Cocaine: A substance derived from the leaves of the coca plant that is a bitter, addictive substance formerly used as an anesthetic. Safer anesthetics than cocaine were developed in the 20th century, although it is still used as an injectable anesthetic by some dentists. Synthetic alternatives, such as procaine, are used far more widely. Tragically, cocaine is a highly addictive and destructive street drug.
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Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012