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Cocaine

What is cocaine?

Cocaine is a drug obtained from the leaves of coca plant (Erythroxylum Coca). Pure cocaine has a chemical formula C17H21NO4. Cocaine can be smoked, consumed orally, inhaled or administered using suppositories.

Cocaine appears in several forms, but pure cocaine is a white and pearly powder. Cocaine can also exist as crack cocaine, a freebase form of cocaine containing baking soda and other impurities. Cocaine also appears in a liquid form as cocaine hydrochloride for medical use. The amount of cocaine found in any form varies largely by dealer.

Cocaine is also known by names such as Barbs, Blow, Coke, Dream, Foo-foo dust, Her, King’s habit, Peruvian lady and Snow. Crack cocaine is also known in the streets as Crack, Rock, Iron, Cavvy, Beam, Bopper, Candy, CDs, Electric kool-aid, Girl, Mighty white, Pop, Real tops, Rock, SevenUp, Space, Twinkie and Yam.

How is cocaine made?

To make cocaine, coca leaves are processed by soaking them in water with lime to release the alkaloids. Then, a solvent such as kerosene or diesel is added to the mixture to recover alkaloids and then dried to make a paste. Chemicals like ether and sulfuric acid are then added into the paste to increase purity and create cocaine hydrochloride. It takes 100 to 150 kilos of dry coca leaves to make a kilo of cocaine paste, and it’s a bit amazing that this process is still used by clandestine labs to make several tons a day.

Cocaine effects

Cocaine is a stimulant – the most powerful stimulant found in nature. In general, cocaine has an uncontrolled stimulating effect in the body. The effects of cocaine soon after administration are called a “high”. Snorting or injecting cocaine can produce a high sooner than other routes of administration. Common effects of cocaine include:

  • raised blood pressure
  • raised heart rate
  • spikes in brain activity

Cocaine’s mechanism of action

Cocaine easily crosses the blood-brain barrier (one of the few drugs able to do so) and enters the brain where it immediately interacts by stimulating the neurotransmitter dopamine. In fact, cocaine works by overstimulation of the receptors on the postsynaptic neuron of a brain nerve, either by increasing the amount of dopamine in the synapse through excessive presynaptic release or by inhibiting dopamine’s pattern of reuptake or chemical breakdown. Because the receptors are stimulated for an extended period of time, the user experiences elevated mood, less fatigue, more energy and strength and restlessness.

Cocaine overdose

The main problem with cocaine is that it causes unpredictable constriction of blood vessels in the body, causing reduced or loss of supply of blood to vital organs like the kidneys, liver, brain and heart. Cocaine overdose can lead to organ damage or stroke. In addition, high amounts of cocaine can exert intense stimulation to brain cells that cause abnormally high spikes of electrical activity and result to life-threatening seizures.

Anyone who uses cocaine can experience overdose because the purity of street-brought drug can fluctuate wildly. Here are signs and symptoms of cocaine overdose:

  • breathing difficulties; gasping breath, or irregular breathing
  • coldness of the hands, feet and body core (hypothermia)
  • heart beat irregularities; heart rate too fast, weak or out of rhythm
  • high blood pressure, heart failure and heart attack
  • incontinence
  • loss of consciousness and passing out
  • seizures

Cocaine naive users can experience overdose even from a small amount of high-purity cocaine. The threat of cocaine overdose is multiplied when other drugs like methamphetamine and alcohol are used concurrently. Cocaine overdose can easily proceed to life-threatening situation, so immediate medical help is necessary. A person overdosed with cocaine can die from heart attack, shock or organ failure.

If you happen to find a person with signs and symptoms of cocaine overdose, call 911 or contact poison control center immediately. Do not give any water, coffee or any liquid to the victim. Try to keep him or her awake. Do not leave the victim, and follow instructions of the medical professional on the end of the line. If the victim is unconscious and has no breathing or heartbeat, you or others may need to perform emergency CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) until paramedics arrive. In case the victim has seizures, do not try to hold him or put a towel in his mouth. Just clear the area to avoid the victim from hurting himself, and put him in the recovery position to reduce risk of choking in case he vomits.

For more information on cocaine, see:

Cocaine

Rehab for cocaine

Rehab for cocaine

September 22nd, 2017

Are you ready to kick a cocaine habit? Are you frustrated and heartbroken about your loved one’s addiction? Find out more about rehab for cocaine addiction, and start moving toward a healthier life today.

