Cocaine

  1. Absorption
    Cocaine enters the body in one of three ways: injection, smoking, or snorting.

  2. Metabolism/Elimination
    Cocaine is a strong stimulant to the central nervous system. Its effects can last anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours, depending on the content, purity, administration, and dosage of the drug.

  3. Brief Overview
    a. Cocaine users become dependent on the drug.
    b. Crack is a form of the drug that is highly addictive.
    c. Exposure to the drug can harm a developing fetus.
    d. It produces short-lived senses of euphoria, the length depends on how the drug was administered.

  4. Short-term Effects
    a. May cause extreme anxiety and restlessness.
    b. May experience the following medical conditions: twitches, tremors, spasms, coordination problems, chest pain, nausea, seizures, respiratory arrest, and cardiac arrest.

  5. Long-term Effects
    a. May cause extreme alertness, watchfulness, impaired judgment, impulsiveness, and compulsively repeated acts.
    b. May cause stuffiness, runny nose, tissue deterioration inside the nose, and perforation of the nasal septum.
  6. Special Hazards Involving the Driving Task
    a. Cocaine may successfully mask fatigue, however, high dosages impair judgment and interfere with the ability of the driver to concentrate.
    b. Coordination and vision are impaired.
    c. There is an increase in impulsive behaviors with tendencies to take more risks and create confusion within the user.

  7. Effects with Other Drugs
    a. Additive effects are noted when cocaine is combined with over-the-counter products, such as diet pills or antihistamines.
    b. Cocaine taken with psychotropic drugs, especially antidepressants, can be extremely detrimental.
    c. A person who has extremely high blood pressure and uses cocaine may suffer from a stroke or heart attack.
    d. Some users combine cocaine with alcohol and sedatives to cushion the “crash” or feeling of depression and agitation that sometimes occurs as the effects of cocaine wear off.
    e. A person using cocaine maintains the illusion of being alert and stimulated, although physical reactions are impaired.
    f. Further research indicates that additive and antagonistic effects can be produced when cocaine is mixed with alcohol.
    g. If cocaine is used in high doses, as in the case of overdose, alcohol will probably have an additive effect on the symptoms that eventually contribute to death.
    h. When cocaine is injected in combination with heroin, sometimes called “speedballing,” there is an increased risk of toxicity, overdose, and death.
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