Cocaine

Cocaine is a stimulant extracted from the leaves of the coca plant indigenous to South America.  Cocaine is one of the most widely abused drugs in the world carrying with it a severe risk for dependence and addiction if used recreationally.  Despite its use by certain licensed health care providers for legitimate medical procedures like local anesthesia and surgery it is classified as a schedule 1 controlled substance and hence illegal.   

The drug is typically found in the form of white fine crystal powder inhaled through the nose and sometimes rubbed on the gums.  The act of rubbing the substance on the gums is known on the street as a “freeze.”  The drug is also inhaled in its smokable form known as “Crack”, due to its crackling sound upon being ignited.  This smokable form hits harder and faster and is thought to be the most habit forming version of the drug.  Some users even inject it intravenously and mix with other drugs like heroin, forming what’s known by the slang term “speedball.”  The following slang terms for cocaine are as follows:

  • Blow
  • Cain
  • White
  • White Girl
  • Yayo
  • Perico
  • Rock
  • Crack
  • Snow

Street dealers are known to dilute their coke with various cutting agents in an effort to garner more yields and in effect higher profit margins.  Part of what makes cocaine so dangerous is the laundry list of substances that it can be cut with to produce higher quantities.  Some of these cutting agents can be rather innocuous, while others can be very toxic and deadly like amphetamines for instance.  The following substances are used by dealers when cutting their coke:

  • Flour
  • Talcum Powder
  • Cornstarch
  • BC powder
  • Inositol
  • Amphetamines
  • Prescription drugs

Cocaine is used primarily as a party drug to stay awake and use in conjunction with alcohol to offset some of the depressive symptoms associated with drinking.  Cocaine acts on the reward circuits of the brain responsible with inducing feelings of pleasure and gratification.  With prolonged exposure to the drug these reward circuits get burned out and the user requires more and more of the drug to get the same high.  While some people find the drug helps facilitate their creativity and problem solving skills and focus, others report the exact opposite.  This in large part contributes to the personal biological makeup of the person.  Most common effects associated with cocaine consumption are as follows:

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Increased focus & concentration
  • Mental and Physical alertness
  • Greater perceived strength and endurance

The negative effects of the drug far outweigh any of the perceived short-term symptoms while under its influence.  Many users tend to consume the drug in short but excessive binge scenarios requiring heftier dosages till the event of overdose.  Overdose on cocaine is extremely common and is exacerbated by using the drug in conjunction with other drugs such as alcohol, heroin or other stimulants.  The following adverse reactions occur when reaching the verge of overdose:

  • Tachycardia
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Increased body temperature & blood pressure
  • Pupil dilation
  • Paranoia
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Sensitivity to light, sound and touch
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Tremors and muscle twitches

Cocaine lowers the immune system of the user and can make them more susceptible to disease transmission.  Specifically there was a large correlation with HIV infection between cocaine abusers as well as Hepatitis-C a disease affecting the liver.  Also the constant snorting of the drug can damage the lining of the nasal cavity leading to increased risk of deviated septum.

The reasons to abstain from cocaine abuse are extensive and the need for drug rehab and treatment centers providing therapy and detox services are profound.  If anyone you know needs help for an addiction to cocaine please get them to a professional immediately.  The longer their cocaine use goes by unchecked the more chances for severe health complications.

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