Beware of the Evils of Cocaine

 
 
 

Cocaine abuse and addiction continues to be a problem that plagues our nation. However, through sophisticated technology, scientists can actually see the dynamic changes that occur in the brain of a person who takes the drug. We now know more about how cocaine acts in the brain, how it produces its pleasurable effects and why it is so addictive.

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that directly affects the brain. It is not new. In fact, it is one of the oldest-known drugs. The pure chemical, cocaine hydrochloride, has been abused for more than 100 years, and coca leaves, the source of cocaine, have been ingested for thousands of years.

There are basically two chemical forms of cocaine. The hydrochloride salt, or powdered form of cocaine that dissolves in water, can be taken intravenously (by vein) or intranasaly (in the nose). The freebase form of cocaine is smokeable and its “street” name is crack, which refers to the crackling sound when it is smoked. A high is reached in less than 10 seconds by the user. Crack is inexpensive, both to produce and to buy. It is processed and heated to remove the hydrochloride salt.

Powder cocaine is generally sold on the street as a fine, white crystalline powder an is known as “coke,” “C,” “snow,” “flake,” or “blow.” Some users combine powder cocaine or crack with heroin for a “speedball.” It is generally diluted with inert substance.

Some of the long-term effects are addiction, irritability and mood disturbances, restlessness, paranoia and auditory hallucinations. Buyer beware!