Crack & Cocaine
a fast-acting nervous system stimulant, extracted from the leaves
of coca bush, a high altititude plant which grows in the Andes
of Bolivia, Peru and Colombia.
comes as a fine white powder (a salt, cocaine hydrochloride) which
is snorted in lines and rapidly absorbed through the nasal membranes.
also dab it on their teeth and gums. Cocaine has local anaesthetic
properties that numb the mucous membranes of the mouth, vagina,
rectum, and eye - if directly applied. Novocaine, of dentist's
syringe fame, is a synthetic cover-version of cocaine.
with baking powder (sodium bicarbonate) is "crack",
a smokeable version of cocaine with a shorter but more intense
hit (around five minutes).
'crack' after the sound it makes when you light it. It's not cheap
and can quickly induce a psychological dependency.
commonly associated with cocaine
language changes all of the time, so as soon as a list is published
it’s somewhat out of date. The slang used for cocaine in
your area may include some of these terms and/or some totally
new terms. Big C, Big Flake, Blow, Bump, C, Caine, Candy, Charlie,
Coca, Coke, Do a Line, Dust, Nose Candy, Powder, Snort, Sniff,
Soda, Speedball, and Yeyo (Spanish).
depend upon the purity of the product. In 2001, cocaine purity
declined by 8 percent, from 86 percent pure in 1998 to a 78 percent
pure in 2001. The decrease in purity indicates a decrease in the
supply of cocaine in the United States. Cocaine remained low and
stable, which suggests a steady supply to the United States. Nationwide,
prices ranged from $12,000 to $35,000 per kilogram.
four primary methods of ingesting cocaine. These are:
- absorbing cocaine through the mucous membranes of the nose.
- users mix cocaine powder with water and use a syringe to inject
the solution intravenously.
- Cocaine hydrochloride is converted to a "freebase"
which can then be smoked.
4. Crack Cocaine
- Cocaine hydrochloride is mixed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate
(baking soda) and other ingredients, causing it to solidify into
pellets or "rocks". The crack is then smoked in glass
of Cocaine use include but are not limited to:
* bloody nose
* increased energy
* talking rapidly
* rapid pulse and respiration
* dilated pupils
* altered motor activities (tremors, hyperactivity)
* runny nose
associated with inhaling cocaine includes mirrors, razor blades,
straws, and rolled paper money. Paraphernalia associated with
injecting the drug include syringes, needles, and spoons, along
with belts, bandanas, or surgical tubing used to constrict the
veins. Scales are used by dealers to weigh the drug. Sometimes
substances such as baking soda or mannitol are used to "cut"
cocaine in order to dilute the drug and increase the quantity
of the drug for sale.
can occur very quickly and can be very difficult to break. Animal
studies have shown that animals will work very hard (press a bar
over 10,000 times) for a single injection of cocaine, choose cocaine
over food and water, and take cocaine even when this behaviour
is punished. Animals must have their access to cocaine limited
in order to prevent taking toxic or even lethal doses.
have found that cocaine stimulates the brain's reward system inducing
an even greater feeling of pleasure than natural functions. In
turn, its influence on the reward circuit can lead a user to bypass
survival activities and repeat drug use. Chronic cocaine use can
lead to a cocaine addiction and in some cases damage the brain
and other organs. An addict will continue to use cocaine even
when faced with adverse consequences. Dependency can develop in
less than 2 weeks. Some research indicates that a psychological
dependency may develop after a single dose of high-potency cocaine.
As the person develops a tolerance to cocaine, higher and higher
doses are needed to produce the same level of euphoria.
use of sophisticated technology, scientists can actually see the
dynamic changes that occur in the brain as an individual takes
cocaine. They can observe the different brain changes that occur
as a person experiences the "rush," the "high,"
and finally the craving of cocaine. They can also identify parts
of the brain that become active when a cocaine addict sees or
hears environmental stimuli that trigger the craving for cocaine.
know that certain kinds of experiences, such as those involved
in learning, can physically change brain structure and affect
behaviour. Now, new research in rats shows that exposure to stimulant
drugs such as cocaine can impair the ability of specific brain
cells to change as a consequence of experience.
ability of experiences to alter brain structure is thought to
be one of the primary mechanisms by which the past can influence
behaviour and cognition,” says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D.
Volkow. “However, when these alterations in brain structure
are produced by drugs of abuse, they may lead to the development
of compulsive patterns of drug-seeking behaviours that are the
hallmark of addiction.”
conducted a series of experiments to examine how drugs of abuse
and experience might interact to produce changes in brain structure.
