Cocaine, Crack

Cocaine as a recreational drug[Snorting cocaine] Cocaine is the most powerful stimulant of natural origin. Today,Cocaine as a recreational drug[Snorting cocaine] Cocaine is the most powerful stimulant of natural origin.

Today, cocaine is commonly used as a recreational drug. It is also known as powder, snow, ski, soft, blow, slopes, coca, marching powder, benzoylmethylecgonine, and nose candy. It is normally found as a white, crystalline powder or as an off-white, chunky substance. In powder form, it is usually cocaine hydrochloride (C17H21NO4), which is then diluted with other substances, such as local anesthetic (lidocaine), sugars (lactose), inositol, and mannitol. By diluting the cocaine in this way, the seller can make more profit by “stretching” the actual amount of cocaine he or she has to sell.

Cocaine can be: Snorted – inhaled through the nose. It enters the bloodstream via the nasal tissues Injected – where it is released directly into the bloodstream Smoking – cocaine is inhaled into the lungs where it rapidly enters the bloodstream What is crack? Crack is the street name for a type of cocaine that has had the hydrochloride removed, making it possible to smoke. When the mixture is heated, it makes a crackling sound, hence the name. Crack is processed with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or ammonia and water, and heated to remove the hydrochloride. The crack-smoker receives large doses of cocaine – the effect is virtually immediate, as with injected cocaine.

The extremely intense feelings derived from smoking crack are short-lived. Overdosing on cocaine can lead to seizures, life-threatening heart failure, cerebral hemorrhage, stroke, and respiratory failure.

Even regular usage, without overdosing, raises the risk of negative health consequences.

There is no specific medication for cocaine overdose. Some studies have shown that those who inject or smoke cocaine have a greater risk of complications than individuals who snort it. Also, smokers will typically become compulsive cocaine users more rapidly than those who snort it. Smoking cocaine increases the risk of developing respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and lung trauma (including bleeding). Stroke and heart attack risk Researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia, demonstrated that recreational cocaine users have a significantly higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared with those who never use the drug. Recreational cocaine users tend to have harder arteries, thicker heart muscle walls, and higher blood pressure than people who have never used the drug. Regular cocaine users were also found to have an 8 mm Hg higher systolic blood pressure compared with non-users, and up to 35 percent increased risk of having a hardened aorta (a major artery). What does cocaine do? How does it feel?[Pile of cocaine] The effects of cocaine are intense but short-lived.

Cocaine has a very powerful stimulating effect on the nervous system; it raises levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure, movement, and the brain’s reward circuit.

The effects generally last 15-30 minutes, or around 5 minutes for crack. Normally, neurons release dopamine in response to a pleasurable stimulus, such as the smell of good food. Once the dopamine has passed on its message, it returns inside the neuron and the signal stops. Cocaine works by stopping the dopamine from getting back into the neuron. This means that the dopamine accumulates and continues to send the pleasurable message to the brain. The excess dopamine gives the user a feeling of enhanced well-being, euphoria, alertness, motor activity, and energy.

Risk of addiction Long term use of cocaine can lead to gradual changes in the brain’s reward system, which seriously raises the risk of addiction. In occasional cocaine users, social or physical problems are rare. However, scientists insist there is no safe amount of cocaine. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug. People who are addicted may eventually prefer taking cocaine to any other activity – their lifestyles may alter completely as the addiction takes hold. There have been cases of mothers selling their child, professionals spending thousands of dollars on binges costing from $20,000-$50,000. Some may lose their jobs, families, become bankrupt, and even die. Physical changes in the brain Scientists at the University of Cambridge in England identified abnormal brain structure in the frontal lobe of the brain of cocaine users due to cocaine-using behavior. The team scanned the brains of 120 individuals, half of whom were addicted to cocaine. They found that cocaine users had widespread loss of gray matter. The longer the abuse, the greater the loss. The basal ganglia, a part of the brain that houses the reward system, was found to be much larger among individuals who were dependent on cocaine.

The scientists believe that the basal ganglia was already enlarged before the addiction began. If correct, this means that some people might be more vulnerable to the addictive effects of cocaine. Other health risks The consumption of cocaine can have the following effects: Constriction of blood vessels. Elevated body temperature. Accelerated heart rate. Hypertension (high blood pressure). Headaches. Abdominal pain. Nausea. Decreased appetite – among chronic users this can lead to malnourishment. Regular snorting – loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, swallowing problems, persistent runny nose, and hoarseness. Regular ingestion – severe bowel gangrene caused by a reduction in blood flow. Injecting – severe allergic reactions, higher risk of blood-borne diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis. Binge pattern cocaine use – irritability, anxiety, and restlessness. Severe paranoia. The individual might lose his/her sense of reality and hear things that are not there (auditory hallucinations). Heart failure. Stroke. Cocaethylene People who abuse substances often take more than one drug at the same time.

