Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. Its immediate effects include dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature. Occasional use can cause a stuffy or runny nose, while chronic use can ulcerate the mucous membrane of the nose. Injecting cocaine with unsterilized equipment can cause aids, hepatitis, and other diseases. Preparation of freebase, which involves the use of volatile solvents, can result in death or injury from fire or explosion.
Cocaine can produce psychological and physical dependency, a feeling that the user cannot function without the drug. In addition, tolerance develops rapidly.
Crack or freebase rock is extremely addictive, and its effects are felt within ten seconds. The physical effects include dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, tactile hallucinations, paranoia, and seizures.
The use of cocaine can cause death by disrupting the brain's control of the heart and respiration.
Cocaine use is the fastest-growing drug problem in America. Most alarming is the recent availability of cocaine in a cheap but potent form called crack or rock. Crack is a purified form of cocaine that is smoked.
Crack is inexpensive to try. Crack is available for as little as $10.00. As a result, the drug is affordable to many new users, including high school and even elementary school students.
Crack is easy to use. It is sold in pieces resembling small white gravel or soap chips and is sometimes pressed into small pellets. Crack can be smoked in a pipe or put into a cigarette. Because the visible effects disappear within minutes after smoking, it can be used at almost any time during the day.
Crack is extremely addictive. Crack is far more addictive than heroin or barbiturates. Because crack is smoked, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. It produces a feeling of extreme euphoria, peaking within seconds. The desire to repeat this sensation can cause addiction within a few days.
Crack leads to crime and severe psychological disorders. Many youths, once addicted, have turned to stealing, prostitution, and drug dealing in order to support their habits. Continued use can produce violent behaviour and psychotic states similar to schizophrenia.
Crack is deadly. Cocaine in any form can cause cardiac arrest and death by interrupting the brain's control over the heart and respiratory system.
The foregoing are excerpts from an article by forest s. Tennant, jr., m.d., dr. p.h., entitled "how to identify, prevent, and guide treatment of drug abuse by youth." It is made available by the international narcotic enforcement officer's association of Albany, New York.