Cocaine Abuse Statistics
Cocaine abuse statistics note that this drug is a powerfully addictive stimulant. 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 œcrack refers to the crackling sound heard when it is heated.
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 hyper-stimulation, reduced fatigue, and mental clarity, depends on the route of administration. Cocaine abuse statistics show that 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 cocaine may last 15 to 30 minutes, while that from smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes. Increased use can reduce the period of time an user feels high and increases the risk of addiction.
Although most cocaine in the United States is snorted intranasally, cocaine abuse statistics report that smoking crack cocaine has become widely publicized. The imported hydrochloride salt is converted to a more volatile form, usually by adding sodium bicarbonate, water, and heat. The converted material is combusted, and the resultant smoke inhaled. Onset of effect is quicker and intensity of the œhigh is magnified. Cocaine abuse statistics show that the use of crack by the urban poor and the criminal market for crack has become the most feared problems of drug abuse. Despite frequent predictions, crack use has not expanded as rapidly to the suburbs or the urban middle class. Its continued use still occurs primarily in poor inner-city areas of America.
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. Cocaine abuse statistics note that because this drug has a tendency to decrease appetite, many chronic users can become malnourished.
Cocaine abuse statistics have found that different means of taking cocaine can produce different adverse effects. Regularly snorting cocaine, for example, can lead to loss 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 any injecting drug user, are at increased risk for contracting HIV and other blood-borne diseases.
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. Cocaine abuse statistics show that 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 effects without increasing the dose taken. This increased sensitivity may explain some deaths occurring after apparently low doses of cocaine.