Cocaine

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug extracted from coca leaves native to South America and was originally developed as a painkiller. It is most often sniffed; the powder is absorbed into the bloodstream through nasal tissues, it can also be ingested or rubbed into the gums.  To absorb the drug rapidly, abusers inject it – this substantially increases the risk of overdose. Inhaling as smoke or vapor speeds absorption with less risk than injecting.

Popular street names include Aunt Nora, Bernice, binge, blow, bump, C, Candy, Charlie, coke, crack, dust, flake, mojo, nose candy, paradise, rock, snow, toot and white. The term crack, which is the street name given to freebase cocaine, refers to the crackling sound heard when the mixture is smoked.

What Are Some Signs of Cocaine Abuse?

After coming down from the cocaine high, there is often a crash period, and users may eat and sleep more than usual. Some other signs that someone may be abusing cocaine include:

  • White powder residue around the nose and mouth
  • Needle marks from injecting the drug
  • Burn marks on hands and lips
  • Drug paraphernalia in their personal effects (e.g., syringes, pipes, spoons, razor blades, small plastic baggies, etc.)
  • Change in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Weight loss
  • Mood swings
  • Increased risk-taking behaviors/more frequent sexual encounters
  • Dilated pupils that may be sensitive to light
  • Runny nose and/or frequent nosebleeds
  • Lack of concern for personal appearance and personal hygiene
  • Financial troubles/Social isolation

Cocaine leaves the body quickly so this may cause some people to abuse cocaine in a binge pattern, taking several doses back to back; which can lead to more physical and psychological dependence than other methods of taking the drug.

As Cocaine abusers take higher doses, they can display signs of anger, hostility, irritability, and even violent outbursts. Long-term users of cocaine may start to experience negative side effects; anxiety, anger, hallucinations and paranoia may be signs of cocaine abuse in someone who has been using for a long period of time.

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