When cocaine and alcohol are used together, the liver produces cocaethylene. Cocaethylene prolongs the euphoric effects of cocaine and makes them more intense. For that reason, cocaethylene is sometimes taken as a recreational drug itself. However, cocaethylene is linked to a significantly greater risk of sudden death, compared with cocaine alone. cocaine is commonly used as a recreational drug. It is also known as powder, snow, ski, soft, blow, slopes, coca, marching powder, benzoylmethylecgonine, and nose candy. It is normally found as a white, crystalline powder or as an off-white, chunky substance. In powder form, it is usually cocaine hydrochloride (C17H21NO4), which is then diluted with other substances, such as local anesthetic (lidocaine), sugars (lactose), inositol, and mannitol.

By diluting the cocaine in this way, the seller can make more profit by “stretching” the actual amount of cocaine he or she has to sell. Cocaine can be: Snorted – inhaled through the nose. It enters the bloodstream via the nasal tissues Injected – where it is released directly into the bloodstream Smoking – cocaine is inhaled into the lungs where it rapidly enters the bloodstream What is crack? Crack is the street name for a type of cocaine that has had the hydrochloride removed, making it possible to smoke. When the mixture is heated, it makes a crackling sound, hence the name. Crack is processed with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or ammonia and water, and heated to remove the hydrochloride. The crack-smoker receives large doses of cocaine – the effect is virtually immediate, as with injected cocaine. The extremely intense feelings derived from smoking crack are short-lived. Overdosing on cocaine can lead to seizures, life-threatening heart failure, cerebral hemorrhage, stroke, and respiratory failure. Even regular usage, without overdosing, raises the risk of negative health consequences.

There is no specific medication for cocaine overdose. Some studies have shown that those who inject or smoke cocaine have a greater risk of complications than individuals who snort it. Also, smokers will typically become compulsive cocaine users more rapidly than those who snort it. Smoking cocaine increases the risk of developing respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and lung trauma (including bleeding). Stroke and heart attack risk Researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia, demonstrated that recreational cocaine users have a significantly higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared with those who never use the drug. Recreational cocaine users tend to have harder arteries, thicker heart muscle walls, and higher blood pressure than people who have never used the drug. Regular cocaine users were also found to have an 8 mm Hg higher systolic blood pressure compared with non-users, and up to 35 percent increased risk of having a hardened aorta (a major artery).

What does cocaine do? How does it feel?[Pile of cocaine] The effects of cocaine are intense but short-lived. Cocaine has a very powerful stimulating effect on the nervous system; it raises levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure, movement, and the brain’s reward circuit. The effects generally last 15-30 minutes, or around 5 minutes for crack. Normally, neurons release dopamine in response to a pleasurable stimulus, such as the smell of good food. Once the dopamine has passed on its message, it returns inside the neuron and the signal stops. Cocaine works by stopping the dopamine from getting back into the neuron. This means that the dopamine accumulates and continues to send the pleasurable message to the brain. The excess dopamine gives the user a feeling of enhanced well-being, euphoria, alertness, motor activity, and energy. Risk of addiction Long term use of cocaine can lead to gradual changes in the brain’s reward system, which seriously raises the risk of addiction. In occasional cocaine users, social or physical problems are rare. However, scientists insist there is no safe amount of cocaine. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug. People who are addicted may eventually prefer taking cocaine to any other activity – their lifestyles may alter completely as the addiction takes hold.

There have been cases of mothers selling their child, professionals spending thousands of dollars on binges costing from R250,000-R500,000. Some may lose their jobs, families, become bankrupt, and even die.

Physical changes in the brain Scientists at the University of Cambridge in England identified abnormal brain structure in the frontal lobe of the brain of cocaine users due to cocaine-using behavior. The team scanned the brains of 120 individuals, half of whom were addicted to cocaine. They found that cocaine users had widespread loss of gray matter. The longer the abuse, the greater the loss. The basal ganglia, a part of the brain that houses the reward system, was found to be much larger among individuals who were dependent on cocaine. The scientists believe that the basal ganglia was already enlarged before the addiction began. If correct, this means that some people might be more vulnerable to the addictive effects of cocaine. Other health risks The consumption of cocaine can have the following effects: Constriction of blood vessels. Elevated body temperature. Accelerated heart rate. Hypertension (high blood pressure). Headaches. Abdominal pain. Nausea. Decreased appetite – among chronic users this can lead to malnourishment. Regular snorting – loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, swallowing problems, persistent runny nose, and hoarseness. Regular ingestion – severe bowel gangrene caused by a reduction in blood flow. Injecting – severe allergic reactions, higher risk of blood-borne diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis. Binge pattern cocaine use – irritability, anxiety, and restlessness. Severe paranoia.

The individual might lose his/her sense of reality and hear things that are not there (auditory hallucinations). Heart failure. Stroke. Cocaethylene People who abuse substances often take more than one drug at the same time. When cocaine and alcohol are used together, the liver produces cocaethylene. Cocaethylene prolongs the euphoric effects of cocaine and makes them more intense. For that reason, cocaethylene is sometimes taken as a recreational drug itself. However, cocaethylene is linked to a significantly greater risk of sudden death, compared with cocaine alone.

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