What is Cocaine?It is a chemical compound extracted from the leaves of the coca plant, grown for thousands of years in South America, where peasant field-workers have long chewed its leaves. Eighteenth-century European explorers noted that coca leaves seemed to help the workers tolerate hunger, cold, and fatigue. The drug was gradually introduced to western Europe and, later, North America, as a boon to health.
History of Cocaine Drug
By the late nineteenth century, cocaine was a featured ingredient in dozens of patent medicines.Its benefits were extolled for the treatment of disorders ranging from colds to loss of sexual desire. Even Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, briefly used cocaine and recommended it to others. By the early 1900s, however, when the Coca-Cola Company eliminated cocaine from its product, public opinion had turned against cocaine use. In 1922, Congress prohibited importation of the plant and the drug.
Use of cocaine rose precipitously in the early 1980s. At its peak in 1985, 5.8 million Americans used cocaine at least once a month. By 1988 the number of users had dropped by 50 percent, to 2.9 million and by 1990 only 1.6 million Americans had used cocaine in the past month. Despite declining use of cocaine, 37 percent of men and 24 percent of women in the United States have tried some form of this drug by age 25. Cocaine seems to appeal particularly to upwardly mobile “workaholics,” and its use is growing in certain sectors of society, for example, among middle-class professional women. Cocaine use can be found in every stratum of society. Cocaine can be chewed, inhaled, injected, drunk as a tea, or breathed as a vapor.
How To Take Cocaine Drug
Crack, an increasingly popular form of cocaine, is smoked in a pipe. One dose of crack, which provides a quick and brief euphoria with no unpleasant side effects, is much less expensive than processed (powdered) cocaine. That means crack is affordable for people who previously could not buy cocaine, creating a whole new population of drug abusers. About one-third of current cocaine users are smoking it in its crack form. Some users who buy crack on the street and worry about contamination may convert it to a purer and more potent form by free-basing—combining it with baking soda and cooking it. This is a dangerous process because the chemicals can burst into flames. Comedian Richard Pryor was seriously injured by such a fire, which erupted while he was free-basing.
What Is Cocaine; What Are Its Side Effects In Your Body?
Cocaine acts by stimulating the central nervous system. In whatever form, it typically elicits a sense of alertness, mastery, and self-confidence, often accompanied by talkativeness. It may also produce nervousness, irritability, restlessness, and exhaustion from lack of sleep. Like other stimulants, cocaine increases heart and breathing rates, raises body temperature and blood-sugar levels, increases muscle tension, and dilates the pupils. Because it clears from the blood very quickly, its effects usually last no more than half an hour. Cocaine appears to prevent the breakdown of norepinephrine in the brain, thereby affecting the trans-mission of nerve signals at synapses that involve this neurotransmitter.
Recent evidence from the crack epidemic contradicts the claim that cocaine is not addictive. It is now clear that cocaine is addictive, not only psychologically but also physically. A clear pattern of withdrawal symptoms, including depres-sion, agitation, diminished ability to experience pleasure, and decreased interest in one’s surroundings, is associated with ceasing cocaine use.
Neurophysiological evidence also suggests that cocaine has long-lasting effects on the brain: specifically, certain norepinephrine receptors become super-sensitive after chronic cocaine use Although many people take cocaine in small doses without apparent ill effects, others have had their health and lives ruined. Much of the danger of cocaine seems to result from its strongly pleasurable but short-lived effects. People some-times find cocaine so pleasurable that they feel compelled to take it at all costs. Moreover, large doses of cocaine can be fatal.