To accomplish this, they administered amphetamine, cocaine, or
saline repeatedly for 20 days to individually housed rats. This
pattern of drug administration was previously shown by these investigators
to produce both behavioural changes in response to the drugs and
structural changes in several brain regions. However, in the current
study, the researchers went one step further. After the 20-day
drug exposure, the rats were housed in a new environment for 3
to 3.5 months. Half of the drug- and saline-injected animals were
placed in standard laboratory cages; the other animals in each
group were housed in a complex environment. The environment contained
a variety of stimuli: multiple levels with ramps, bridges, a climbing
chain, tunnels, and toys that were rearranged once a week to encourage
continued exploration of the environment. At the end of 3 or 3.5
months, the rats’ brains were analyzed for changes in dendritic
branching and spine density. Specifically, the researchers examined
the spiny neurons in the nucleus accumbens and the pyramidal cells
in the parietal cortex. These areas were shown in previous studies
to be altered by experience and/or drugs of abuse. The nucleus
accumbens is involved in motivation and reward, and the parietal
cortex is important for sensory-motor function.
animals that had been given amphetamine and then placed in the
complex environment did not show the same environmental-induced
structural changes in the nucleus acccumbens and parietal cortex
as did saline-treated animals in the complex environment. The
results for those animals treated with cocaine were similar, in
that prior treatment with cocaine blocked the environment-induced
changes in the medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens (the
only region examined).
findings from this study indicate that at least some of the cognitive
and behavioural advantages that accrue with experience may be
diminished by prior exposure to psychostimulant drugs,”
says Dr. Kolb. “This impairment of the ability of specific
brain circuits to change in response to experiences may help explain
some of the behavioural and cognitive deficits seen in people
who are addicted to drugs. More research is warranted to determine
whether certain experiences, such as exposure to complex or rewarding
environments, can alter the ability of drugs to induce structural
changes in the brain. If exposure to psychostimulant drugs can
alter the effects of subsequent experience, experience may be
able to influence the later effects of drugs. It may even be possible
for certain experiences to counteract the effects of psychostimulant
of Cocaine addiction
of Cocaine addiction include but are not limited to:
* neglect of family responsibilities
* ignoring job demands
* social isolation
* neglect of body needs and hygiene
* disintegration of the mucous membrane
* collapse of the nasal septum
* selling of personal property
* mood swings
* weight loss
* change in friends
* change in daily schedule (staying out all night)
* always having a stuffy, runny nose
* constant loss of appetite
of cocaine are immediate, extremely pleasurable, and brief. Cocaine
produce intense but short-lived euphoria and can make users feel
more energetic. Like caffeine, cocaine produces wakefulness and
reduces hunger. Psychological effects include feelings of well-being
and a grandiose sense of power and ability mixed with anxiety
and restlessness. As the drug wears off, these temporary sensations
of mastery are replaced by an intense depression. The drug abuser
will then "crash", becoming lethargic and typically
sleeping for several days.
cocaine produce its effects
A great amount
of research has been devoted to understanding the way cocaine
produces its pleasurable effects, and the reasons it is so addictive.
One mechanism is through its effects on structures deep in the
brain. Scientists have discovered regions within the brain that,
when stimulated, produce feelings of pleasure. One neural system
that appears to be most affected by cocaine originates in a region,
located deep within the brain, called the ventral tegmental area
(VTA). Nerve cells originating in the VTA extend to the region
of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens, one of the brain's
key pleasure centers. In studies using animals, all types of pleasurable
stimuli, such as food, water, sex, and many drugs of abuse, cause
increased activity in the nucleus accumbens.
the brain - In the normal communication process, dopamine is released
by a neuron into the synapse, where it can bind with dopamine
receptors on neighboring neurons. Normally dopamine is then recycled
back into the transmitting neuron by a specialized protein called
the dopamine transporter. If cocaine is present, it attaches to
the dopamine transporter and blocks the normal recycling process,
resulting in a build-up of dopamine in the synapse which contributes
to the pleasurable effects of cocaine.
have discovered that, when a pleasurable event is occurring, it
is accompanied by a large increase in the amounts of dopamine
released in the nucleus accumbens by neurons originating in the
VTA. In the normal communication process, dopamine is released
by a neuron into the synapse (the small gap between two neurons),
where it binds with specialized proteins (called dopamine receptors)
on the neighbouring neuron, thereby sending a signal to that neuron.
