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What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is an illegal drug that makes the person using it feel euphoric. It gives the user a burst of energy and may be snorted, smoked or injected. Cocaine is a highly addictive substance because of the pleasurable feelings it produces among users.

Crack cocaine is a form of the drug that has been processed so that it can be smoked. When crack is smoked, the user receives a large dose of the drug directly to his or her lungs. The resulting high is an intense one, but doesn't last for very long.

Cocaine use affects the body in a number of ways. A person who uses it opens themselves up to a number of health conditions, including:

  • Heart attack

  • Respiratory problems

  • Headaches

  • Seizures

  • Chest pains

  • High blood pressure

  • Increased body temperature

  • Blurred vision

  • Fever

  • Convulsions

Using cocaine on a regular basis can damage the individual's sense of smell, as well as lead to nosebleeds, hoarseness, and trouble swallowing. Cocaine users may also develop a chronic runny nose.

If the cocaine is being injected, the individual will have needle marks on his or her body. These are usually found on their forearms. People who use cocaine intravenously may have an allergic reaction to the drug. Loss of appetite is another side effect of cocaine use, and users may lose a significant amount of weight or suffer from malnutrition.

In some cases, the first time a person uses cocaine may prove fatal. Death occurs as the result of seizures and respiratory arrest or due to cardiac arrest. Bingeing on cocaine, where the drug is used often and in large amounts may lead to episodes of irritability and paranoia. In some cases, the person experiences psychotic episodes (loss of touch with reality with auditory hallucinations) as a result of their cocaine use.

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