What is cocaine?
Cocaine Hydrochloride (“coke,” “blow”) is a white powder derived from the leaves of the coca plant, which grows mainly in South America. Coca Cola used to contain cocaine (hence the name), and so did many other over-the-counter food and medicine products.
Cocaine is usually sold is small baggies by the gram. Crack cocaine is made by chemically altering cocaine powder into crystals or “rocks” which are easily smokable.
How is cocaine used?
The leaves of the coca plant can be chewed or made into a tea and drunk. Coca leaves are used this way legally in many countries as a mild stimulant similar to caffeine.
Most often cocaine is snorted in small lines. The effects come on gradually and peak after about 15-30 minutes. When smoked in the form of “crack,” the effects come on immediately but wear off much more quickly. When injected, the effects are felt immediately and much more intensely.
What are the effects of cocaine?
Cocaine is a stimulant drug like speed, but much shorter acting. It causes a sudden increase in heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. It also leads to feelings of confidence, alertness and euphoria.
What are some precautions if I’m taking cocaine?
Cocaine and crack are very short-acting. This can lead to using too much or too often.
Many users become compulsive in their use of cocaine, which can lead to physical or psychological addiction. The after-effects can include depression, agitation, anxiety and paranoia. The intensity of these effects depend on how much and how often cocaine is used, and are more intense when cocaine is smoked as crack. High or frequent doses have caused seizures, strokes or heart attacks in some people. Repeated snorting can damage the membranes of the nose. Cocaine is illegal and getting caught with it in your possession can result in long prison sentences. Giving cocaine to someone else, even if no money was exchanged, can result in even longer sentences.