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GENERAL INFORMATION

» Cocaine is derived from Erythroxylon coca, a plant native to South America.
» Cocaine has been used as a stimulant by people for thousands of years.
» It is highly addictive, leading addicts to be willing to pay thousands of dollars a week for it.

» It can be taken into the body by 3 ways:
   ¹ The leaves of the plant are sucked or chewed
   ² Cocaine powder (or cocaine hydrochloride) is sniffed, or diluted then injected
   ³ Freebase (or crack cocaine) is made by heating cocaine hydrochloride that is mixed with ammonia or baking powder. It is then either smoked from a pipe; burnt on a piece of tin foil; or mixed with tobacco or marijuana in a smokable joint.


» What is the difference between 'crack' and 'cocaine'?
   ¹ In the past, cocaine was mostly used in its powder form. It was either sniffed or diluted then injected into the body. Some abusers also cooked the cocaine with other drugs into a smokable form. This process of smoking is called freebasing.
   ² Freebasing was never popular, as it often created sudden deadly explosions (yes, things started to explode). However, in the early 1980s, drug dealers found a way to cook cocaine without the risk of explosion. Crack cocaine was born.
   ³ Crack is actually a less pure type of the cocaine used for freebasing. It has the super-high, super-strong effect of freebasing cocaine, but without the explosiveness. Also, it required very little amounts, and could be obtained quite cheaply. Suddenly, cocaine (which had been exlusive to rich men) became available for the poor. This can be said as the cause of the serious crack problem that our society faces now.

» Here are some of the characteristics of powder cocaine (cocaine hydrochloride) and crack:

Powder Cocaine
Crack
Very fine in texture, like flour. · Chemically processed into rock-like chunks, about the size of peas.
Often mixed with other drugs or substances (amphetamine, caffeine, strychnine, talcum powder, etc.,) making it more toxic. · Combined with ammonia or baking soda and may contain various impurities.
· Is sniffed up the nose; may be rubbed on gums or other tissues. · Is smoked in a pipe.
· Takes 15-30 minutes to have an effect. · Takes about 10 seconds to have an effect.
· Has a "high" that lasts 15-30 minutes. · Has a "high" that lasts less than 10 minutes.
· Is very expensive per dose. · Is not expensive by the dose.