LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LAGUNA DESIGN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cocaine. Molecular model of the drug cocaine (formula: C17H21NO4). Atoms are spherical and are colour-coded: carbon (blue), hydrogen (white), oxygen (red) and nitrogen (light blue). Cocaine is an alkaloid drug obtained from leaves of the coca plant Erythroxylon coca. It has a powerful local anaesthetic action when applied to the skin, and used to be used in surgery. Due to its more notorious effects, however, it has largely been replaced by artificial alternatives. When injected or snorted, the drug acts as a central nervous system stimulant, producing feelings of energy and exhilaration. Psychological dependence can develop. The drug is illegal to own or produce.
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