Cocaine is extracted from the leaves of the coca bush. It is grown primarily in Columbia, Peru and Bolivia, South America, and is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a very high potential for abuse and addiction. The most well known form of cocaine is the white powder that is commonly snorted through the nose. Also very well known is crack cocaine, which is the cheapest form and is crystalized in a rock formation and smoked.
When cocaine is snorted, the cocaine powder gets inhaled up into the nose where it is readily absorbed into the bloodstream. Once cocaine reaches the brain, dopamine gets released, triggering pleasurable feelings. Because it is a stimulant, cocaine has always been a major party drug. It is easily dealt on the streets because it is sold in small packets.
In 2010, The US Ranked Third Among Surveyed Countries in Cocaine Use
There are numerous severe medical complications associated with cocaine use, some of the most frequent of which are cardiovascular problems such as disturbances in heart rhythm and heart attacks. Other risks include chest pain and respiratory failure; neurological effects including strokes, seizures, and headaches; and gastrointestinal complications, including abdominal pain and nausea. Cocaine use has been linked to many types of heart disease, and has been found to trigger chaotic heart rhythms called ventricular fibrillation; accelerate heartbeat and breathing; and increase blood pressure and body temperature.
Different routes of cocaine administration can produce different adverse effects. Regularly snorting cocaine, for example, can lead to loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, hoarseness, and an overall irritation of the nasal septum, which can lead to a chronically inflamed, runny nose. Ingested cocaine can cause severe bowel gangrene, due to reduced blood-flow. And abusers who inject cocaine have puncture marks and “tracks”, most commonly in their forearms. Intravenous cocaine users may also experience an allergic reaction, either to the drug, or to some additive in street cocaine, which can in severe cases, result in death. Because cocaine has a tendency to decrease food intake, many chronic cocaine users lose their appetites and can experience significant weight-loss and malnourishment.
Other effects of cocaine use include heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, and seizures. Large amounts can cause bizarre and violent behavior. In rare cases, sudden death can occur upon the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter. The physiological effects of cocaine include constricted blood vessels; dilated pupils; and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Large amounts (several hundred milligrams or more) intensify the user’s high, but may also lead to bizarre, erratic, and violent behavior. These users may experience tremors, vertigo, muscle twitches, paranoia, or, with repeated doses, a toxic reaction closely resembling amphetamine poisoning. Some users of cocaine report feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest. Use of cocaine on a binge, during which the drug is taken repeatedly and at increasingly high doses, leads to a state of increasing irritability, restlessness, and paranoia. This may result in full-blown paranoid psychosis, in which the individual loses touch with reality and experiences auditory hallucinations.
The National Referral Center for Cocaine Addiction (NRCCA) was created as an information source for anyone seeking help in finding a quality rehab program for themselves or their loved ones in the United States. Call us 24/7 at (888) 515-7707 .