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| Drugs Cocaine|
Cocaine is now top street drug
by Claire Connolly Doyle
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From 1997 to 2000 cocaine was the most common drug reported in emergency room episodes.
Physical addiction is characterized by the presence of tolerance (needing more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect).
The average addict has to steal an average of $1,000.00 worth of property and goods to raise the $200.00.
In 1994 the Drug Enforcement Administration seized 63 meth labs. That figure climbed to 879 in 1996 and 1,627 in 1998.
Cocaine addiction can occur very
quickly and can be very difficult to break. Animal studies have shown that animals
will work very hard (press a bar over 10,000 times) for a single injection of
cocaine, choose cocaine over food and water, and take cocaine even when this
behavior is punished. Animals must have their access to cocaine limited in order
to prevent them from taking toxic or even lethal doses. People addicted to cocaine
behave similarly. They will go to great lengths to get cocaine and continue
to take it even when it hurts their school/job performance and their relationships
with loved ones.
Attempts to stop using the drugs can fail simply because the resulting depression
can be overwhelming, causing the addict to use more cocaine in an attempt to
overcome his depression. This overpowering addiction can cause the addict to
do anything to get cocaine. Recent studies on cocaine addiction have shown some
interesting results. During periods of abstinence from cocaine use, the memory
of the euphoria associated with cocaine, or mere exposure to cues associated
with cocaine use, can trigger tremendous craving and relapse to cocaine, even
after long periods of abstinence.
Researchers have found that cocaine stimulates the brain's reward system inducing an even greater feeling of pleasure than natural functions. In turn, its influence on the reward circuit can lead a user to bypass survival activities and repeat drug use. Chronic cocaine use can lead to a cocaine addiction and in some cases damage the brain and other organs. An addict will continue to use cocaine even when faced with adverse consequences. Cocaine and crack cocaine continue to be the most frequently mentioned illicit substance in U.S. emergency departments (ED), present in 30% of ED drug episodes during 2001. From 2000 to 2001, the number of ED cocaine mentions increased ten percent from 174,881 in 2000 to 193,034 in 2001.
"Crack" is the street name given to cocaine that has been processed from cocaine
hydrochloride to a free base for smoking. Crack cocaine looks like white to
tan pellets or chunks that resemble rock salt or soap. Rather than requiring
the more volatile method of processing cocaine using ether, crack cocaine is
processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water which is
heated to remove the hydrochloride, thus producing a form of cocaine that can
be smoked. The term "crack" refers to the crackling sound heard when the mixture
is smoked (heated), presumably from the sodium bicarbonate. Research studies
regarding crack and addiction, have shown crack to have more addictive properties
than cocaine. This is due to its chemical makeup and method of use.
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