Cocaine is derived from the coca plant which is native to Peru. The leaves of the coca plant have been used by the indigenous people of South America for many decades.
Cocaine generally comes in a white powder form and is sold in gram quantities. It can be obtained in crystal form as a rock which is more commonly known as crack or freebase.
Cocaine is usually insufflated (snorted) through the nose however it can be injected or smoked.
Cocaine is the third most widely used illegal substance in the UK.
Using cocaine can cause heart attacks due to the added strain it puts on your heart. Continued use of cocaine can lead to an irregular or abnormal heart beat, this is when your heart beat goes out or rhythm.
Cocaine increases heart rate and blood pressure and causes veins and arteries to constrict (tighten up).
Cocaine use can cause seizures in some people and in extreme cases, due to the tightening of blood vessels in the brain, can cause strokes.
Snorting cocaine can cause damage to the nose and inside of the nostrils. Persistent and regular use can lead to tears and cuts in the nostrils and in extreme cases the complete breakdown of the septum (thin partition that separates each nostril).
Cocaine use can cause erectile problems (or impotence) in males.
Cocaine should not be mixed with other substances.
Together, alcohol and cocaine can create another substance in the body called cocaethalyne. This can be more dangerous than using alcohol and cocaine individually.
Injecting cocaine should be avoided as it can lead to blood-borne viruses like Hepatitis B.
Snorting cocaine repeatedly can cause damage to delicate nasal tissue. If snorting, it is advised to clean your nose afterwards with a nasal spray or water to reduce damage.
Do not share notes or straws as this increases the risk of passing infections.
It is possible to overdose on cocaine.
Cocaine use will lead to a comedown, where users are likely to feel run down and “low” for at least the next 24 hours. The consumption of energy drinks should be avoided in hot weather as they are likely to cause dehydration.