Health Effects

  • Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. Its immediate effects include dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature. In addition, cocaine use can lead to death by cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.
  • Cocaine powder is sniffed or snorted. The euphoric high tends to last for approximately 30 minutes. Occasional use can cause a stuffy or runny nose, while chronic use can ulcerate the mucous membrane of the nose. Cocaine powder can also be injected into the bloodstream when it is mixed with water. Using contaminated equipment to inject cocaine, or any other substance, can transmit HIV and cause HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other diseases.
  • Preparation of freebase, which involves the use of volatile solvents, can resultin death or injury from fire or explosion. Inhalation of cocaine fumes from freebasing produces effects that are very fast in onset, very intense and momentary in duration.
  • Crack is cocaine that is processed into tiny chips having the appearance of slivers of soap. Crack has become a very popular form of cocaine, since it is inexpensive and relatively easy to use. It is smoked in a pipe or rolled with tobacco in a cigarette. Cocaine can produce psychological and physical dependency, a feeling that the user cannot function without the drug. Many users become extremely depressed when not using the drug, and the craving for the drug is intense. In addition, tolerance develops rapidly.
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