NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
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Cocaine

Speeding lights

Question 1

There are lots of different kinds of stimulants. Which of the following is NOT a stimulant?

Nope… Caffeine, which is found in coffee and many soft drinks, is a mild stimulant.

Correct! Heroin is not a stimulant. In fact, it causes a person to feel sleepy, which is the opposite of what stimulants do.

No. Methamphetamine is a powerful and addictive stimulant. It can cause long-term damage to the brain.

Nope. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that prevents the neurotransmitter dopamine from being removed from the space between neurons (synapse).

Question 2

Cocaine can damage the heart by causing:

Uh-uh! Heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. It's actually a problem with the stomach that is caused by excess acid.

Correct! Cocaine can cause blood vessels to narrow, making the heart beat faster. Fibrillation is when it beats so fast that it loses its natural rhythm.

No! Cocaine actually causes the heart to beat faster.

No. Cocaine reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to the heart by limiting blood flow to the heart. Remember, blood carries oxygen.

Question 3

Scientists are using cloning to learn more about how cocaine acts in the brain. What is a clone?

Yes! By copying a gene, scientists can study how that gene works, which may help them in developing treatments for a lot of things, including drug addiction.

Try again! Although the famous sheep Dolly was an identical clone of another sheep, most baby sheep are not clones.

No. Scientists can use cloning to understand how the brain works, but there is no part of the brain that is a clone.

No, you're probably thinking of a clown.

Question 4

Which of the following is the part of the brain that controls feelings of pleasure?

Nope! Although dopamine is involved in pleasure, it is a brain chemical, also called a neurotransmitter, not a brain structure.

No, Dendrites are a part of a neuron that receives messages from another neuron. 

No. Receptors are located throughout the nervous system, including in the limbic system where feelings of pleasure are controlled, but they are not a brain region.

You got it!