.

Snyder, Solomon H. Drugs and the Brain (122–130). New York: Scientific American Library, 1996.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. National Survey on Drug Use and Health. SAMHSA, 2002.


Letter from the Director

What is cocaine?

What is crack?

What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States?

How is cocaine used?

How does cocaine produce its effects?

What are the short-term effects of cocaine use?

What are the long-term effects of cocaine use?

What are the medical complications of cocaine abuse?

Are cocaine abusers at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C?

What is the effect of maternal cocaine use?

What treatments are effective for cocaine abusers?

Where can I get further scientific information about cocaine abuse and addiction?

Glossary and References


Cocaine Abuse and Addiction Research Report Cover

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