Cocaine is a by-product of the coca plant’s leaves. Technically, it is the alkaloid component uniquely found in the leaves. While there are some 300 families of the plant, there are only two which contain sufficient amount of cocaine for the purpose of refinement. Found in only Central and South America, this alkaloid component is an extremely powerful stimulant that has been used for years before becoming a popular illicit substance.
Through the use of varying substances for drying and processing the cocaine, its overall purity is also modified. The specific effects of these additives on cocaine have not been discovered until now, but several types of research have been dedicated towards the full understanding of its presence in processed cocaine. Meanwhile, the most common substances used to process cocaine, include:
Synthetic cocaine is different in that it is only a mimic of the processed kind. Not originating from the organic coca plant, synthetic cocaine manufacturers make them possible through hidden labs across the globe. While there are synthetic cocaine products specially made for illicit purposes, the incidents are actually rare as most of this kind is incorporated in soft drinks as a flavoring agent and even in hospitals as a potent pain reliever.
The synthetic products have both legal and illegal versions, but are manufactured with common ingredients as alcohols and amino acids. Most of the synthetic formulas, however, are kept secret due to patents and copyright issues.
Second to Mexican Cartels, Colombian mafia is presently exploring possible markets like Asia, Europe, Argentina, and Brazil. Several large Colombian groups have been disintegrated since 1980, during the Medellin Cartel heyday. The coca crops reduction has also been a big factor in lessening the profits, which in turn has also affected the magnitude of smuggled cocaine products by crime syndicates.
Cocaine has often been glamorized in television shows and movies. While the dangers have already been made known to the public, it has remained extremely popular and one of the drugs of choice for recreational users. According to statistics, 14% of the entire adult population in the U.S. has tried this drug at least once in their lives.
The effects of cocaine use are not only obvious amongst rehab centers and medical professionals. Remember, there is no other illegal substance that has driven more people to emergency rooms that cocaine. It is not only mentally and physically addictive; it is extremely harmful in hundreds of ways.
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