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Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: What Science Says

Localization of cocaine in the brain

Using cocaine as an example, we can describe how drugs interfere with brain functioning. When a person snorts, smokes, or injects cocaine, it travels to the brain via the bloodstream. Although it reaches all areas of the brain, its euphoric effects are mediated in a few specific areas, especially those associated with the reward pathway discussed in the previous image.

This page was last updated February 2016

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NIDA (2016). Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction: What Science Says. Retrieved , from https://www.drugabuse.gov/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction-what-science-says

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