Cocaine is an illegal drug also known as white, snow, blow, coca, coke, rock and crack due to its white powder appearance. The powder form of cocaine can be snorted, ingested and rubbed onto the gums for a numbing effect. Cocaine is derived from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America where locals chew the leaves for energy and use it as a local anesthetic. In the United States, cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as it is an addictive stimulant drug that has a high potential for abuse and dependence.
Symptoms of Abuse
A person addicted to cocaine may be pleasant one moment, while irrational and angry at another. Other signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse to look for:
- Frequent nosebleeds (snorting)
- Hoarseness (snorting)
- Collapsed veins or marks on arms from injecting
- Substantial weight loss in a short time frame
- Erratic behavior
- Problems fulfilling responsibilities at school, work or home
- Stealing money from loved ones
If someone is exhibiting these symptoms it may be time to seek help from cocaine rehab centers.
Cocaine produces almost an immediate high that is triggered by the flood of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with rewarding and pleasurable stimuli like sex, food and addictive drugs. This heightened dopamine release is responsible for the high produced by cocaine.
Within a few minutes, cocaine users may experience the following short-term effects:
- Heightened energy
- Elevated mood
- Muscle twitches
- Raised blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Dilated pupils
- Constricted blood vessels
- Higher body temperature
The effects of cocaine last anywhere from five minutes to an hour, depending on whether it was snorted, injected or smoked. Cocaine used in large amounts can lead to violent, odd or unpredictable behaviors by users and can increase anxiety and paranoia. After the effects of cocaine wear off, cocaine users may have strong cravings to do more of the drug and have anxiety and insomnia.