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Cocaine Addiction: History, Types, Uses And Effects

Cocaine is an alkaloid ester stimulant extracted from the leaves of plants including coca that raises heart rate and blood pressure. It is a local anesthetic and vasoconstrictor and is clinically used for that purpose, particularly in the eye, ear, nose, and throat. Cocaine has a powerful effect on the central nervous system effects similar and is one of the most highly abused drugs in the united states. Cocaine, like other stimulants (Meth), affect multiple mechanisms in the brain’s neurons; the mechanism of action involves inhibition of dopamine uptake. From one to three minutes after taking cocaine, the person has an intense feeling of pleasure called “a rush.” This feeling can last for at least 15 minutes or even longer. Cocaine also affects the brain’s reward center.

The reward center releases special chemicals called neurotransmitters. Cocaine releases these neurotransmitters, telling the brain that the person feels good. Users continue to take more cocaine to try to achieve that feeling again.

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How Does Cocaine Affect the Brain?

The onset of the high begins within 15 to 30 minutes of ingestion and lasts for around an hour or two. The drug is so powerful that it can cause an overdose and or severe withdrawal symptoms. Cocaine causes excessive amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for feelings of pleasure and euphoria.
Along with increasing neurotransmitter activity and dopamine production, cocaine also increases:

It will also constrict the peripheral blood vessels.

How Does Cocaine Use Cause Dependence?

When someone injects cocaine, it is absorbed about three times faster than when snorting or smoking. It can cause a surge in dopamine production, followed by an immediate euphoric high. That burst of dopamine also triggers cravings for the drug in the body and creates dependence on the substance. This is why cocaine is one of the most addictive substances out there and many users require detox for cocaine to physically separate them from the substance.

What are the Physical Harms of Cocaine use?

Cocaine changes the way the brain receives information and overly stimulates neurotransmitters. It can have a lasting effect on the way an individual experiences things and their perception of events. Cocaine also has other negative physical side effects on appetite, sinuses, heart functioning, and blood pressure.

Weight Loss:

Cocaine is an appetite suppressant and increases metabolism. Cocaine’s nickname is the skinny drug because it causes people to lose weight and many times in an unhealthy way.

Nose And Sinus Problems:

There is a high rate of nose deformity and sinus problems in long-term cocaine users. The nose can been eroded by the chemicals in cocaine, such as sulfates and ammonia. Individuals that use cocaine for a long period of time can have nasal cavity issues and sinus infections. can become deformed and narrowed, and they may experience difficulty breathing through both nostrils. This can be prevented with the frequent use of nose drops to cleanse and moisturize the nasal passages, but it cannot be reversed.

High Blood Pressure And Heart Attack:

Cocaine use has been proven to cause high blood pressure. High blood pressure as a result of cocaine use can cause pressure to build upon the walls of your arteries due to narrowing caused by cocaine use. The increased blood pressure leads to plaque buildup on your artery walls, which will eventually cause blockage.

Heart Attack:

Cocaine use causes your heart to work harder, which can lead to an enlarged heart. This is known as cardiac hypertrophy, and it’s a leading cause of heart failure and heart attack. Heart failure occurs when the heart doesn’t pump enough blood throughout your body, leading to organ damage.

What Is The Structure Of Cocaine?

Cocaine is made from CoCo plants The weight of cocaine is on average  303.3529
Monoisotopic: 303.147058165

Chemical Formula C17H21NO4

Cocaine Structure

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine affects everyone differently, so not all these behaviors may be present in every person who abuses it:

  • Speaking too much
  • Mood swings
  • Irritable
  • Higher blood pressure and pulse rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Depression
  • Sinus problems
  • Being too excited
  • Lethargy
  • Skin rash or irritation on the arms and chest
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations

What Are The Side Effects of Cocaine Use?

Cocaine is a very powerful central nervous system stimulant that has short-term and long-term side effects. The effects of using this substance include increased energy levels, focus on tasks at hand (especially those requiring concentration), and reduced appetite among other things. Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that can have both short-term and long-term effects on your body. Short-term physiological reactions to using cocaine include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, and increased heart rate or blood pressure among other things (for example adrenaline). Users may also experience tremors as well as muscle twitches when taking this drug which could be why some people refer to it by another name “tremolo”. Some users also experience formication which entails auditory and visual hallucinations which can be very dangerous and anxiety-provoking. If you become paranoid (or see someone become paranoid, and exhibit behaviors like looking in the carpet for coke bugs, this could be what is happening.

