Cocaine- a Central Nervous System stimulant.
Cocaine is a drug extracted from the leaves of the coca plant, a fine powder (often diluted with other substances). There are three routes of cocaine administration: snorting, injecting, and smoking. Snorting is the process of inhaling cocaine powder through the nose, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal tissues. Injecting is the use of a needle to insert the drug directly into the bloodstream. Smoking involves inhaling cocaine smoke into the lungs, where absorption into the bloodstream is as rapid as it is by injection.
Cocaine is an extremely powerful and highly addictive stimulant. “Crack” is a smokable, freebase form of cocaine. Crack became popular in mid 1980s as it was easy and inexpensive to produce by dissolving powdered cocaine in a mixture of water and ammonia or baking soda. The mixture was boiled until a solid substance forms. The solid was then removed, dried, and broken into the chunks (“rocks”) that were sold on the street as crack cocaine. Street Names for cocaine and crack: Big C, blow, coke, flake, freebase, lady, nose candy, rock, snow, snowbirds, crack, ball, base.
Effects of Cocaine and Crack Cocaine
The intensity and duration of cocaine’s effects depend on the dose and rate of entry to the brain. Effects include increased energy, reduced fatigue, and mental alertness. The faster cocaine is absorbed into the bloodstream and delivered to the brain, the more intense the high. Injecting or smoking cocaine produces a quicker, stronger high than snorting. On the other hand, faster absorption usually means shorter duration of its effects. In order to sustain the high, a cocaine abuser has to administer the drug again. For this reason, cocaine is sometimes abused in binges—taken repeatedly within a relatively short period of time, at increasingly higher doses.
- Cocaine reaches the brain through the snorting method in three to five minutes.
- Intravenous injection of cocaine produces a rush in 15 to 30 seconds
- smoking produces an almost immediate intense experience
The faster the absorption, the shorter the high lasts:
- The high from snorting may last 15 to 30 minutes
- The high from smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes
Another reason for taking repeated frequent doses of cocaine is that once the drug leaves the brain, the user experiences a “ crash” that includes depression, irritability, and fatigue. The user may continue to take the drug just to avoid a withdrawal.
Long-term effects or high doses of cocaine can trigger paranoia. Smoking crack cocaine can produce aggressive paranoid behavior. When addicted individuals stop using cocaine, they often become depressed. Prolonged cocaine snorting can result in ulceration of the mucous membrane of the nose, constricted blood vessels, increased temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, and risk of cardiac arrest and seizure; Crack users may experience acute respiratory problems, including coughing, shortness of breath, and lung trauma and bleeding. Injectable cocaine users are at risk for infections such as hepatitis and HIV. Also, cocaine users are more likely to participate in risky behaviors, such as sharing needles, and unprotected sex, exposing themselves to all kinds of other health risks.