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Drug Abuse: Cocaine and Crack


Topics on Drug Abuse:
Getting It Straight
Club Drugs
Cocaine and Crack
Prescription Medications
Your Questions
Rumors and Myths
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From the Mentors
Also known as snow, blow, Big C, flake, marching powder, nose candy, freebase, rock

What it is:

Cocaine is a drug that comes from the leaves of the coca plant, usually grown in Central and South America. It's a white powder that is snorted through the nose, smoked, or injected with a needle into the bloodstream. Crack is cocaine that has been processed until it looks like little chunks of crystal or ice, and it's usually smoked (the name comes from the crackling sound it makes when someone does this). Cocaine and crack are very powerful brain stimulants and are highly addictive.

People who use it may experience:

  • Euphoria, which is another name for a "rush" of well-being
  • Temporarily increased energy
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia (the inability to sleep)
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Paranoia, the feeling that people are out to get you or that something bad will happen

The big, serious health risks are:

  • Nosebleeds and damage to the nose tissue
  • Increased temperature, heart rate and blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrest (the heart stops)
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory arrest (breathing stops)

Using cocaine and crack is a problem because:

  • Both of these drugs are very, very addictive, and it can be incredibly difficult to quit.

  • Users develop tolerance, meaning that they eventually need more and more of the drug to get the same effect.

  • The high from cocaine is very short, and is replaced by a "crash" that can leave someone tired, irritable, and depressed.

Next: We look at the drug Heroin.


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