How is Cocaine Used?

There are many different methods for consuming cocaine. One of the most common ways people ingest cocaine is by smoking crack otherwise known as freebasing cocaine, which leads users into an intense high upon inhalation of its fumes. Another popular method in recent years has been injection with needles; though less common compared to other ingestion techniques like snorting. Here are the main ways people ingest cocaine:

  • smoking crack cocaine or freebase coke
  • injection by intravenous methods
  • snorting pure cocaine
  • rubbing coke on the gums

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What Is The History of Cocaine?

Coca is a natural stimulant that has been used for a very long time and is considered one of the most potent and potentially harmful stimulants available. Ancient Incas in the Andes consumed coca leaves to quicken their heart rates and breathing to compensate for the scant mountain air 3,000 years before the birth of Christ.

Coca leaves were only used for chewing by native Peruvians during rituals. When Spanish forces invaded Peru in 1532, they breached this taboo. To be more easily manipulated and exploited, coca leaves were provided to enslaved Indians working in Spanish silver mines.

In 1859, German chemist Albert Niemann extracted cocaine from coca leaves, marking the beginning of cocaine’s isolation. The medical establishment did not begin to embrace it until the 1880s.

Sigmund Freud, an Austrian psychologist who used the drug himself, was the first to advocate for the widespread use of cocaine as a tonic for treating depression and erectile dysfunction.

In an article titled “Über Coca” (About Coke), published in 1884, he extolled the virtues of the “magical” drug cocaine. But Freud was hardly a dispassionate observer. He was a heavy cocaine user who advocated for its use among his friends and loved ones. With the addition of coca leaves by John Pemberton to his new soft drink, Coca-Cola, in 1886, the drug’s popularity skyrocketed. Coca-euphoric Cola’s energetic effects on the consumer contributed to the beverage’s meteoric rise in popularity just before the turn of the century.

Many people of various socioeconomic backgrounds utilized elixirs (magical or medical potions), tonics, and wines laced with cocaine and opium between the 1860s and the early 1900s. Famous people like Thomas Edison and Sarah Bernhardt advocated for the “miraculous” effects of cocaine tonics and elixirs. Millions of people were persuaded by Hollywood’s pro-cocaine propaganda during the height of the drug’s popularity in the silent film industry.

The prevalence of cocaine usage grew, and its risks became increasingly apparent. Coca-Cola once contained cocaine, but the drug was removed in 1903 due to public pressure.

Cocaine snorting became commonplace by 1905, and by the following year, hospitals and medical journals were documenting cases of nasal injury caused by the substance. Cocaine was outlawed in the United States in 1922 after the government there stated that the drug was responsible for 5,000 deaths in a single year in 1912.

How Is Cocaine Made?

Knowing every element included in the final product is challenging because of the unregulated, illegal fashion in which street drugs are created. No consideration is given to the safety of the drug users throughout production. As a result, dealers frequently add cutting agents to the cocaine across the distribution chain to boost profits. However, there is a standard first step in producing cocaine.

The coca plant, native to parts of South America, is processed into cocaine. Leaves are collected and soaked in gasoline or other solvents to extract the chemical cocaine hydrochloride, which is then used in the production of cocaine. They are drained and combined with lime and cement to get even more of the valuable chemical out of the leaves. Standard practice calls for a second soaking of the leaves and a final drain. The next step is to remove the leaves before heating or to dry the product and press it into bricks.

Crack cocaine is made by combining cocaine hydrochloride with a combination containing ingredients like baking soda and adding ammonia, acids, and oils. Once the ingredients are combined and cooked, cocaine crystallizes.

Where Does Cocaine Come From?

Cocaine is produced from the coca plant in the lowland jungles of South American countries like Colombia and others along the Andean ridge. Since the coca plant can only be grown organically and in significant numbers in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, these three nations account for the bulk of the world’s cocaine output.

