Cocaine, also known as coke, is a strong stimulant mostly used as a recreational drug. The word cocaine refers to the drug in a powder form or crystal form. The powder is usually mixed with substances such as corn starch, talcum powder and/or sugar or other drugs such as procaine or amphetamines.
Extracted from coca leaves, cocaine was originally developed as a painkiller. It is most often sniffed, with the powder absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal tissues. It can also be ingested or rubbed into the gums for direct absorption into the blood stream.
Once a person begins taking the drug, it has proven almost impossible to become free of its grip physically and mentally, one time usage leads to thousands of more usage.
Physical symptoms; may include a fast heart rate, sweating, and large pupils. High doses can result in very high blood pressure or body temperature
Mental effects; may include loss of contact with reality, an intense feeling of happiness, or agitation.
Why is it so addictive?
Cocaine is addictive due to its effect on the reward pathway in the brain. After a short period of use, there is a high risk that dependence will occur. It stimulates key receptors within the brain that, in turn, create an ecstasy (intense joy and happiness within the body) to which users quickly develop a tolerance and become use to that feeling, it then conditions the body to totally rely on it effect over and over again.
Cocaine is a powerful nervous system stimulant. Its effects can last from 15 or 30 minutes to an hour. The duration of cocaine's effects depends on the amount taken and the route of administration.
What are the Complications
Cocaine use can lead to death from respiratory (breathing) failure, stroke, cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) and heart attack.
Recognizing an addiction is the first step to losing it. Depending on the nature of the abuse, some patients who seek help will be advised to attend a residential rehabilitation program, or a structured day program. Medications can treat the symptoms related to cocaine withdrawal, but there is no substitute drug that can effectively help a patient recover from a cocaine dependency. Individuals who stop using the drug will have powerful cravings that can last for years. Counseling, social support, and some specialist medications may help.