Cocaine Metabolism in the Body: How Coke Affects the Brain (INFOGRAPHIC)

Cocaine Metabolism in the Body: How Coke Affects the Brain (INFOGRAPHIC)

September 14th, 2017

Cocaine reaches the brain almost immediately after you take it. But how does it move through the body? How is cocaine metabolized? Discover the exact effects cocaine has on each organ of the body in this infographic.

Cocaine rehabilitation: How long?

Cocaine rehabilitation: How long?

August 12th, 2017

How long does it take to overcome cocaine addiction? Rehabs last a MIN 28 days — MAX 3-12 months. Review duration of length and how to choose a treatment that’s right for you. Details and descriptions of the best treatment options here.

1 Cocaine rehab treatment: What to expect?

Cocaine rehab treatment: What to expect?

August 2nd, 2017

Are you ready to enter a cocaine addiction rehab? But, what can you expect during cocaine rehabilitation? Learn here.

Crack rehab treatment: What to expect?

Crack rehab treatment: What to expect?

July 22nd, 2017

The best way to stop using crack is with medical supervision. But, what can you expect during crack rehab? We review here.

2 Cocaine addiction help: Who needs treatment? (INFOGRAPHIC)

Cocaine addiction help: Who needs treatment? (INFOGRAPHIC)

March 29th, 2017

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that about 584.000 people have sought treatment for a cocaine problem within the past year. Check out this infographic to learn who needs and seeks cocaine addiction treatment help in the U.S.

2 Rehab cocaine addiction: When to choose inpatient vs. outpatient

Rehab cocaine addiction: When to choose inpatient vs. outpatient

March 28th, 2017

Looking for cocaine rehab treatment? Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of inpatient vs. outpatient treatment settings. Then, make the best choice for yourself. More on treatment options here.

When does cocaine kick in?

When does cocaine kick in?

March 20th, 2017

The onset of cocaine effects can be felt within 5 to 10 minutes after you take the drug. But have you ever wondered which factors can influence cocaine onset time? We explain, here.

8 How much cocaine is too much?

How much cocaine is too much?

March 12th, 2017

It’s hard to say what are the exact doses that cause cocaine fatalities. Read more about the effects of too much cocaine and how to avoid a cocaine overdose.

8 The Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline Chart

The Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline Chart

March 8th, 2017

Anxiety, confusion and depression are only few cocaine withdrawal symptoms. What are the others and how long do they last? Explore our infographic to find out!

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Leave a Reply

7 Responses to “Cocaine
Luis
3:23 pm May 28th, 2017

Question why after cocain my pupils don’t dialate till way after I took the cocain should it be instantly?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
4:53 pm May 30th, 2017

Hi Luis. No. Pupils dilate when cocaine kicks in, which takes anywhere from 5 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

Wayne
4:35 pm August 14th, 2017

How long till my blood is clear for a cocaine blood test

2:26 pm August 15th, 2017

Hi Wayne. Small part of a cocaine dose may stay in the system and be detected in blood for 48 hours after use. Many users may develop cocaine tolerance, and the changes in cocaine concentrations in storage are also crucial for blood testing. Unlike other drugs, cocaine has a large overlap between toxic, lethal and therapeutic concentrations. There are cases when no cocaine presence in the blood was measured, even after prolonged use.

Kristen
7:43 am September 6th, 2017

IT seems like Cocaine have very adverse effects on ones behavior. Everyone should be aware of it and try to help others as well.

Leigh
7:14 am October 11th, 2017

So about a month 1/2 ago I did some lines of coke at a party. It wasn’t my first time and unfortunately I don’t know how many times I have ever done it. People always say it takes absolutely a lot to actually cause damage, and I was no where near “a lot” compared to what my friends were doing! Although, this time I feel like it was different. The next morning I woke up with a normal head cold. Symptoms were running nose, stuffy nose, congestion, and it was all in my head. It wasn’t strep or anything just a cold. Well, two weeks go by and my head cold was gone but I just had congestion in my lungs and a cough, also it’s during this whole season change. Now, a month and a half later, I still can’t smell anything or taste anything…. I’m really scared but people just keep saying It’s probably just from the cold.. but I genuinely don’t know! I want to be able to smell, and taste things… Could it be from the coke or the season change? Should I go to the doctor?

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
3:23 pm October 20th, 2017

Hi Leigh. It seem to me that you have experienced cocaine withdrawal. Download our free e-book ‘The Definitive Guide To Withdrawal’ to learn more: http://addictionblog.org/ebooks/the-definitive-guide-to-drug-withdrawal/

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