A total of 450 metric tons of pure cocaine were produced in Colombia and Peru in 2008. With 113 metric tons of pure cocaine, Bolivia led the world in production. 4 According to updated estimates from 2014, coca cultivation in Colombia exceeds that of Peru and Bolivia for the first time.

Compared to plants grown in Peru or Bolivia, Colombian coca plants yield less cocaine; hence Colombian cocaine manufacturing units may need to harvest much more coca plants to generate the same amount of cocaine. Cocaine production in Chile is also attracting international attention.

Coca plants are produced, refined, and processed locally, frequently in restricted locations such as native reserves, national parks, and border regions where aerial spraying efforts to eradicate the crops are prohibited.

What Are The Criminal Penalties For Cocaine?

The possession of cocaine to sell it is a class 2 crime. This implies that even for a first crime, you could be looking at a maximum of 10 years in prison (12.5 years if there are aggravating circumstances). If someone is a repeat offender, the potential jail sentence may increase. For a third conviction, the maximum sentence is 18.5 years; for aggravating circumstances, it’s 23. The penalties for possessing that amount of cocaine in a school zone are more severe.

What Are The Phases Of Cocaine Addiction?

The majority of experts in the field of addiction have concluded that there are four primary stages of drug addiction. These stages are experimentation, regular use, high-risk use, and addiction or dependency. Although many factors may contribute to drug addiction, such as genetic and environmental influences, socioeconomic status, personal behavioral patterns, etc., The four phases are:

Stage 1: Drug Experimentation.

Experimentation with drugs is considered the initial step of the addiction process, even though there is no guarantee that it will result in full-blown addiction. Experimenting is frequently tolerated or encouraged in today’s society, particularly among young people. However, it is essential to remember that not all forms of experimentation are risk-free. Experimentation with substances can be an easy gateway to a lifetime of substance use problems, and this is especially true for adolescents who already demonstrate specific risk characteristics for addiction.

Stage 2: Social or Regular Use.

Many people find themselves at a crossroads when they reach the second stage of the process. Although some people will indeed be able to regularly use drugs without relying on them, the danger of abusing substances dramatically increases during this time. When someone uses a substance consistently, their risk of engaging in high-risk behaviors such as driving under the influence of the substance, exhibiting mental instability, or suffering from depression is significantly increased.

Stage 3: Risky Use/Abuse.

It may be challenging to recognize the change between stages 2 and 3 in yourself or a loved one because it can happen so quickly. At this point, the user no longer cares about the consequences of their actions, and drug usage has taken precedence over all other aspects of their life. If the drug is unavailable, physical or mental cravings, as well as melancholy, irritation, or exhaustion, characterize Stage 3 addiction.

Chemical dependency and addiction are the final stages of drug abuse. Continued drug use despite grave repercussions (such as deteriorating physical and mental health, trouble at work or the loss of a job, or criminal behavior) is a hallmark of this stage. Addiction can cause or entirely destroy personal relationships. Addicts rarely enter rehabilitation until they hit rock bottom, whether through arrest or detention, a near-death experience, losing a loved one, etc.

What Country Uses Cocaine The Most?

According to data released by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, England and Wales have the highest per capita cocaine usage rates worldwide.

The United Kingdom ranks #4 in drug use, with 2.25 percent of the population partaking. However, their northern neighbors in Scotland have a much higher rate of indulgence, at 2.34%.

The United States is in the middle with 2.3%, but no country can match Albania’s 2.5%.

Contrary to popular belief, Colombians are not heavy users of cocaine, ranking 34th in the world despite the country’s reputation as a significant exporter of the substance.

What State Uses Cocaine The Most?

The city with the highest cocaine use rates is >Phoenix, Arizona (23.3% of the population has used cocaine)

What Reactions Does Cocaine Cause In The human Body?

