Cocaine is a very strong stimulant, an illicit drug that is mostly made in South American and then smuggled into the United States via Mexico. It is often seen as a white powder and can be snorted up the nose or dissolved and injected. It creates energy, euphoria, alertness and confidence.
Some people choose to mix it with a flammable solvent like ether, which would separate the components that would make a person high from the impurities. The result of smoking the purer components provides a faster and more intense result. This process is referred to as freebasing cocaine.
Cocaine can also be found as small whitish or ivory-colored rocks. Largely in inner cities, drug dealers acquire cocaine then mix it with ammonia or baking soda to separate out impurities. As the mixture is cooked, rocks of crack cocaine form in the liquid. When dried, lumps of crack are broken into smaller rocks, placed in tiny baggies and then sold. When crack cocaine is smoked, it is very quick to addict the user.
Powder cocaine is sometimes used in binges. The high from snorting or injecting cocaine does not last a long time, so a person with enough money may use cocaine again and again, as long as the money and drugs holds out. As tolerance tends to increase with use, the person will find himself using more and more. A cocaine binge can end in exhaustion, personality changes, hallucinations and panic attacks. When a person has been using coke frequently or bingeing, she will normally crash when they stop using the drug. He will feel tired, anxious, depressed and agitated. These feelings and cravings for more of the drug can send a person back to using this drug quickly.
As cocaine is a strong stimulant, it increases heart rate, blood pressure and respiration. It creates stress on the heart and on blood vessels. A few people die from heart attacks or cardiac arrest after using cocaine, and coke use can contribute to one’s risk for stroke.
The Source of Cocaine
Cocaine is the end result of crushing and extracting intoxicating ingredients from the leaves of the coca plant, a shrub that grows at high altitudes. Most of the cocaine in America comes from plants grown in Colombia, Bolivia or Peru.
The leaves are stripped off the plants, mashed and mixed with ammonia or lime. The mixture is the processed with sulfuric acid and gasoline to get a thick paste.
Most South American farmers then sell this paste to cocaine refiners.
Cocaine refining labs are very often built in dense jungle. Coca paste is collected from farmers in the area and then is further refined until the powdered cocaine is produced. There are hundreds of cocaine processing labs found each year in Colombian jungles.
From Colombia, the powder may make its way through Venezuela and then on to America or it may travel straight through Central America by ground transport. Colombian drug cartels hand most of the cocaine off the Mexican drug cartels, who take the risk of moving the product across the border and into communities all across the United States. More cocaine is put on planes or ships and sent to West Africa, and then on to Europe. An increasing amount of cocaine is now being sent to Australia and New Zealand.
Cocaine cuts across all socio-economic classes. From the richest to the poorest, cocaine can turn anyone into an addict. Once the cravings take control and once a cocaine user has to take more of the drug to keep the depression and exhaustion away, they have traded the joys of living for the destruction of addiction. The Narconon Arrowhead drug and alcohol rehabilitation program helps people find long-lasting sobriety after addiction, and can mean a return to the joy of living.