Cocaine (from French: cocaïne, from Spanish: coca, ultimately from Quechua: kúka) is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. As an extract it is mainly used recreationally and often illegally for its euphoric effects. It is also used in medicine by Indigenous South Americans for various purposes and rarely as a local anaesthetic elsewhere. It is primarily obtained from the leaves of two Coca species native to South America: Erythroxylum coca and E. novogranatense. After extraction from the plant, and further processing into cocaine hydrochloride (powdered cocaine), the drug is administered by being either snorted, applied topically to the mouth, or dissolved and injected into a vein. It can also then be turned into free base form (crack cocaine), in which it can be heated until sublimated and then the vapours can be inhaled.
Cocaine stimulates the reward pathway in the brain. Mental effects may include an intense feeling of happiness, sexual arousal, loss of contact with reality, or agitation. Physical effects may include a fast heart rate, sweating, and dilated pupils. High doses can result in high blood pressure or high body temperature. Effects begin within seconds to minutes of use and last between five and ninety minutes. As cocaine also has numbing and blood vessel constriction properties, it is occasionally used during surgery on the throat or inside of the nose to control pain, bleeding, and vocal cord spasm.
A single dose of cocaine induces tolerance to the drug's effects. Repeated use is likely to result in cocaine addiction. Addicts who abstain from cocaine experience cocaine craving and drug withdrawal, with depression, decreased libido, decreased ability to feel pleasure and fatigue. Use of cocaine increases the overall risk of death and intravenous use particularly increases the risk of trauma and infectious diseases such as blood infections and HIV. It also increases risk of stroke, heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia, lung injury (when smoked), and sudden cardiac death. Illicitly sold cocaine is commonly adulterated with fentanyl, local anesthetics, levamisole, cornstarch, quinine, or sugar, which can result in additional toxicity. In 2017, the Global Burden of Disease study found that cocaine use caused around 7,300 deaths annually.
Globally, in 2019, cocaine was used by an estimated 20 million people (0.4% of adults aged 15 to 64 years). The highest prevalence of cocaine use was in Australia and New Zealand (2.1%), followed by North America (2.1%), Western and Central Europe (1.4%), and South and Central America (1.0%). Since 1961, the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs has required countries to make recreational use of cocaine a crime. In the United States, cocaine is regulated as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and has an accepted medical use for treatment. While rarely used medically today, its accepted uses are as a topical local anesthetic for the upper respiratory tract as well as to reduce bleeding in the mouth, throat and nasal cavities.
Topical cocaine is sometimes used as a local numbing agent and vasoconstrictor to help control pain and bleeding with surgery of the nose, mouth, throat or lacrimal duct. Although some absorption and systemic effects may occur, the use of cocaine as a topical anesthetic and vasoconstrictor is generally safe, rarely causing cardiovascular toxicity, glaucoma, and pupil dilation. Occasionally, cocaine is mixed with adrenaline and sodium bicarbonate and used topically for surgery, a formulation called Moffett's solution.
Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant. Its effects can last from 15 minutes to an hour. The duration of cocaine's effects depends on the amount taken and the route of administration. Cocaine can be in the form of fine white powder, bitter to the taste. Crack cocaine is a smokeable form of cocaine made into small "rocks" by processing cocaine with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water. Crack cocaine is referred to as "crack" because of the crackling sounds it makes when heated.
Analysis of the correlation between the use of 18 various psychoactive substances shows that cocaine use correlates with other "party drugs" (such as ecstasy or amphetamines), as well as with heroin and benzodiazepines use, and can be considered as a bridge between the use of different groups of drugs.
Rolled up banknotes, hollowed-out pens, cut straws, pointed ends of keys, specialized spoons, long fingernails, and (clean) tampon applicators are often used to insufflate cocaine. The cocaine typically is poured onto a flat, hard surface (such as a mobile phone screen, mirror, CD case or book) and divided into "bumps", "lines" or "rails", and then insufflated. A 2001 study reported that the sharing of straws used to "snort" cocaine can spread blood diseases such as hepatitis C.