When cocaine is ingested in the human body is anesthesia effects by inhibiting excitation of nerve endings or by blocking conduction in peripheral nerves and also binds differentially to the dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine transport proteins than other drugs and directly prevents the reuptake of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine into pre-synaptic neurons. The unique effect cocaine has on dopamine levels is most responsible for the addictive property of cocaine. Cocaine binds to inactivating sodium channels. Sodium influx through these channels is necessary for the depolarization of nerve cell membranes and subsequent propagation of impulses along the course of the nerve. Cocaine is the only local anesthetic with vasoconstrictive properties. This is a result of its blockade of norepinephrine reuptake in the autonomic nervous system. The unique effect cocaine has on dopamine levels is most responsible for the addictive property of cocaine.

What Are Synonyms for Cocaine?

  • Benzoylmethylecgonine
  • beta-Cocain
  • Cocain
  • Cocaina
  • Cocaine
  • Cocainum
  • Kokain
  • L-Cocain
  • L-Cocaine
  • Methyl benzoylecgonine
  • Neurocaine

Brand names for cocaine in countries where it is prescribed legally include: Goprelto, Numbrino

What Are Slang Words For Cocaine?

Common slang terms for cocaine include:

  • Blow.
  • Bump.
  • C or Big C.
  • Coke.
  • Crack.
  • Dust.
  • Flake.
  • Line.
  • Nose Candy.
  • Pearl.
  • Rail.
  • Snow.
  • Sneeze.
  • Sniff.
  • Speedball.
  • Toot.
  • White Rock.

What Are Common Slang Terms For Crack?

  • Black rock.
  • Candy.
  • Chemical.
  • Cookies.
  • Dice.
  • Gravel.
  • Grit.
  • Hail.
  • Hard rock.
  • Jelly beans.
  • Nuggets.
  • Purple caps.
  • Rocks.
  • Scrabble.
  • Sleet.
  • Snow coke.
  • Tornado.

When cocaine is mixed with other substances and used, it also has slang names. For instance, a speedball is when cocaine is mixed with heroin.

What Are Cocaine Addiction Statistics?

Cocaine is one of the most widely abused illegal substances in the world. This infographic shows statistics that can shed light on the cocaine addiction crisis. Here are some statistics on cocaine abuse and dependency:

    • 19% of people reported having used illicit drugs in 2018.
    • In 2019, 35% of minors in grades 8 through 12 reported having used a substance in their lifetime.
    • 12% of all people aged 12 or over report having used illicit drugs within the past month, making them current users in 2018.
    • Drug use is most common in the 18-to-25 age group in 2018, with 39% of all people reporting current drug use.
    • 47% of all young people use illegal drugs at least once by the time they leave high school.
    • Crack Cocaine use has slightly diminished over the years but it is still the second most highly incarcerated drug behind marijuana.

Cocain Addiction Statistics

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Is Cocaine Use Hereditary or Genetic?

There has been a debate about genetics playing a role in addiction and based on data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, genetic factors account for about half of alcohol use disorder cases. So yes, substance abuse (cocaine addiction) is hereditary and one of the factors that contribute to cocaine addiction but not the only factor.

Researchers have also concluded that some genes play a large role in the development of an addiction. For example, the gene responsible for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) movement in neuron synapses seems to be one of the most important genes for predicting alcoholism.

Genes may potentially increase feelings of pleasure that occur when using cocaine causing the user to want the substance more than others might. More research studies and statistical data are needed to confirm a link between genes and stimulant use but it is clear that genetics do play a role in addiction and in cocaine use disorder (CUD).

What Are The Frequently Asked Questions About Cocaine?

How Long Does It Take To Get Cocaine Out Of Your System?

The use of cocaine will show up in your blood and urine, with detection being possible 40-90 minutes after consumption as well 1-2 days later. The length that these substances stay present depends on how much you used; what type it was (potency); plus factors like metabolism rate or other genetic factors may cause results to vary.

How Many People Abuse Cocaine?

Approximately 5 million Americans regularly use cocaine. By 2020, a little less than 2% of eighth graders had used cocaine. Nearly 1% of eighth graders had used Crack in 2020. Since 2013, there have been more fatalities linked to cocaine each year. In 2018, there were 14,666 such fatalities. Cocaine consumption is highest among Americans between the ages of 18 and 25. Up to.5 percent of people worldwide are thought to have used cocaine in the previous 12 months. With so many users, it is hardly surprising that the black market for cocaine is very profitable. Around 234,000 hectares of cocaine are grown illegally worldwide, with South America producing the majority of the drug's production.

