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Crack and Cocaine

Crack and Cocaine

Other names used: big C, coke, blow, nose candy, flake, white, lady. Once these stimulants are used in any form the dangerous game begins. Derived from the leaf of the coca plant, cocaine is processed into a white powder and passed along to street dealers and users. Initially, the powder form sometimes called coke, blow or C gained wide usage as an inhalant.

How Is Cocaine Used?

The powdered form of cocaine is either inhaled through the nose (snorted), where it is absorbed through the nasal tissue, or dissolved in water and injected into the bloodstream.

Crack is a form of cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal (also called “freebase cocaine”) that can be smoked. The crystal is heated to produce vapors that are absorbed into the blood-stream through the lungs. (The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated.)

The intensity and duration of cocaine’s pleasurable effects depend on the way it is administered. Injecting or smoking cocaine delivers the drug rapidly into the bloodstream and brain, producing a quicker and stronger but shorter-lasting high than snorting. The high from snorting cocaine may last 15 to 30 minutes; the high from smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes.

In order to sustain their high, people who use cocaine often use the drug in a binge pattern—taking the drug repeatedly within a relatively short period of time, at increasingly higher doses. This practice can easily lead to addiction, a chronic relapsing disease caused by changes in the brain and characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter the consequences.

Other names used: big C, coke, blow, nose candy, flake, white, lady. Once these stimulants are used in any form the dangerous game begins. Derived from the leaf of the coca plant, cocaine is processed into a white powder and passed along to street dealers and users. Initially, the powder form sometimes called coke, blow or C gained wide usage as an inhalant.

Other names used: big C, coke, blow, nose candy, flake, white, lady. Once these stimulants are used in any form the dangerous game begins. http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine

How Does Cocaine Affect the Brain?

Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain circuits regulating pleasure and movement.

Normally, dopamine is released by neurons in these circuits in response to potential rewards (like the smell of good food) and then recycled back into the cell that released it, thus shutting off the signal between neurons. Cocaine prevents the dopamine from being recycled, causing excessive amounts to build up in the synapse, or junction between neurons. This amplifies the dopamine signal and ultimately disrupts normal brain communication. It is this flood of dopamine that causes cocaine’s characteristic high.

With repeated use, cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward system as well as other brain systems, which may lead to addiction. With repeated use, tolerance to cocaine also often develops; many cocaine abusers report that they seek but fail to achieve as much pleasure as they did from their first exposure. Some users will increase their dose in an attempt to intensify and prolong their high, but this can also increase the risk of adverse psychological or physiological effects.

What Are the Other Health Effects of Cocaine?

Cocaine affects the body in a variety of ways. It constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, and increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Because cocaine tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished as well.

Most seriously, people who use cocaine can suffer heart attacks or strokes, which may

Cocaine affects the body in a variety of ways. It constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, and increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Because cocaine tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished as well.

Cocaine affects the body in a variety of ways. It constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, and increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Because cocaine tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished as well.

cause sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of the heart stopping (cardiac arrest) followed by an arrest of breathing.

People who use cocaine also put themselves at risk for contracting HIV, even if they do not share needles or other drug paraphernalia. This is because cocaine intoxication impairs judgment and can lead to risky sexual behavior.

Some effects of cocaine depend on the method of taking it. Regular snorting of cocaine, for example, can lead to loss of the sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, hoarseness, and a chronically runny nose. Ingesting cocaine by the mouth can cause severe bowel gangrene as a result of reduced blood flow. Injecting cocaine can bring about severe allergic reactions and increased risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis C, and other blood-borne diseases.

Binge-patterned cocaine use may lead to irritability, restlessness, and anxiety. Cocaine abusers can also experience severe paranoia—a temporary state of full-blown paranoid psychosis—in which they lose touch with reality and experience auditory hallucinations.

Cocaine is more dangerous when combined with other drugs or alcohol (poly-drug use). For example, the combination of cocaine and heroin (known as a “speedball”) carries a particularly high risk of fatal overdose.

It was sometimes liquefied for injection into the blood stream. Then later, a process was employed to convert the powder into a solid substance that could be smoked. “Crack” is the name given to the product because of the “cracking” noise that results when used.

Using cocaine in any form can be a deadly business and even a first time user can suffer heart attack, stroke or respiratory failure. In all cases blood pressure is increased, heart beat rises, and both breathing rate and body temperature are effected.

Regardless of how cocaine is processed or used it is highly addictive. Smoking and vapor inhaling of cocaine in a “free base” seem to trigger compulsion most rapidly. However, intravenous injection brings equally powerful consequences with the added potential of AIDS or hepatitis.

Addiction to cocaine will cause serious damage to both physical and mental health. The user is quickly drawn into a spiral of increased dependency. Ultimately, addiction to crack or cocaine can become so powerful as to take control of nearly every aspect of the addict’s life. It is not uncommon for users to become “dealers,” spending every penny they earn to support their habit. People under frequent influence of crack and cocaine are living a life of constant risk. And, since both use and possession are criminal acts the individual caught up in the addiction can face not only the loss of property but possible jail time.

When cocaine is used with alcohol added complications arise. The two substances work in conjunction for higher highs and lower lows. The physical effects of both substances working together pose particular concerns for sudden heart failure, loss of consciousness, and inability to coordinate. Cocaine and crack use have been major factors in auto accidents, deaths by drowning, and suicides.

 

Some added facts about cocaine addiction:

  • Cocaine is among the most powerfully addictive drugs.
  • Frequent and heavy use of crack or cocaine can produce hallucinations, paranoia, depression and insomnia.
  • Cocaine in nearly any form will cause elevated blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Excessive use of cocaine or crack, may result in respiratory failure or death.
  • Cocaine use increases risk of HIV and hepatitis when injected.

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