Cocaine molecule

Cocaine molecule

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Credit: FRANCIS LEROY, BIOCOSMOS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cocaine molecule. Cocaine is an alkaloid drug obtained from leaves of the coca plant (Erythroxylon coca). It acts as a local anaesthetic, although its use for this purpose has declined due to the availability of less toxic alternatives. It is also used as a recreational drug. It can be smoked, injected or snorted, producing feelings of exhilaration and energy due to its stimulating action on the central nervous system. Prolonged use of cocaine can lead to anxiety, paranoia and dependency. Overdosing can result in irregular heartbeat and death.

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