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General Information About Cocaine

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. The powdered, hydrochloride salt form of
cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and injected. Crack is cocaine that has not
been neutralized by an acid to make the hydrochloride salt. This form of cocaine comes in a
rock crystal that can be heated and its vapors smoked. The term "crack" refers to the
crackling sound heard when it is heated.

Regardless of how cocaine is used or how frequently, a user can experience acute
cardiovascular or cerebrovascular emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke, which
could result in sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or
seizure followed by respiratory arrest.

Health Hazards of Cocaine Use

Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that interferes with the reabsorption
process of dopamine, a chemical messenger associated with pleasure and movement. The
buildup of dopamine causes continuous stimulation of receiving neurons, which is
associated with the euphoria commonly reported by cocaine abusers.

Physical effects of cocaine use include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, and
increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. The duration of cocaine's immediate
euphoric effects, which include hyperstimulation, reduced fatigue, and mental alertness,
depends on the route of administration. The faster the absorption, the more intense the
high. On the other hand, the faster the absorption, the shorter the duration of action. The
high from snorting may last 15 to 30 minutes, while that from smoking may last 5 to 10
minutes. Increased use can reduce the period of time a user feels high and increases the
risk of addiction.

Some users of cocaine report feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. A tolerance to
the "high" may develop—many addicts report that they seek but fail to achieve as much
pleasure as they did from their first exposure. Some users will increase their doses to
intensify and prolong the euphoric effects. While tolerance to the high can occur, users can
also become more sensitive to cocaine's anesthetic and convulsant effects without
increasing the dose taken. This increased sensitivity may explain some deaths occurring
after apparently low doses of cocaine.

Use of cocaine in a binge, during which the drug is taken repeatedly and at increasingly high
doses, may lead to a state of increasing irritability, restlessness, and paranoia. This can
result in a period of full-blown paranoid psychosis, in which the user loses touch with reality
and experiences auditory hallucinations.

Other complications associated with cocaine use include disturbances in heart rhythm and
heart attacks, chest pain and respiratory failure, strokes, seizures and headaches, and
gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Because cocaine has a
tendency to decrease appetite, many chronic users can become malnourished.

Different means of taking cocaine can produce different adverse effects. Regularly snorting
cocaine, for example, can lead to loss of the sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with
swallowing, hoarseness, and a chronically runny nose. Ingesting cocaine can cause severe
bowel gangrene due to reduced blood flow. People who inject cocaine can experience
severe allergic reactions and, as with all injecting drug users, are at increased risk for
contracting HIV and other blood-borne diseases.

When people mix cocaine and alcohol consumption, they are compounding the danger each
drug poses and unknowingly forming a complex chemical experiment within their bodies.
NIDA-funded researchers have found that the human liver combines cocaine and alcohol
and manufactures a third substance, cocaethylene, that intensifies cocaine's euphoric
effects, while potentially increasing the risk of sudden death.

Cocaine Treatment

The widespread abuse of cocaine has stimulated extensive efforts to develop treatment
programs for this type of drug abuse.

One of NIDA's top research priorities is to find a medication to block or greatly reduce the
effects of cocaine, to be used as one part of a comprehensive treatment program. NIDA-
funded researchers are also looking at medications that help alleviate the severe craving
that people in treatment for cocaine addiction often experience. Several medications are
currently being investigated for their safety and efficacy in treating cocaine addiction.

In addition to treatment medications, behavioral interventions—particularly cognitive
behavioral therapy—can be effective in decreasing drug use by patients in treatment for
cocaine abuse. Providing the optimal combination of treatment and services for each
individual is critical to successful outcomes.

Cocaine Drug Testing

Testing for cocaine use is simple.  Drug testing can now be done privately at home or work
with an easy to use instant
drug test kit from Uritox Medical. If you have any questions or
concerns please feel free to contact us.

Information provided by UriTox, LLC and The National Drug Abuse Organization.
Cocaine Information
2-7 days
24 Hours
24 Hours
90+ Days
Detection period
Please note these are estimated times. Detection time is an average and can vary greatly.  Detection time can
vary due to multiple circumstances including but not limited to length and amount of use.
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