Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug that comes from the coca plant leaves. South American people used the drug chewed the leaves of the coca plant to help them perform at work. The Andes Mountain is well-known for its altitude; workers consume the drug to help them breathe in thin air.
In the country, the government labeled cocaine as a Schedule II drug. This type of drugs contains addictive properties and poses health hazards. Even though cocaine generates addiction, the medical community still uses cocaine as a local anesthesia for the eye, ear, and throat surgeries.
The drug commonly sold illegally as a fine, white and crystalline powder. Because of its appearance, dealers often mix cocaine with non-psychoactive substances like flour, cornstarch, and baking soda to yield more of the drug, increasing their profits.
If the health hazards are not enough, some users mix the drug with other drugs like heroin or coined as a ‘speedball’.
Cocaine hydrochloride is the purest form and was first discovered more than 100 years ago. It acts as the main ingredient for several elixirs and tonics. Even the famous Coca-Cola got its name from cocaine, as it used it as their main ingredient for the drink. People in the early times believed that these tonics can cure various illnesses.
Over the past few years, studies show that cocaine can generate addiction easily and can damage brain structures and its functions. Today, users snort, smoke and inject cocaine to get the intense high it produces.
As a fast acting drug, cocaine can take effect within 2 seconds up to several minutes after taking it. The effect usually last from 5 minutes to 90 minutes.
Narcotics comes from the Greek word, “to make numb”, initially referring to the psychoactive compound that induces sleep. In the United States, narcotics are often associated with opiates and opioids. Some of the drugs under this group include morphine, heroin, and codeine.
Today, the term narcotics are sometimes associated with negative implications. However, in the medical community, narcotics are more defined and do not carry the same negative implications. In the US legal context, narcotics would simply mean prohibited drugs. It can also suggest drugs that are under strict government regulation like cannabis and cocaine.
Also, narcotics is not a technical term and do not have a strict definition. The term varied throughout history. In medical term, it means any sort of drugs that induces sleep or produces ‘tranquilizing effect’.
The legislative classification of narcotics carries heavy penalties for violating the regulations. Under the law, narcotics are:
The US Food and Drug Administration classified cocaine as a Schedule II drug in 1922. Because it contains properties like:
Drugs classified under Schedule II usually generate addiction and are dangerous. Breaking the regulation under this class of drugs is punishable under the law and would mean longer prison times. In most states and under the law, classification of cocaine enforces severe penalties compare to other non-narcotic drugs.
Narcotics have more broad terms that it includes cocaine under its specifications. Even though cocaine does not belong to these drugs, the government classified cocaine as narcotic because of its detrimental side effects. These drugs act as a downer in the central nervous system or referred to as a ‘downer’. Meanwhile, cocaine is a stimulant and does not fall under this drug classification. Similarly, ‘downers’ particularly opiate affect the brain differently compares to cocaine, as ‘uppers’.
So in summary cocaine is not a narcotic but is labeled as such to impose heavy fines and penalties to those who will break the law.
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Dr. Vikram Tarugu, M.D, is the CEO of Detox of South Florida, Inc and medical professional focused on addiction. A veteran in the medical field with over 25 years of professional experience. He is a consultant for many South Florida Rehab centers. Patients travel from allover the US to seek his help with addiction and Hepatitis C treatment.
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