An in-depth, no-nonsense overview of what cocaine is and how it affects individuals, families and businesses. This excellent handbook is aimed at present and potential cocaine abusers and their families, and at those who treat cocaine-dependent individuals. But as a thorough study of what the drug actually does to the body, the mind, and society at large, it fills a larger need. Contrary to popular myth, cocaine is as addictive and as dangerous as heroin, and almost always causes, in high doses or with prolonged use, physical, mental and moral deterioration. While, in small doses, it may bring on an initial sensation of euphoria, this ""high"" quickly degenerates into feelings of depression, irritability and craving for more cocaine; abusers then sniff, smoke or inject more of the drug to make themselves feel better, and the dangerous, sad cycle of dependence is begun. Weiss and Mirin, psychiatrists at the Harvard Medical School who run cocaine treatment centers in the Boston area, have gone into great detail to try to answer every possible question about cocaine. There are sections devoted to the handling of cocaine abusers within families and businesses, an appendix of questions to help the individual user identify the level of his addiction, and case histories that illustrate the terrifying grip cocaine can hold over the mind. The book also provides a scientific account of the effect of the drug on the brain's neurotransmitters, and outlines the various diseases (including AIDS) to which frequent abusers are prone. An illuminating, disturbing study of a national problem.