Subjective effects not commonly shared with other methods of administration include a ringing in the ears moments after injection (usually when over 120 milligrams) lasting two to 5 minutes including tinnitus and audio distortion. This is colloquially referred to as a "bell ringer". In a study of cocaine users, the average time taken to reach peak subjective effects was 3.1 minutes. The euphoria passes quickly. Aside from the toxic effects of cocaine, there is also the danger of circulatory emboli from the insoluble substances that may be used to cut the drug. As with all injected illicit substances, there is a risk of the user contracting blood-borne infections if sterile injecting equipment is not available or used.
An injected mixture of cocaine and heroin, known as "speedball", is a particularly dangerous combination, as the converse effects of the drugs actually complement each other, but may also mask the symptoms of an overdose. It has been responsible for numerous deaths, including celebrities such as comedians/actors John Belushi and Chris Farley, Mitch Hedberg, River Phoenix, grunge singer Layne Staley and actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Experimentally, cocaine injections can be delivered to animals such as fruit flies to study the mechanisms of cocaine addiction.
Opioid involvement in cocaine overdose deaths. The green line is cocaine and any opioid (top line in 2017). The gray line is cocaine without any opioids (bottom line in 2017). The yellow line is cocaine and other synthetic opioids (middle line in 2017).
Acute exposure to cocaine has many effects on humans, including euphoria, increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and increases in cortisol secretion from the adrenal gland. In humans with acute exposure followed by continuous exposure to cocaine at a constant blood concentration, the acute tolerance to the chronotropic cardiac effects of cocaine begins after about 10 minutes, while acute tolerance to the euphoric effects of cocaine begins after about one hour. With excessive or prolonged use, the drug can cause itching, fast heart rate, and paranoid delusions or sensations of insects crawling on the skin. Intranasal cocaine and crack use are both associated with pharmacological violence. Aggressive behavior may be displayed by both addicts and casual users. Cocaine can induce psychosis characterized by paranoia, impaired reality testing, hallucinations, irritability, and physical aggression. Cocaine intoxication can cause hyperawareness, hypervigilance, and psychomotor agitation and delirium. Consumption of large doses of cocaine can cause violent outbursts, especially by those with preexisting psychosis. Crack-related violence is also systemic, relating to disputes between crack dealers and users. Acute exposure may induce cardiac arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation. Acute exposure may also lead to angina, heart attack, and congestive heart failure. Cocaine overdose may cause seizures, abnormally high body temperature and a marked elevation of blood pressure, which can be life-threatening, abnormal heart rhythms, and death. Anxiety, paranoia, and restlessness can also occur, especially during the comedown. With excessive dosage, tremors, convulsions and increased body temperature are observed. Severe cardiac adverse events, particularly sudden cardiac death, become a serious risk at high doses due to cocaine's blocking effect on cardiac sodium channels. Incidental exposure of the eye to sublimated cocaine while smoking crack cocaine can cause serious injury to the cornea and long-term loss of visual acuity.
Physical side effects from chronic smoking of cocaine include coughing up blood, bronchospasm, itching, fever, diffuse alveolar infiltrates without effusions, pulmonary and systemic eosinophilia, chest pain, lung trauma, sore throat, asthma, hoarse voice, dyspnea (shortness of breath), and an aching, flu-like syndrome. Cocaine constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, and increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. A common but untrue belief is that the smoking of cocaine chemically breaks down tooth enamel and causes tooth decay. Cocaine can cause involuntary tooth grinding, known as bruxism, which can deteriorate tooth enamel and lead to gingivitis. Additionally, stimulants like cocaine, methamphetamine, and even caffeine cause dehydration and dry mouth. Since saliva is an important mechanism in maintaining one's oral pH level, people who use cocaine over a long period of time who do not hydrate sufficiently may experience demineralization of their teeth due to the pH of the tooth surface dropping too low (below 5.5). Cocaine use also promotes the formation of blood clots. This increase in blood clot formation is attributed to cocaine-associated increases in the activity of plasminogen activator inhibitor, and an increase in the number, activation, and aggregation of platelets. 041b061a72