How is Cocaine Taken?
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How is Cocaine Taken?

How is cocaine taken? Cocaine is inhaled, smoked, injected, and ingested orally. Powdered cocaine is typically snorted (inhaled through the nose), although it may be dissolved in water and injected. When snorted, the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal membranes. The drug reaches the brain and produces euphoric effects within 3 to 5 minutes. When injected, the drug is released directly into the bloodstream and reaches the brain within 15 to 30 seconds.

How is cocaine taken today vs. how it was taken in the past? Over the years, the way people use cocaine has changed. For much of the 20th century, inhaling (or œsnorting) cocaine in its powder form was the most common way this drug was used. However, in the early 1980s, a potent and smokeable form of cocaine known as œcrack was developed. Since smoking crack cocaine was less expensive and also provided a more immediate and intense effect than inhaling powder cocaine, crack rapidly became the most commonly used form of the drug in the United States.

Does taking cocaine cause any negative effects to the user? Yes, cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. Individuals who use the drug may become restless, irritable, and anxious. Use of cocaine can also result in constricted blood vessels and increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Heart attack, respiratory failure, stroke, and seizure may also result from cocaine use. Using cocaine at the same time as alcohol is particularly dangerous because it heightens the cocaine's euphoric effect and potentially increases the risk of sudden death. Also, cocaine users who inject the drug expose themselves to additional risks, including contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B and C, and other blood-borne viruses.

Is cocaine addictive? Yes, this drug is a very addictive. It does not matter what method one uses to take cocaine (snort, smoke, inject), they will likely become addicted to the drug. Chronic users risk developing tolerance to cocaine's effects. Many addicts report that as tolerance develops they fail to achieve the positive effects they experienced when they first began using the drug. Thus, they begin to use cocaine with greater frequency and in larger doses.

Currently, how is cocaine taken? Trends in admissions to drug rehabs for cocaine abuse including admissions by how the addict abused the drug can be monitored with the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS). TEDS is an annual compilation of data on the demographic characteristics and substance abuse problems of those admitted to substance abuse treatment, primarily at facilities that receive some public funding. TEDS records represent admissions rather than individuals, as a person may be admitted to substance abuse treatment more than once during a single year. This report examines admissions to substance abuse treatment in which cocaine was the primary substance of abuse. Specifically, this report compares trends in admissions to substance abuse treatment for the two primary routes of cocaine ingestion, smoked and inhaled, between 1995 and 2005.

How is cocaine used? Here are the statistics on the primary ways cocaine was used from 1995-2005 for people entering into drug rehab.

  • The proportion of primary cocaine admissions who smoked the drug declined from 79 percent in 1995 to 73 percent in 2005.
  • In 1995, 63 percent of primary smoked cocaine admissions were younger than 35; by 2005, only 32 percent of primary smoked cocaine admissions were in this age group.
  • The proportion of both inhaled and smoked cocaine admissions who were employed full time decreased between 1995 and 2005.

How is Cocaine Taken?
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