Cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug of abuse. Individuals who have tried
cocaine have described the experience as a powerful high that gave them a
feeling of supremacy. However, once someone starts taking cocaine, one cannot
predict or control the extent to which he or she will continue to use the drug.
The major ways of taking cocaine are sniffing or snorting, injecting, and
smoking (including free-base and crack cocaine).
Health risks exist regardless of whether cocaine is inhaled (snorted), injected,
or smoked. However, it appears that compulsive cocaine use may develop even
more rapidly if the substance is smoked rather than snorted. Smoking allows
extremely high doses of cocaine to reach the brain very quickly and results in
an intense and immediate high. The injecting drug user is also at risk for
acquiring or transmitting HIV infection/AIDS if needles or other injection
equipment are shared.
Physical effects. Physical effects of
cocaine use include constricted peripheral blood vessels, dilated pupils, and
increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Some cocaine users
report feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety, both while using
and between periods of use. An appreciable tolerance to the high may be
developed, and many addicts report that they seek but fail to achieve as much
pleasure as they did from their first exposure.
Paranoia and aggression. High doses of
cocaine and/or prolonged use can trigger paranoia. Smoking crack cocaine can
produce particularly aggressive paranoid behavior in users. When addicted
individuals stop using cocaine, they may become depressed. This depression
causes users to continue to use the drug to alleviate their depression.
Long-term effects. Prolonged cocaine snorting
can result in ulceration of the mucous membrane of the nose and can damage the
nasal septum enough to cause it to collapse. Cocaine-related deaths are often a
result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest.
More info on the Effects of Illegal Drugs on the Heart
Added Danger. When people mix cocaine and
alcohol, they are compounding the danger each drug poses and unknowingly
causing a complex chemical interaction within their bodies. Researchers have
found that the human liver combines cocaine and alcohol to manufacture a third
substance, cocaethylene, which intensifies cocaine's
euphoric effects and possibly increases the risk of sudden death.
provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Reduce binge drinking and prescription drug abuse among teens.
Reduce other high-risk behaviors and negative consequences for teens.
Increase/build infrastructure to address substance abuse.
Mike Womack, Executive Director
P.O. Box 1412
Athens, TN. 37371-1412
MADCAT #: 423-920-6555