Drugs of abuse are able to interfere with this normal communication
process. For example, scientists have discovered that cocaine
blocks the removal of dopamine from the synapse, resulting in
an accumulation of dopamine. This buildup of dopamine causes continuous
stimulation of receiving neurons, probably resulting in the euphoria
commonly reported by cocaine abusers.
abuse continues, tolerance often develops. This means that higher
doses and more frequent use of cocaine are required for the brain
to register the same level of pleasure experienced during initial
use. Recent studies have shown that during periods of abstinence
from cocaine use, the memory of the euphoria associated with cocaine
use or mere exposure to cues associated with drug use, can trigger
tremendous craving and relapse to drug use even after long periods
effects of cocaine addiction
With the accumulating
medical evidence of cocaine's deleterious effects and the introduction
and widespread use of cocaine, the public and government have
become alarmed again about its growing use. To many, especially
health care and social workers who deal with cocaine users and
have witnessed the personal and societal devastation it produces,
cocaine addiction is by far the most serious drug problem.
increases the risk of sudden heart attack and may also trigger
stroke, even in users who otherwise are not at high risk for these
sometimes fatal cardiovascular events. The risk is related to
narrowing of blood vessels and increases in blood pressure and
heart rate. Recently, NIDA-supported researchers at the Alcohol
and Drug Abuse Research Centre at McLean Hospital in Belmont,
Massachusetts, have identified changes in blood components that
may also play a role in cocaine-related heart attack and stroke.
effects of cocaine addiction include but are not limited to:
in blood pressure, heart rates, and breathing rates
of appetite leading to malnutrition and weight loss
and bleeding of mucous membranes
to nasal cavities
heart attacks, strokes, or convulsions
the public is often regaled with highly publicized accounts of
deaths from cocaine, many still mistakenly believe the drug to
be non-addictive and not as harmful as other illicit drugs. Cocaine's
immediate physical effects include raised breathing rate, raised
blood pressure and body temperature, and dilated pupils.
the coronary arteries to constrict, blood pressure rises and the
blood supply to the heart diminishes. This can cause heart attacks
or convulsions within an hour after use. Chronic users and those
with hypertension, epilepsy, and cardiovascular disease are at
particular risk. Studies show that even those with no previous
heart problems, risk cardiac complications from cocaine. Increased
use may sensitize the brain to the drug's effects so that less
of the substance is needed to induce a seizure. Those who inject
the drug are at high risk for AIDS and hepatitis when they share
needles. Allergic reactions to cocaine or other substances mixed
in with the drug may also occur.
term effects of Cocaine
effects appear almost immediately after a single dose, and disappear
within a few minutes or hours. Taken in small amounts (25 to 150
mg), cocaine usually makes the user feel euphoric, energetic,
talkative, and mentally alert, especially to the sensations of
sight, sound, and touch. It can also temporarily decrease the
need for food and sleep. Some users find that the drug helps them
to perform simple physical and intellectual tasks more quickly,
while others can experience the opposite effect.
effects of cocaine include but are not limited to:
of strength and power
of cocaine's immediate euphoric effects depends upon the route
of administration. The faster the absorption, the more intense
the high. Also, the faster the absorption, the shorter the duration
of action. The high from snorting is relatively slow in onset,
and may last 15 to 30 minutes, while that from smoking may last
5 to 10 minutes
physiological effects of cocaine include constricted blood vessels;
dilated pupils; and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood
pressure. Large amounts (several hundred milligrams or more) intensify
the user's high, but may also lead to bizarre, erratic, and violent
behaviour. These users may experience tremors, vertigo, muscle
twitches, paranoia, or, with repeated doses, a toxic reaction
closely resembling amphetamine poisoning. Some users of cocaine
report feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. In
rare instances, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine
or unexpectedly thereafter. Cocaine-related deaths are often a
result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest.
of cocaine can also produce other neurological and behavioural
effects such as:
effects of cocaine
a powerfully addictive drug. Once having tried cocaine, an individual
may have difficulty predicting or controlling the extent to which
he or she will continue to use the drug. Cocaine's stimulant and
addictive effects are thought to be primarily a result of its
ability to inhibit the reabsorption of dopamine by nerve cells.
