Cocaine and Crack

Post image for Cocaine and Crack

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant, abused by many people. Once having tried cocaine, an individual cannot predict or control the extent to which he or she will continue to use the drug. Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that interferes with the re-absorption process of dopamine, a chemical messenger associated with pleasure and movement. Dopamine is released as part of the brain’s reward system and is involved in the high that characterizes cocaine consumption.

Physical effects of cocaine use include constricted peripheral blood vessels, dilated pupils, and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.

The duration of cocaine’s immediate euphoric effects, which include hyper stimulation, reduced fatigue, and mental clarity, depends on the route of administration. The faster the absorption, the more intense the high. On the other hand, the faster the absorption, the shorter the duration of action. The high from snorting may last 15 to 30 minutes, while that from smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes. Increased use can reduce the period of stimulation. With reduced stimulation comes increased use; and then the vicious cycle expands it’s reach into the addicts life.

When people mix cocaine and alcohol consumption, they are compounding the danger each drug poses and unknowingly performing a complex chemical experiment within their bodies. NIDA funded researchers have found that the human liver combines cocaine and alcohol and manufactures a third substance, cocaethylene, that intensifies cocaine’s euphoric effects, while possibly increasing the risk of sudden death.