Cocaine is a naturally occurring stimulant that is harvested from the leaves of the coca plant, which is a plant indigenous to the South American Andes. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant and an extremely addictive drug. In the past, South Americans used coca to fight fatigue and hunger and to strengthen their endurance. Spanish conquistadors used the stimulating powers of coca to keep the South American natives hard at work in the fields and mines all day by constantly supplying the workers with coca.

Cocaine addiction may be thought of as a vicious tornado. It not only affects those afflicted with the disease of drug addiction and alcoholism, but it also tears a path through everything and everyone in the vicinity. Family members are often the unfortunate victims of drug and alcohol abuse.

Extracted cocaine from the coca plant is formed and sold as a white powder. This powder is usually chunky, so users must chop cocaine with a razor blade on a hard surface until it becomes a fine powder. Users then arrange the chopped cocaine into small rows or lines, then quickly inhale it through the nose with a short straw or rolled-up paper. Cocaine can also be cooked and inhaled or injected into the blood.

Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine produces a pleasurable high by acting upon the brain’s pleasure center, where a chemical called dopamine is produced. Dopamine creates a sense of well-being. When cocaine is introduced into the body, it attracts and traps excess amounts of dopamine, keeping it in the brain, which causes a profound sense of euphoria. Cocaine also acts as a stimulant on the body, heightening alertness. Cocaine restricts the body’s blood vessels, increasing the body’s temperature, respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure and causes the user’s pupils to dilate.

The stimulating effects of cocaine on the mind keep the user free of fatigue and provide a sense of mental clarity and increased energy. The high produced by cocaine does not last longer than 30 minutes when snorted and 10 minutes when smoked. Once the high is over, the euphoria comes to a crashing halt, causing the user to crave more and more cocaine. However, the more one uses cocaine, the more one’s body builds up a tolerance to its stimulating and pleasurable effects. Over time, a user must increase their dose of cocaine in order to feel the same intense effects as before.

Health Risks

Cocaine use poses serious health risks in both the short and long term. These risks include the following listed below:

  • High blood pressure and possible heart attack
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety and restlessness
  • Convulsions and possible stroke
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Cold flashes
  • Damaged nasal cavities
  • Lung damage

Signs of Cocaine Use

A cocaine user may display outward effects that will help you to identify him or her as a drug user. Listed below are some of the most common physical signs of cocaine use:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Runny, sniffling nose
  • Changes in eating or sleeping
  • Changes in peer groups
  • Changes in grades in academic performance
  • Changes in personal appearance
  • Changes in behavior or attitude
  • Frequently needing cash

 

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