Dopamine is released as part of the brain's reward system, and
is either directly or indirectly involved in the addictive properties
of every major drug of abuse.
effects of cocaine include but are not limited to:
* Mood disturbances
* Auditory hallucinations
tolerance to cocaine's high may develop, with many addicts reporting
that they seek but fail to achieve as much pleasure as they did
from their first experience. Some users will frequently increase
their doses to intensify and prolong the euphoric effects. While
tolerance to the high can occur, users can also become more sensitive
(sensitization) to cocaine's anaesthetic and convulsant effects,
without increasing the dose taken. This increased sensitivity
may explain some deaths occurring after apparently low doses of
Use of cocaine
in a binge, during which the drug is taken repeatedly and at increasingly
high doses, leads to a state of increasing irritability, restlessness,
and paranoia. This may result in a full-blown paranoid psychosis,
in which the individual loses touch with reality and experiences
complications of cocaine use
enormous medical complications associated with cocaine use.
of cocaine abuse:
in heart rhythm
* heart attacks
* chest pain
* respiratory failure
has been linked to many types of heart disease. Cocaine has been
found to trigger chaotic heart rhythms, called ventricular fibrillation;
accelerate heartbeat and breathing; and increase blood pressure
and body temperature. Physical symptoms may include chest pain,
nausea, blurred vision, fever, muscle spasms, convulsions and
routes of cocaine administration can produce different adverse
effects. Regularly snorting cocaine, for example, can lead to;
loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing,
hoarseness, and an overall irritation of the nasal septum. This
can lead to a chronically inflamed, runny nose. Ingested cocaine
can cause severe bowel gangrene, due to reduced blood flow. Persons
who inject cocaine have puncture marks and "tracks,"
most commonly in their forearms. Intravenous cocaine users may
also experience an allergic reaction, either to the drug or to
some additive in street cocaine, which in some cases can result
in death. Because cocaine has a tendency to decrease food intake,
many chronic cocaine users lose their appetites and can experience
significant weight loss and malnourishment.
revealed a potentially dangerous interaction between cocaine and
alcohol. Taken in combination, the two drugs are converted by
the body to cocaethylene. Cocaethylene has a longer duration of
action in the brain and is more toxic than either drug alone.
While more research needs to be done, it is noteworthy that the
mixture of cocaine and alcohol is the most common two-drug combination
that results in drug-related death.
of cocaine withdrawal
use of cocaine can lead to strong psychological dependence (addiction).
Those who abruptly stop their cocaine use can experience cocaine
addiction withdrawal symptoms as they readjust to functioning
without the drug. The length of cocaine addiction withdrawal varies
from person to person and also depends on the amount and frequency
withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:
* intense craving for the drug
* extreme fatigue
* angry outbursts
* lack of motivation
* muscle pain
* disturbed sleep
of a cocaine overdose
of a cocaine overdose are intense and generally short in nature.
Although fairly uncommon, people do die from cocaine overdose.
The exact amount of cocaine that causes an overdose varies from
person to person and is dependent on a variety of factors including
weight, metabolism, health etc. Cocaine is often "cut"
with various adulterants. This increases the risk of overdose,
since the purity of cocaine is difficult to determine. An overdose
from cocaine can cause a serious increase in blood pressure, which
can cause bleeding in the brain leading to a higher possibility
of a stroke. A cocaine overdose can cause heart and respiratory
problems resulting in death.
cocaine overdose may include some or all of the following:
or fatal rise in body temperature
* Heart attack
* Brain haemorrhage
* Kidney failure
* Repeated convulsions
derived from the leaves of the coca bush, which grows in South
America. Cocaine has been used for centuries by Indians to combat
the effects of hunger, hard work, and thin air. In the mid 1800s
its effects were praised by Freud, among others. Until 1906, this
substance was a chief ingredient of Coca-Cola and was also used
as a anesthetic. Widespread use and addiction led to government
efforts against cocaine in the early 1900s. The danger associated
with cocaine was ignored in the 1970s and early 1980s, and cocaine
was proclaimed by many to be safe. With the accumulating medical
evidence of cocaine's deleterious effects and the introduction
and widespread use of cocaine, the public and government have
become alarmed again about its growing use.
with other drugs
a stimulant, an 'upper', and can mix strangely with 'downers'.
there have been very few scientific studies into the effects of
combining psychoactive drugs. The information presented here is
anecdotal. It is based on the subjective reports of experienced
users. Different people will respond differently to different
drugs and drug combination. Know your body.
two combine to form cocaethylene in the body, a compound which
increases the effect and puts more stress on the heart
unlikely combination as the effects are so similar; increased
strain on heart, increased toxicity
take the edge off the buzz
club combination, no obvious dangers other than increased physical
as a 'speedball', the two drugs amplify each other - cocaine acts
as powerful stimulant, causing a rapid heartbeat, but wears off
more quickly than heroin, which then slows the heart down. As
a result, your heart can lose rhythm entirely increasing the risk
of heart failure. John Belushi and River Phoenix died taking speedballs.
modern combination, known as CK1; clubbers like to mix coke with
low doses of Ketamine; coke diminishes the psychedelic effects
of K; don't
mix anything with high doses of Ketamine
LSD has its
own speedy effect; not a good combination
usually smoke more cigarettes