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HOW DOES

CRACK
COCAINE
CRACK COCAINE
HOW DOES

AFFECT
THE
AFFECT THE
BRAIN?
BRAIN?

How does cocaine become crack?

COCAINE PLANT
Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the
Coca plant native to South America.

SNORTED

COCAINE

SMOKED
Baking Soda

Crack is made from cocaine process called freebasing, in which cocaine is cooked with
ammonia or baking soda to create a rock form that can be smoked.
The name refers to the crackling sound heard when the rock is heated and smoked.

What happens when crack vapor is inhaled?

BRAIN
BLOOD STREAM
LUNGS

The vapors of the crack are absorbed through the lungs, into the bloodstream,
and transported to the brain within 10-15 seconds.

How does crack affect the brain?

COCAINE
Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that increases levels of the
neurotransmitter dopamine in brain circuits regulating pleasure and movement.

DOPAMINE
Dopamine is released by neurons in the nervous system
that controls feeling of pleasure and well-being.

NEUROTRANSMITTER
Neurotransmitters allow information in the form of electrical impulses
to be passed through the body.

CRACK
Crack works by causing the brains neurotransmitters to release all the dopamine at once.

How does dopamine travel through the brain?

DOPAMINE TRANSPORTER
DOPAMINE

NEURON

NEURON

RECEPTOR

SYNAPSE

Once released, dopamine travels across a gap between nerve cells, called a synapse, and
binds to a receptor on a neighboring nerve cell (also called a neuron). This sends a signal
to that nerve cell, which produces a good feeling.

DOPAMINE TRANSPORTER

Under normal conditions, once the dopamine sends that signal it is reabsorbed by
the neuron that released it. This reabsorption happens with the help of a protein
called the dopamine transporter.

How does crack interrupts this cycle?

CRACK

Crack interrupts this cycle. It attaches to the dopamine transporter, preventing


the normal reabsorption process. Dopamine then builds up in the gap synapse
between neurons, creating a lingering feeling of pleasure or euphoria in the user.

How smoking cocaine can lead to addiction?

5 to 7 minutes
DEPRESSION

ADDICTION

Crack's rapid rush - 5 to 7 minutes of intense pleasure - quickly subsides, leading to


depression that needs to be relieved by more crack. This cycle enhances the chances
of addiction.

What are the effects of crack addiction?

PARANOIA

ADDICTION

HALLUCINATIONS
FORMICATION

Addiction lead to cocaine psychosis causing, paranoia, hallucinations,


and delusional parasitosis.

Formication is an abnormal sensation in which insects or snakes are perceived to


be crawling under the skin.

Most seriously, addiction to cocaine can also result to cardiac arrest, stroke and death.

SOURCES
http://science.howstuffworks.com/crack3.htm
http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine
http://www.drugrehab.co.uk/FAQ-crack.htm
http://www.cesar.umd.edu/cesar/drugs/crack.asp
http://www.medicaldaily.com/your-brain-cocaine-dopamine-buildup-excites-brains-reward-center-what-price-270489

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