Street name: Cocaine, Coke, Charlie, Blow, Pepsi, Crack, Snow etc
Appearance / taste: White crystalline powder with a bitter numbing taste
Symptoms: Fast heart rate, sweating, large pupils, euphoria, agitation
Street value in Australia: $250 – $400 per gram depending on purity
What is Benzoylmethylecgonine, more commonly known as Cocaine? Cocaine is extracted from a leaf of an Erythroxylon bush that originally was found in Peru and Bolivia and was originally used as a local anesthetic. Cocaine is mostly snorted, smoked or injected to produce an intense and extremely addictive ’high’. Generally the ‘high’ refers to a heightened sense of euphoria where everything is amazing, self confidence and higher sociability – depending on dosage. Around 15 – 19.3 million people have used cocaine once.
So how does Cocaine affect our brain? Once cocaine is ingested, the sympathetic nervous system is activated by increasing the synaptic level of norepinephrine (neurotransmitter) as well as increased amount of dopamine that is released. With the excessive amount of norepinephrine and dopamine, the transport proteins are blocked thus the catecholamine transmitters are removed from the synapse and the transporters are forced to operate in reverse. With an increase in dopamine, there is a part in the forebrain (limbic) that promotes drug craving. This craving causes a user to constantly use the drug until it becomes an addiction.
As a 21 year old who frequents many raves and loves a good boogie in clubs that are known for drugs, I get to use my partially completed Arts degree and analyse the social upbringing and the stigma that surrounds cocaine – or more broadly drugs. Society says drugs are bad and the people who do cocaine are practically heartless criminals who has no life (well according to Today Tonight at least). Yet, I’ve met many budding engineers, doctors or accountants who have stable jobs and love to get loose on the weekend and snort a few lines. Which is why my perception of drug abuse in general has changed. Yes drugs are bad (in most cases) and yes (according to my mum) people who do drugs are ‘wild children who did not get the wooden spoon enough growing up.’ But how is it, that these people who are considered pillars of their family or communities are automatically considered criminals or bad because they choose to recreationally use drugs? In keeping with the topic of cocaine so I do not go off on a tangent, cocaine is destructive and not to mention also illegal. Cocaine abuse affects work and social life as well as family and community life as well. But why do it? Well, while the original use for cocaine may have been for the purpose of local anaesthetic, it is has now become more of a recreational habit for people seeking dangerous thrills in life. The highly addictive nature of cocaine allows users to continually use it until they abuse it and either go broke or end up in hospital. If you ask individuals who have used/ use cocaine, they will either tell you that they use it because they bored and they want to escape their boring reality. And by taking cocaine, they are able to create a bubble of happiness where everything is perfect and nothing bad can happen to them (this all depends on the person, state of mind and the level of addiction they have).
All in all guys, Cocaine is bad. Don’t do Cocaine.
ChartsBin statistics collector team 2010, Current Worldwide Annual Prevalence of Cocaine among Adults, ChartsBin.com [accesssed 15th Aptil 2016]
Hartney, Elizabeth (2016). What Do the Effects of a Cocaine High Feel like? [online] Health. Available at: http://addictions.about.com/od/cocaine/a/What-Do-Cocaine-Effects-Feel-Like.htm [accessed 15th April 2016]
National Institute of Drug Abuse (2010). What is cocaine? [online]. Available at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-cocaine [accessed 15th April 2016]
Rebec, G. (2012) Cocaine and Amphetamines. eLS [online] Available at: http://www.els.net/WileyCDA/ElsArticle/refId-a0000042.html [accessed 15th April 2016]
Image source: http://41.media.tumblr.com/60c6218947a4ce5e56b2c29727686431/tumblr_nc9sd9Pl4s1to519to1_500.jpg