Cocaine

Coke, blow, snow, yayo, candy, white pony, crack

Cocaine is a drug that is derived from the coca plant. It produces a high that’s characterized by feelings of euphoria, a sense of invincibility and a decreased appetite.

Cocaine is typically ingested in one of three ways: snorting, smoking or injecting. The most common way involves snorting a powdered form of cocaine through the nose. This produces an almost immediate high that lasts between 15 minutes and half an hour, depending on how much was snorted and the level of tolerance the user has.

Crack is the nickname given to cocaine that’s been dissolved in a solution of sodium bicarbonate and water with the intent of producing “rocks” that can be smoked. Crack cocaine produces a more intense high than powdered cocaine (so intense, in fact, that it causes many users to vomit uncontrollably), but the high doesn’t last as long. Crack is more addictive than powdered cocaine.

A select few cocaine users inject the drug directly into their bloodstream (sometimes mixed with heroin). This method produces the strongest high possible but also carries the greatest risk of overdose and infection.

Ten Things You Need to Know About Cocaine

  • Most students avoid cocaine. Studies show that 8.8 percent of college students will use cocaine at some point in their lifetime, a number that is significantly lower than the 14 percent of non-students who will use the drug.
  • Use in on the rise. Cocaine use among college students is on the rise, perhaps because, as evidence suggests, today’s students see the drug as less harmful than their counterparts did 10 years ago.
  • Cocaine is highly addictive. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that some users form an addiction after just one session of use.
  • The first time is always the best. Most users fail to ever again achieve the same high they experienced the first time they used cocaine (though many try by taking increasingly larger and more dangerous doses).
  • Cocaine and booze don’t mix. Consuming both cocaine and alcohol produces the chemical cocaethylene, which intensifies cocaine's effects and increases the chance of sudden death.
  • Quitting is hard. Addicts who try to quit using cocaine without outside assistance are at risk of experiencing severe depression.
  • It facilitates the spread of disease. Just as sharing needles can spread disease, so can sharing straws (used to snort cocaine). Blood from the nose’s mucous membrane can contaminate a straw and lead to the transmission of diseases like hepatitis.
  • It’s in your pocket right now. Odds are that some of the money in your wallet has cocaine on it. The drug sticks to bills whenever they are handled by users (rolled up bills can be used as a makeshift straw for coke snorters), and traces remain attached for years. Luckily, cocaine-tainted cash can’t be used against you in the legal system.
  • It really was in Coca-Cola. Cocaine was one of the original ingredients in Coca-Cola, but the soda manufacturer stopped using it in 1903.
  • It’s not hard to O.D. It is estimated that a dose of 1.2 grams of cocaine is enough to initiate a fatal overdose. Anecdotal evidence suggests that as few as 20 mg can cause severely toxic effects.

Health Hazards

Cocaine can be very damaging to a person’s physical and mental health. The immediate effects of use may include dilated pupils, fever, muscle spasms, chest pain, changes in heartbeat, difficulty breathing, nausea, abdominal pain, restlessness, irritability and anxiety. Some of these symptoms may even continue after the high has worn off. Long-term users are at risk of heart attack, strokes, seizures, respiratory failure, chronic nosebleeds, loss of smell, difficulty swallowing and paranoid psychosis.

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