What Happens If I Get Arrested For Cocaine in The United States?

Cocaine is listed as a schedule II drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). According to the classification, the chemical has some medical use but can be harmful if used improperly. Every state prohibits the possession, distribution, use, or sale of recreational cocaine. The quantity of cocaine found in a person's possession and its purpose are factors in the severity of the penalties.

What Happens When you Mix Cocaine With Marijuana?

Combining cocaine and a depressant like marijuana can be extremely addictive and lead users to believe that the former is safer than the latter. Combining cannabis in any form with cocaine increases the risk of adverse effects. There's a higher potential for both physiological and mental harm.

What Happens When You Mix cocaine with Opiates?

A Speedball is the street name for the combination of heroin (a depressant opiate) and cocaine (a stimulant). There is a much higher potential for deadly overdose with this combination.

What Happens When You Mix Cocaine With Alcohol?

Addictive mixtures of alcohol and cocaine produce novel compounds. Cocaethylene is one of the most potent of these metabolites. When compared to cocaine and alcohol, this substance is significantly more potent. The toxicity to the liver, heart, and other vital organs is heightened.

What Happens When you Mix Cocaine With Benzodiazepines?

The pharmacological effects of cocaine and benzos are very different since cocaine is an “upper” while benzos are “downers.” The combination of cocaine and benzos can have unintended consequences and severe negative consequences.

How Many People Are Addicted To Cocaine Vs Other Drugs?

Nationally, cocaine accounts for almost 6 percent of all admissions to drug abuse treatment programs. The majority of individuals (68 percent in 2013) who seek treatment for cocaine use ingest cocaine through smoking it in its crack or rock form and also have a high propensity for polydrug use. This means that individuals who abuse cocaine also usually abuse other substances. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that can cause addiction. It can be injected, inhaled, or snorted.

What Happens In Cocaine Addiction Treatment and Rehab?

Substance abuse can be treated with many different treatments. Treatment is effective even for the most severe cases. Often, you’ll receive a combination of these therapies:


When you quit using drugs, your body is given a chance to rid itself of them. Detoxing safely may require medical guidance. Detox is the first step in rehab after a full medical and physchological evaluation takes places.

Medication-assisted therapies

The use of medication can reduce cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms during detox.

Behavioral therapies

Addiction’s root cause can be addressed by cognitive behavioral therapy or other forms of psychotherapy (talk therapy). Counseling is helpful because it boosts confidence and teaches people new ways to deal with difficult situations.

What Are The Causes Of Cocaine Relapse?

Repeated drug exposure conditioned stimuli (such as environmental cues) and the resulting drug urges and cravings are sufficient to induce DeltaFosBB accumulation in striatal neurons. Accumulation of DeltaFosB then triggers a signaling cascade that results in the stabilization and structural rearrangement of chromatin.

Cocaine In The Media

Cocaine is a widely discussed topic that is consistently in the media with books, movies, podcasts, and documentaries made about it.

Are There Books About Cocaine?

There are many books about cocaine. They can be helpful for individuals that want to learn about cocaine. Books about cocaine can also be helpful in certain circumstances for individuals that are looking to find recovery and something to relate to.

  1. The Little Book of Cocaine
  2. The Big Book of Cocaine
  3. The Cocaine-Free Life
  4. More Than You Know: Understanding and Recovering from a Cocaine Addiction
  5. The Cocaine Diaries

What Celebrities Use Cocaine?

  • Whitney Houston
  • Robert Downey Jr.
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Sigmund Freud
  • Johnny Depp
  • Amber Heard

What Are Movies About Cocaine?

There are many different movies and documentaries that have been made about cocaine. Some of the movies about cocaine are inspirational while other movies about cocaine are sad and show how badly drugs can affect your life.

Find Help For Cocaine Addiction

If you are dependent on cocaine or know someone who is, please ask for help. Don’t wait until it’s too late when detox centers are standing by to help you. Cocaine dependency is a serious disorder that requires professional treatment to overcome. Find help today.

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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