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Cocaine



One who is thinking about using cocaine should know about the effects, forms, uses and administration of cocaine. Cocaine is an illegal drug from South America that effects the central nervous system. (“Cocaine,” The World Book Encyclopedia)

There are many effects of cocaine. Some are good, but most are bad. Euphoria, an energy boost, alertness, less need for sleep or food are the good effects. (OnHealth: Cocaine) Cocaine also makes breathing easier by widening the air sacks in the lungs. (Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, it’s methods of use, forms and pharmacology) The bad effects are: rapid speech, bizarre behavior, tremors, muscle twitches, paranoia, irritability, anxiety, heart attack, stroke, seizures, headaches, blurred vision, insomnia, and coma. Cocaine’s effects last for about 20 minutes. (OnHealth: Cocaine) Most of the bad effects are inconvenient, but some could result in death.

Cocaine has many forms and many different ways to administer it. There are 4 main ways to take cocaine, they are: ingestion, nasal insufflation (snorting), injection, inhalation (smoking). The 5 basic forms of cocaine are: coca leaves, coca paste, powder cocaine, freebase cocaine, and crack cocaine. Coca leaves are usually chewed like chewing tobacco, but can be rolled into cigarettes or cigars and smoked. Coca leaves can also be infused in liquid and consumed like tea. This form of ingestion takes about 30 minutes to enter the bloodstream. Coca paste is a chunky, off-white to light-brown, putty-like substance. It is usually an intermediate product in the processing of coca leaves into powder cocaine. It cannot be injected, insufflated, or ingested, although it can be inhaled. Powder cocaine is a white, powdery substance made by reacting coca paste with hydrochloric acid. Powder cocaine is usually nasally insufflated (snorted), but it is also easily injected or ingested, unlike base forms of cocaine, powder cocaine cannot be inhaled (smoked). Powder cocaine is injected by disolving it into water and injected into a vein using a hypodermic syringe. When injected, cocaine reaches the brain in one minute, physiological effects reach their peek in ten minutes and psychotropic effects reach their peek in four minutes. Cocaine base is produced from powder cocaine. Like coca paste, it is an intermediate between two steps of the cocaine making process and is not absorbed if injected, nasally insufflated, or injected. Unlike coca paste it cannot be smoked. Freebase Cocaine (crack) is derived from powder cocaine that has been dissolved in water and a strong alkaloid solution (i.e. ammonia). Freebase cocaine is inhaled (smoked) in pipes constructed of glass bowls fitted with one or more fine mesh screens that support the drug. Inhaling takes 19 seconds for the cocaine to reach the brain. Freebase cocaine's physiological effects reach their peek in 2 minutes, and psychotropic effects reach their peek in one minute. Because freebase cocaine is purer than coca paste or powder cocaine, many users believed that it was a healthier form of the drug. 10- 20% of the cocaine abusing population was using freebase cocaine during the 1970's, although, many didn't because of its complexity and potential danger. One of the dangers is that ether could ignite, or explode, if the freebase is smoked before the ether has evaporated entirely. (Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, its methods of use, forms and pharmacology)

Although illegal use of cocaine has increased rapidly since the 1970's, a few surgeons prescribe cocaine as a painkiller during certain kinds of surgery. ("Cocaine," The World Book Encyclopedia. 1996 Ed.) In 1855 cocaine began being isolated and used as an anesthetic in minor surgery. ("Cocaine," Funk & Wagnall’s New Encyclopedia) Sigmund Freud, a psychiatrist in the 1880's, created a sensation with a series of papers praising cocaine's potential to cure depression, alcoholism, and morphine addiction. (Facts About Cocaine) During the 1800's cocaine was promoted as a remedy for such respiratory ailments such as asthma, whooping cough, and tuberculosis. (Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, it’s methods of use, forms and pharmacology) Cocaine was used as a local anesthetic for eye, ear, and throat surgery and continues today to have limited use in surgery. (Facts About Cocaine) In the 1890's, cocaine was an ingredient in cigars, cigarettes, chewing gum, and Coca- Cola. (Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, it’s methods of use, forms and pharmacology)

Today, people from all kinds of backgrounds use cocaine. Young, single people are the most common users, with male users outnumbering female users 2 to 1. (Facts About Cocaine) People usually try cocaine at the young age of 14-years. 1.8 million Americans were cocaine users last year. (OnHealth: Cocaine) 1-tenth of the population has tried cocaine at least once. That's 22 million people! (Causes and Effects of Cocaine)

Cocaine can be extremely habit-forming. When the effects wear off (after 20- 40 minutes) people often feel depressed and take another dose. ("Cocaine," The World Book Encyclopedia) Psychological dependence exists when a drug is so central to a person's thoughts, emotions and activities that it becomes a craving or compulsion. Researchers do not presently agree on what constitutes physical dependence on cocaine, but when a regular heavy user stops taking the drug, they experience a "crash" shortly after. (Facts About Cocaine)

I hope my paper has helped everyone to learn more about cocaine, and that it is an illegal drug and should not be used without good reason and a doctor’s permission.


Works Cited

Causes and Effects of Cocaine. 12 November 2000 http://www.faadrug.com/cocaine/htm

Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, It's Methods of Use, Forms and Pharmacology. 12 November 2000 http://www.streetdrug.org/crack2.htm

"Cocaine." Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia. 1986 ed.

"Cocaine." The World Book Encyclopidia. 1996 ed.

Facts about Cocaine. 12 November 2000 http://www.arf.org/isd/pim/cocaine.html

OnHealth: Cocaine. 12 November 2000 http://onhealth.com/ch1/condctr/substance/item,51695.asp



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