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Cocaine: Basic Facts

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a drug (paste) extracted from the leaves of the South American coca plant. It is a strong stimulate that effect the body's central nervous system.

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug of abuse. Once having tried cocaine, users cannot predict or control the extent to they will continue to use the drug.
Street Names
Coke, Dust, Toot, Line, Nose Candy, Snow. Sneeze, Powder, Girl, White Pony, Flake, C, The Lady, Cain, Neurocain, Rock, Crack

What Does Cocaine Look Like?
Cocaine is a white crystalline powder. It is often mixed with sugar, cornstarch, vitamins and flour. Crack cocaine looks like a small rock, chunk or chip and it is sometimes off-white or pink in color.

How Is It Taken?
Cocaine can be injected, smoked, sniffed, or snorted.

Who Uses It?
Cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S.

Nearly one percent of Americans are currently using cocaine. Users can be from all economic status, all ages and all genders.

What Are the Effects of Cocaine?

The drug creates a strong sense of exhilaration. Users generally feel invincible, carefree, alert, euphoric and have a lot of energy. This is usually followed by agitation, depression, anxiety, paranoia and decreased appetite. The effects of cocaine generally last about two hours.

What Are the Hazards of Cocaine?
Cocaine is a potent and dangerous. The short-term and long-term effects of cocaine are equally dangerous. The dangers of experiencing cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory failure is equal in both short and long term abuse.

  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • High anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nasal infections
  • Nose bleeds
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sweating
  • Violent behavior
  • Twitching
  • Hallucinations
  • Chest pain

The long-term effects of using cocaine can include extreme agitation, violent mood swings and depression. Prolonged use of snorting cocaine cause ulcerations in the mucous membrane of the nose and holes and in the barrier separating the nostrils.

It can also result in a loss of appetite, extreme insomnia and sexual problems. Heart disease, heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, and gastrointestinal problems are not uncommon among long-term users of cocaine and crack.

What is Crack Cocaine?

Crack cocaine is a highly addictive and powerful stimulant that is derived from powdered cocaine. Crack is made by dissolving powdered cocaine in a mixture of water and ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). The mixture is boiled until a solid substance forms. It is removed from the liquid, dried, and then broken into the chunks (rocks) that are sold as crack cocaine.
Crack is nearly always smoked, delivering a large quantity of the drug to the lungs, producing an immediate and intense euphoric effect. Because of its availability and intense effects, crack has grown in popularity. Health risks and problems resulting from crack use are the same as those listed for cocaine, however because of the intensity of the drug it is a higher risk.

Is Cocaine Addictive?

Cocaine is highly addictive, leaving users with an overwhelming craving for the drug. The addiction to crack develops quickly, sometimes after just a few times of smoking it. Those addicted to cocaine or crack can find help with behavioral treatments including both residential and outpatient approaches.

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