How Does Cocaine Affect The Body

Drugs are an ever-present phenomenon in modern culture, visible in everything from the media to everyday reality. Drugs or narcotics operate by altering the functioning of neurotransmitters in the brain; cocaine is one particularly common and extremely dangerous narcotic.

Cocaine is an addictive substance which is available in various forms for recreational use. Also known as charlie, snow, coke and white, it is a fine white powder which is generally snorted into the nose. However, it is also obtainable in crystalline form, in which case it is known as 'crack'.

The two forms of cocaine differ not only in terms of appearance but also in how they are used and how quickly they affect the body. Powdered cocaine ingested through the nose must be absorbed into the bloodstream before it can begin to take effect. Crack cocaine is often smoked and therefore enters the bloodstream more quickly than powder. Cocaine can also be injected into the bloodstream; this results in the rapid onset of it's effects.

Cocaine, which is extracted from the South American Coca plant, operates by preventing the re-absorption of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This high concentration of dopamine in the brain results in intense feelings of euphoria. This, however, is short-lived lasting between 15-30 minutes when snorted and 5-10 minutes when smoked or injected. The drug must then be used again to sustain the high.

Cocaine use results in numerous negative effects on the body including increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature, constricted blood vessels, abdominal pain, nausea, anxiety, paranoia and panic attacks.

Cocaine is highly addictive and can become an all-consuming habit with serious health consequences in the long term.

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