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Facts about cocaine and cocaine addiction.

Cocaine is a substance (drug) that, when used, penetrates deep into the brain and blocks neurotransmitters such as nor epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine from being reabsorbed which, in turn, results in a chemical buildup between nerves that causes the user to experience a feeling of euphoria. It gives the user an instant high that may last from thirty minutes to two hours.

Although illegal in most countries, cocaine has become a multi-billion dollar a year industry and has found its way onto the streets and into the homes of people from every walk of life. In the past, cocaine was considered the drug of choice by people who could afford it's high price tag. It was considered a symbol of status by people in the fashion and entertainment industries, business circles, and the wealthy, but today, although cocaine is still an expensive drug, its use can be found in all segments of society.

Cocaine is made from coca plants that are native to the Andes Mountains region of South America. It is grown and produced mostly in Columbia, Peru, and Bolivia but people from other countries have entered the financial and shipment aspects of the product. The coca plant in itself is relatively harmless, but when the leaves are processed, it becomes a powerfully addictive drug.

To start the processing of coca plant leaves, they first have to be harvested from the fields. They are then placed in containers with petroleum products or kerosene, treated with acid, potassium, or other substances that creates a paste when dried. Then it is refined into cocaine hydrochloride, a white powdery substance (drug).

The cartels that control the cocaine trade have built an enormous amount of political, economic, and social influence throughout South America, Latin America, and the Caribbean Islands. They have also gained a foothold on the streets of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and other countries by developing a sophisticated supply network that reaches around the world.

Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug which means that it is highly misused and dangerous. Not only is it highly addictive, it is proven to have long term negative effects on the users psychological stability, physiological and neurological functions, as well as harmful effects on the immune system and other functions of the body and mind.

In simple terms, the use of cocaine causes addictive behaviors that are sometimes violent towards others or self destructive. It causes short and long term mental illness, high blood pressure and heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, abdominal pain, ulcers, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, skin lesions, severe weight loss and the inability to gain and maintain weight, coma, and death.

Cocaine use is destructive to people of all ages, but it is especially bad for teenagers and young adults. It can cause a constricting of blood vessels that makes even young people susceptible to seizures, strokes, lung damage, sexual dysfunctions, and lesions of the throat and nasal passages.

There are three main ways in which cocaine is used:

(1) The most common way cocaine is used is when the white powdered form is snorted up the nose, rubbed into the gums, or mixed with water and injected by needle directly into the bloodstream.

(2) Crack cocaine is a chemically processed crystal rock form known as cocaine hydrochloride (freebase) that can be rolled into a marijuana cigarette or heated and smoked in what is called a crack pipe. Crack cocaine is off white or light gray in color and when heated, it becomes liquefied and the smoke, or vapors, are sucked into the lungs by the user. The name crack comes from the cracking sound it makes when it is heated. Crack cocaine is one of the most highly addictive drugs on the streets.

(3) Speed ball: A combination of cocaine and heroin that is heated in a spoon or on aluminum foil, siphoned into a needle, and then injected directly into the bloodstream. Speedballs are a very dangerous method of getting high causing many cases of overdose and death.

No matter how cocaine is taken, it quickly enters the bloodstream and immediately effects the brain, heart, lungs, and other vital organs of the body.

On the streets, cocaine goes by various names such as: Crack, Coke, Rock, Snow, Blow, Candy, Charlie, Flake, Line, Dust, and Toot, just to name a few.

How can I tell if someone is using cocaine? There are so many drugs being used today that it is hard to tell. You can tell when a person is high by watching for tell tale signs such as dilated pupils, paranoia, high levels of anxiety or restlessness. A person may also display slurred, exuberant, or excited speech patterns. The problem with cocaine use is that some people don't show any of theses symptoms until they are thoroughly addicted.

Look for drug paraphernalia such as needles, pipes, spoons with the bottoms burned, cigarette lighters, matches, rolled up dollar bills, straws, and mirrors on tables with razor blades.

What should I do if I have a friend or family member who are using inhalants to get high? If you know someone who is using inhalants to get high, urge them to get help and tell someone of authority who can intervene immediately.

Where can I get information about drug abuse and addiction? Visit these website's, www.freevibe.com or www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov to get information about drugs abuse and addiction. They offer a wide array of options about getting help. You can also get information by calling this toll free number, 800-729-6686 or linea gratis en espanol 877-767-8432.


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