What is Cocaine?
- Cocaine Hydrochloride (“coke,” “blow”) is a bitter, numbing, white powder derived from the leaves of the coca plant, which grows mainly in South America.
- Coca Cola used to contain cocaine (hence the name), and so did many other over-the-counter food and medicine products.
- Cocaine is usually sold in small baggies for $60-$100 per gram.
- Crack cocaine is made by chemically altering cocaine powder into crystals or “rocks” that can be smoked.
How is Cocaine Used?
- The leaves of the coca plant can be chewed or made into a tea and drunk. Coca leaves are used this way legally in many countries as a mild stimulant similar to caffeine.
- Most often powder cocaine is snorted in small lines. The effects come on gradually and peak after about 15-30 minutes, with a total duration of about an hour.
- When smoked in the form of “crack” the effects come on immediately but wear off much more quickly.
- When injected, the effects are felt immediately and much more intensely.
What is the Dosage?
- A typical snorted dose is between 30-70mg.
- Frequent users develop a tolerance for the drug and tend to use more.
What are the Effects of Cocaine?
- Cocaine is a stimulant drug like speed but much shorter acting.
- It causes a sudden increase in heart rate, blood pressure and breathing.
- It also leads to feelings of confidence, alertness and euphoria.
- Use of any stimulant drug can lead to sleep deprivation and insomnia, which may contribute to impairment in cognition, mood, and memory.
- Drinking alcohol while using cocaine substantially increases the risk of heart and liver problems.
- Cocaine and crack are very short-acting. This can lead to using too much or too often.
- Many users become compulsive in their use of cocaine, which can lead to physical or psychological addiction.
- The after-effects can include depression, agitation, anxiety, and paranoia, and these effects can last for hours or days.
- The intensity of these effects depend on how much and how often cocaine is used, and are more intense when cocaine is smoked as crack.
- High or frequent doses have caused seizures, strokes or heart attacks in some people.
- Repeated snorting can damage the membranes of the nose. Sharing straws can spread Hepatitis C and other diseases. Dollar bills are very dirty and should not be used for snorting.
- Over 80 percent of all U.S. cocaine is cut with an adulterant called levamisole, which causes a severe immune disorder in some regular users. Symptoms can include dark skin spots around extremities and respiratory infections.
- Cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance and is illegal to possess, distribute, or manufacture in the United States. Penalties can include long prison sentences.