Cocaine and Addiction

Street Names
Coke, snow, flake, blow, and many others—crack is often referred to as rock

Brief Description
Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. The powdered, hydrochloride salt form of cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and injected. Crack is cocaine that has not been neutralized by an acid to make the hydrochloride salt. This form of cocaine comes in a rock crystal that can be heated and its vapors smoked. The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound heard when it is heated.*

Effects
A powerfully addictive drug, cocaine usually makes the user feel euphoric and energetic. Common health effects include heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, and seizures. Large amounts can cause bizarre and violent behavior, paranoia, hallucinations and psychosis. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter. Regardless of how cocaine is used or how frequently, a user can experience acute cardiovascular or cerebrovascular emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke, which could result in sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizure followed by respiratory arrest.

Added effects with alcohol
When people mix cocaine and alcohol, they are compounding the danger each drug poses. The human liver combines cocaine and alcohol and manufactures a third substance, cocaethylene, which intensifies cocaine’s euphoric effects, while potentially increasing the risk of sudden death.