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One of the neurotransmitters affected by cocaine is called dopamine.
Dopamine is released by neurons in the limbic system -- the part of the brain that controls feelings of pleasure.
They can also permanently stop bones from growing in teenagers.
This is called fibrillation, and it can be very dangerous because it stops the flow of blood through the body.
For example, anabolic steroids can weaken the immune system -- the body's defense against germs and diseases.
They can also lead to liver damage or cancer, even in young people.
Fortunately, scientists have figured out how to copy the gene that controls the dopamine transporter. By studying copies of the transporter, scientists may learn more about how cocaine affects it -- and how to prevent those effects.
These studies may even lead to the discovery of a treatment for cocaine dependency.