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Cocaine and crack

Aka: Snow, charlie, "C", coke, rock, stone, blow, chang, nose candy

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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Remember: All drugs, including the misuse of prescribed medication, can pose serious health risks, up to and including possible death.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a white crystal-like powder without a smell. Cocaine is normally sniffed up the nose and absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal membranes. It may also be injected. Cocaine is usually "cut" (mixed) with other substances.

The drug is also processed into a smokeable form called crack cocaine (small yellow or white rocks of freebase cocaine) this is usually smoked in a glass pipe or in a cannabis joint.

What are the effects of Cocaine?

  • Cocaine is a stimulant. It can alter your mood, making you feel excited or upset.
  • It may make you take more risks than usual, feel more aggressive, be less hungry and feel alert and energetic.
  • Initially the effects of cocaine will lead to a high feeling for the user, but continued use will result in tolerance for the drug.
  • The effects of crack smoking are immediate, peaking for about two minutes and lasting for about 10 minutes. When snorting coke it takes longer to peak but the effects still don’t last that long, only around 20-30 minutes.
  • It may cause aggression and violence, psychosis, paranoia, restlessness and confusion.
  • It may cause anxiety disorders, memory problems, hallucinations, depression, often severe in nature.
  • Snorting cocaine can cause a stuffy or runny nose and chronic snorting can cause rupture of the membrane in the nose causing bloody noses.
  • Cocaine may also harm the health and development of babies born to women who use cocaine during pregnancy.
  • When the effects start to wear off, people experience a long ‘comedown’, when they feel depressed and run down. This crash can happen for days afterwards.

What are the risks of cocaine?

  • Injecting can damage veins and lead to gangrene.
  • When you use unclean needles, injecting cocaine puts the user at risk of contracting HIV, bacterial infections, Hepatitis B and other diseases. If you do decide to inject cocaine, it's really important that you inject as safely as possible. Check out Merchant Quay's guide to safer injecting.
  • Cocaine raises the heart rate and constricts the arteries, this may cause a heart attack.
  • It increases blood pressure and may cause the blood vessels in the brain to burst causing a stroke.
  • It is addictive and because of its powerful effects you can get strong cravings for cocaine. This can lead to you losing control of your drug use. This article contains more information on drug addiction and dependancy. 

What does the law say about Cocaine?

Under Misuse of Drugs Act, it is illegal to produce, possess or supply the drug. It is also illegal to allow premises to be used for producing or supplying cocaine.

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Published February 27th, 2013
Last updated October 28th, 2015
Tags drugs addiction cocaine
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