New research from the University of Zurich in Switzerland suggests that people who regularly use cocaine struggle to feel empathy for others and are less likely to enjoy social interactions, compared with individuals who do not use the drug.

The research team says their findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that treatment for cocaine addicts should include social skill training.

Cocaine is an addictive illegal stimulant that is extracted from the leaves of Erythroxylon coca – a coca plant native to South America.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimated that there were around 1.9 million current (past-month) cocaine users in the US in 2008.

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