Facts about Cocaine

Facts about Cocaine

Cocaine is a dangerous and powerful drug that wreaks havoc on the lives of the user and those around them. Usage of the drug declined during 2007 and early 2008 due to a reduction in availability, which was caused largely by the successful eradication of coca production in Colombia and numerous cocaine seizures. But despite the fact that sporadic shortages are expected to continue through 2009, and usage is down, demand is likely to remain high, according to the National Drug Threat Assessment 2009, released by the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC). Drug trafficking of cocaine is the leading drug threat to our society.

A 2008 study of 17 nations and drug use concluded that the U.S. has the highest levels of illegal drug use, with 16.2% (or 49.4 million) of the nation’s 2008 population of 305.5 million reportedly having used cocaine during their lifetime. Contrast this with the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) which indicated that 35.3 million Americans aged 12 and older reported having used cocaine, with 8.5 million reporting use of crack.

What Cocaine Is

Cocaine is a drug, a paste that’s extracted from the coca plant of South America. A strong stimulant, cocaine affects the body’s central nervous system.

Common Street Names

This powerful drug carries many names on the street, depending on type. Cocaine street names include: blow, dust, toot, nose candy, coke, powder, girl, Peruvian lady, snow, and others. Crack cocaine is called mighty white, candy, beam, electric Kool-Aid, Twinkie and yam, etc. In fact, the names are hard to keep up with, especially with addition of other drugs. There are street names for cocaine mixed with marijuana (51, candy sticks, Bazooka, blunt, etc.), mixed with heroin (Belushi, dynamite, H & C, snowball, whiz bang, etc.), mixed with other drugs and chemicals (C & M, cigamos, croak, draf, pseudocaine, etc.)

How to Identify Cocaine

You can recognize cocaine by its white crystalline powder. Cocaine is often mixed with other substances, such as flour, sugar, vitamins and cornstarch. A more deadly version of cocaine is crack cocaine, identified by its small rock, chip or chunk appearance and off-white or pink color.

How Cocaine is Used

Coke can be snorted, sniffed, smoked and injected. When crack cocaine is smoked, the drug is quickly absorbed into the blood through the lungs. It then travels via the pulmonary vein to the heart and then by the carotid artery to the brain. The entire process takes less than five seconds.

Effects of the drug

Users experience a sense of exhilaration, alertness, euphoria, bursts of energy, feel carefree and invincible. This peak lasts about two hours and is generally followed by anxiety, depression, paranoia, agitation and decreased appetite.

Why cocaine is bad for you

Short-term and long-term effects are equally dangerous and potentially lethal. Abuse of the drug can lead to heart attack, seizures and respiratory failure. Other effects on the human body include:

• Blurred vision

• Chest pain

• Constricted blood vessels

• Dilated pupils

• Hallucination

• Heightened anxiety

• Irritability

• Insomnia

• Loss of appetite

• Nasal infections, nose bleeds

• Rapid breathing

• Sweating

• Twitchiness

• Violent behavior

• Vomiting

The health risks for crack cocaine are the same as for cocaine, but the drug, in crack form, poses a higher risk because of its intensity.


Cocaine, in all its forms, is highly addictive, leaving the user with a desperate craving for more. Addiction may develop after only a few times of using, especially crack. A schedule II drug with a high potential for abuse, cocaine can, however, be administered by a doctor for uses such as a local anesthetic for ear, nose and throat surgeries.

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