Monday, 15 October 2012

The Effects and Symptoms of Cocaine Use

“Cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money”
Robin Williams.

What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is benzoylmethyl ecgonine, a crystalline alkaloid from the coca plant. It acts as a stimulant, appetite suppressant, and anesthetic.
Powdered cocaine is a fine white powder. Street cocaine is cut with other substances to increase profit, so its appearance may be slightly different, depending on the type of impurity.  
Powdered cocaine is most commonly snorted through the nose, though it may be dissolved in water and injected. Snorted cocaine produces a high within 3-5 minutes after use. Injected cocaine produces an effect within 15-30 seconds.  
Street Names for Cocaine include Blow, C, Nose Candy, Powder, Nose Powder, White Powder, Aspirin, Candy Sugar, Devil's Dandruff, Fast White Lady, Sugar Boogers, Uptown, White Boy, White Dragon and Yao.

What are the effects of Cocaine use?
Users typically feel a 'rush' followed by a sense of alertness and well-being. Cocaine increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is associated with pleasure and increased movement. When the pleasant effects of cocaine wear off users may feel depressed, more than before taking the drug. The stimulant effects of cocaine can lead users to feel anxious, restless, and irritable.

What are the symptoms of Cocaine use?
Short-Term Effects
When cocaine is used it interferes with the reabsorption of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with pleasure and movement, producing a euphoric effect. Shortly after cocaine is ingested the user may experience the following symptoms:
Ø  Constricted blood vessels.
Ø  Dilated pupils.
Ø  Increased body temperature.
Ø  Increased heart rate.
Ø  Higher blood pressure.
During the euphoric period after cocaine use, which can last up until 30 minutes, user will experience hyper stimulation, reduced fatigue, and mental alertness. However, some users also experience restlessness, irritability, and anxiety.
During a cocaine binge, when the drug is taken repeatedly, users may experience increasing restlessness, irritability and paranoia. For some users this can lead to a period of paranoid psychosis, with auditory hallucinations and a disconnection with reality.
Long-Term Effects
Repeated cocaine use can cause the following health consequences:
Ø  Irregular heartbeat.
Ø  Heart attack.
Ø  Chest pain.
Ø  Respiratory failure.
Ø  Stroke.
Ø  Seizures and headaches.
Ø  Abdominal pain and nausea.
Chronic users of cocaine can become malnourished due to the drug's ability to decrease appetite. Each method of taking cocaine can produce specific health effects, including:
Chronically runny nose, nosebleeds, loss of smell, hoarseness, and problems swallowing.
Severe bowel gangrene due to a reduction in the flow of blood to the intestines.
Severe allergic reactions, increased risk for contracting HIV, Hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases.

“In the final phase of cocaine intoxication, when suicide is likely, the victim cannot save himself by an effort of will. He has lost the power.”
Carroll O’Connor

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