Commonly Abused Drugs - Cocaine Fact Sheet

Scientific name: Benzoylmethylecgonine

Formula: C17H21NO4

Classification: Psychoactive stimulant. Classified as an illegal narcotic by the US Government.

Origin: Coca plant, most often grown illegally in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia.

Estimated use: Approximately 14% of adult Americans have tried it or use it.

Street names: coke, line, blow, snow, C, flake, icing, paradise white, Peruvian lady, foo-foo dust.

Appearance: Cocaine is most often obtained on the streets in the form of a white and odorless powder. It is often mixed or "cut" with other substances.

Administering: Injected or snorted. When snorting, the drug is nasally ingested through a pipe, often a makeshift paper tube. Injecting is done with a syringe and needle into the veins. The substances used to "cut" cocaine become even more hazardous when injected directly into the bloodstream.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine takes effect quickly. In addition to any possible feelings of euphoria and alertness, a person may experience dry mouth, reduced appetite, restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, dilated pupils, high blood pressure, constricted blood vessels and fever.

Effects of Cocaine Overdose and Abuse

Taking high doses can cause severe anxiety, headaches, nausea, chest pains, hallucinations, muscle spasms, wildly erratic behavior and violent episodes.

Overdosing can result in seizures, respiratory problems, heart attack and death. Emergency medical attention is essential. There is no immediate antidote for cocaine overdose.

Many people at nightclubs and parties combine cocaine and large quantities of alcohol. This is extremely dangerous.

Crash Effects

The crash after the high is much like a hangover, except it hits more suddenly. Common sensations in a crash are exhaustion, dehydration, prolonged periods of sleep, depression that can last for days, and cravings for the drug.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine is highly addictive and dangerous. Continued use over time may cause depression, memory loss, weakened immunity, severe paranoia, suicidal tendencies, hallucinations, chest pains, respiratory problems, seizures, organ disease, heart problems, stroke, or death.

Prolonged experience with snorting cocaine can cause complications like loss of sense of smell, runny nose, frequent nosebleeds, hoarseness, and damage to internal nasal tissues.

Injecting the substance increases the risk of acquiring blood-borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis.

Treatment for Cocaine Dependency and Addiction

Contact a rehabilitation center if you or someone you care about is abusing cocaine. Cocaine is a powerful drug and attempting to break dependency/addiction alone is not advisable.

Rehabilitation professionals have undergone extensive training.

A person dependent upon, or addicted to, cocaine may resist treatment due to the effects of using the drug. It is important to be supportive to the person and to contact trained professionals.

Many people see a social stigma in "rehab". But it is proven to be the most effective way of breaking a cocaine habit and helping a person to resume a productive life.

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