What is Cocaine?

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant made from the leaves of the coca plant. It is the most addictive stimulant found in nature. Cocaine is most often produced in the form of a white, crystalline powder.

What is Crack?

Crack is a form of cocaine that has been processed to make highly potent crystals. The off-white chips, rock crystal, or chunks are heated and smoked. The term crack refers to the crackling sound heard when it is heated.

Other Names for Cocaine

Street or slang names include blow, Charlie, coke, dust, flake, freebase, lady, nose candy, rock, powder, snow, snowbirds, toot, and white.

What Are the Short-Term Effects of Cocaine?

The short-term effects of using cocaine may include:

  • Feeling of well-being

  • Talkativeness

  • Hyper-stimulation

  • Reduced fatigue

  • Dilated pupils

  • Increased body temperature

  • Alertness and Energy

  • Decreased appetite

  • Insomnia

  • Anxiety and paranoia

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Cocaine?

Binge usage of cocaine — when the drug is taken repeatedly and at increasingly high doses — can lead to a state of increasing irritability, restlessness, and paranoia. Chronic use can result in a period of paranoid psychosis, in which the user loses touch with reality. The effects of crack usage are similar to that of powder cocaine. Because it is smoked, however, the user gets high more quickly, and the effects are more intense. The depression following use is also felt more keenly. Users may become violent during or after use.

how is cocaine used?

Cocaine is usually inhaled or "snorted." The powder is chopped, separated into "lines," and then snorted off a small spoon, or through a straw or rolled-up dollar bill. Though less common, cocaine can be injected into veins or under the skin.

Crack is smoked. Chips or chunks are usually placed in a pipe and heated with a match or cigarette lighter. The user inhales the vapors.

Is cocaine addictive?

Yes, cocaine is both physically and psychologically addictive because of its interaction with the brain's dopamine levels. People develop tolerance to cocaine and greater quantities of the drug are needed to produce euphoric effects. In lab experiments, animals will continue to take cocaine until they kill themselves.

How do I recognize a problem with cocaine?

Behavioral signs: Changes in overall attitude/personality, motivation level, academic performance, sleeping habits, activities, social groups or hobbies. Depression, fatigue, carelessness with grooming, hostility, and deteriorating relationships with family members and friends. Inability to meet responsibilities at work, school, or at home.

Physical signs and symptoms: Red, bloodshot eyes; a runny nose or frequent sniffing; increased energy level or rapid speech; suppressed appetite; extreme mood swings; paranoid delusions.

Environmental signs: Paraphernalia, including powder residue on mirrors, CD cases or glass; small baggies or balloons, straight razors, rolled dollar bills, tiny spoons. Frequent trips to the bathroom or other private locations; unexplained need for money; frequent absences from work or school.

Is cocaine illegal?

Yes, cocaine is illegal and its possession, use, and sale carry heavy prison sentences and fines and disciplinary consequences at UCSC.

How do I help a friend who's having trouble with drugs?

If you are concerned about a friend's drug or alcohol use, this website contains information about different ways to help them.