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Cocaine is produced as a white chunky powder. It is sold most often in aluminum
foil, plastic or paper packets, or small vials. Cocaine is usually chopped
into a fine powder with a razor blade on a small mirror or some other hard
surface, arranged into small rows called "lines," then quickly inhaled
(or "snorted") through the nose with a short straw or rolled up paper
money. It can also be injected into the blood stream.
Cocaine, the most potent stimulant of natural origin, is extracted from the
leaves of the coca plant (Erythroxylon coca), which is indigenous to the Andean
highlands of South America. It is a potent brain stimulant and one of the most
powerfully addictive drugs. In ancient times, South American natives used coca
for religious and medicinal purposes. They used its stimulant properties to
fight fatigue and hunger, and to enhance endurance. The Spanish conquistador
banned coca at first, but when they discovered that the addicted natives could
barely work the fields in the gold mines without it, they began to distribute
it to the workers three or four times a day.
Cocaine produces its pleasurable high by interfering with the brain’s
pleasure centers where such chemicals as dopamine are produced. The drug traps
an excess amount of dopamine in the brain, causing an elevated sense of well
being. Cocaine acts as a stimulant to the body. In turn, the drug cause blood
vessels to restrict, increases the body’s temperature, heart rate, and
blood pressure, and cause the pupils to dilate. Cocaine also increases one’s
breathing rate. Cocaine causes such pleasurable effects as reduced fatigue,
increased mental clarity, and a rush of energy. However, the more one takes
cocaine, the less one feels its pleasurable effects, which causes the addict
to take higher and higher doses of cocaine in an attempt to recapture the intensity
of that initial high.
In any case, a cocaine high does not last very long.
The average high an user gets from snorting cocaine only lasts for 15-30 minutes.
These highs are less intense, as it takes longer for the drug to be absorbed
into the bloodstream when snorted. A smoking high, although more intense
due to the rapidity in which the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream, lasts
an even shorter period of only about five to ten minutes. After the euphoric
high comes the crashing low, in which the addict craves more of the drug
and in larger doses.
There are serious health risks associated with cocaine use.
These include but are not limited to:
Here are the most predominate signs of cocaine use:
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