Caroline Casiano-Rivera¹, Ian Díaz-Nieves¹, Ilanis Rodriguez-Torres¹, Paola Rolán-Otero¹, Omaris Vélez-
1 Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant with a high potential for abuse. Chronic use of cocaine causes changes in the brain’s mesocorticolimbic system. Currently, there is a gap in translating researchbased information to current social settings. This gap leads to situations such as viewing cocaine use disorder as a choice, straying from treatment due to negative stigma, and accidental overdoses due to cross-contamination. Overdose deaths involving cocaine have been on a steady rise since 2014, becoming a prevalent public health problem. Recent statistics also show that approximately 5.5 million individuals in the United States use cocaine. Therefore, it is crucial to continue educating the general public on cocaine use disorder, risks of consumption, and prevention of overdoses. Furthermore, it is essential to also study the mechanisms of action from a physiological and psychological perspective to continue the development of effective treatment.
Our objective is to raise awareness by compiling information about cocaine’s history, statistics, pharmacological effects, behavioral effects, and possible treatments.