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What is Cocaine?
Cocaine came from the leaves of the coca plant or Erythroxylon Coca. For thousands of years, South American People ingested and chewed coca leaves because of the stimulating effect it produces. Cocaine tops the list as one of the most potent drugs in the world. When a person starts to use cocaine, it is almost impossible to break free from its deadly grip. Cocaine contains properties that can affect both the physical and mental aspects of an individual. Cocaine can over-stimulate brain receptors and nerve endings that can create a euphoric feeling or intense ‘high’.
Black market dealers call cocaine in names which include:
Usually, dealers often dilute or ‘cut’ cocaine with other harmless substances to yield more and increase their sales. Cocaine sold in the black market often includes talcum powder, cornstarch, or baking soda. Similarly, dealers may mix other drugs in their cocaine mixture. Cocaine may sometimes mix with other drugs like amphetamine and procaine, a chemical associated as an anesthetic.
Several Uses of Cocaine in the Past
People use cocaine hydrochloride, the refined chemical form for more than a century. In the early 1990s, several tonics and elixirs contain this drug as their main ingredient. These tonics use to treat several diseases. Back in the days, Coca-Cola used to mix cocaine in their famous drink. Physicians use the drug before the discovery of synthetic local anesthetic to block pain for medical procedures.
But over time, studies shows that cocaine contains addictive substances that can affect the structures and the function of the brain if used constantly.
Government Controlled Substance
Presently, the United States Food and Drug Administration or FDA labeled cocaine as a Schedule II drug. This means cocaine contains properties that have a high potential for abuse. However, doctors can still use the drug for valid medical reasons like as local anesthesia for ear, throat and eye surgeries. As a recreational drug, cocaine looks like a fine, translucent and crystalline powder.
Types of Cocaine
Users misuse two chemical types of cocaine, the freebase cocaine or water-insoluble cocaine and the water-soluble (hydrochloride salt) type.
The drug can also take the form of small white rocks. Users process this type of cocaine using ammonia or baking soda to get rid some of the impurities from the drug referred to as “freebasing”. Then they will let the rest of the mixture to dry to rocks. In the black market, these rocks are sold in small bags and smoked. The term crack refers to the crackling sound when users the mixture is heated and smoked. Crack cocaine contains the same addictive properties and side effects but is less expensive than its powdered counterpart.
In its powdered form, users snort or dissolved cocaine and inject it into the bloodstream. When consumed, cocaine in this form can cause euphoria, extreme alertness, and energy. Others mix the drug with a flammable solvent which separates the impurities and inhale the vapors. Some users mix it with heroin, a mixture known as a speedball because of the intense rush high that it gives.
A super expensive habit
Powder cocaine is an expensive habit, people spends billions of dollar worldwide to funds their addiction. A single user can spend thousands of dollars in a short period of time because the drug can cause binges. Along with cocaine abuse, users may also use other substances and even prostitutes as a part of their high-spending lifestyle.
Cocaine does not provide a long-lasting effect; in return, users may take it more frequently to get the desired high effect. This often leads to tolerance and users may need higher doses to get the same effect.
One deadly powder
Cocaine abuse can cause several deadly effects such as panic attacks, psychosis, hallucinations, and paranoia. Excessive use of cocaine can lead to death because of stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, heart attack and respiratory failure. Even children of cocaine-addicted mothers suffer addiction when they came into this world. The drug can also cause several birth defects if the mother uses cocaine during pregnancy. However, despite the dangerous effect of cocaine, it still prevalent in most areas.
Facts about Cocaine:
- A gram of pure cocaine cost around $150 in the United States. This makes the drug one of the most expensive recreational drug in the black market.
- Cocaine is a popular drug of choice for the upper-class people, which gave its name as the “rich man’s drug”.
- Scotland tops the list as the highest cocaine use in the world. An estimated 2.4 percent of the total population or 1 in every 40 Scots uses the drug.
- Cocaine remains as the most potent central nervous system stimulant found in nature.
- The ancient Inca civilization believed that the drug was a gift from the gods.
- In1859, the first extract of cocaine from the coca leaves was marketed as coca wine in France.
- Doctors first use cocaine as a local anesthesia in the eye, nose and throat surgeries in 1880 in the country.
- On the South Pole exploration, Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton both took cocaine tablets in their mission.
- During the early times, chemists use cocaine hydrochloride, the refined chemical from the coca leaves. They use it as the main ingredient for several elixirs and tonics. These tonics said to treat various diseases in the early 1900s.
- Coca-Cola initially contained about nine milligrams of cocaine per bottle. In 1903, the giant beverage company removed the addictive ingredient from their drink. But the cocaine-free drink still used the coca leaf in their logo.
- Chronic use of the drug can separate the user’s nose cartilage destroying it permanently.
- Cocaine can cause dehydration and dry mouth which results in bad breath and tooth decay.
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