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Cocaine - Download information folder

Possible effects
The effects of cocaine depend on many different circumstances, including the dose and route of administration. If cocaine is sniffed, the effects set in after a few minutes, the effects last between 30 and 60 minutes and thus longer than when injecting or smoking.

Cocaine causes an intense euphoric feeling that is accompanied by increased alertness, restlessness, arousal, and an urge to move. Thoughts begin to race, consumers talk a lot and quickly, they often wander off and produce incoherent utterances. The increased self-confidence sometimes turns into carelessness and arrogant overconfidence.

With the smoking of crack or free base, which is rarely used in Austria, the effect of cocaine occurs after a few seconds, i.e. much faster; however, the effects only last for a few minutes. The rapid absorption of the substance into the bloodstream increases the risk of acute shock, tolerance and dependence potential are much higher than with nasal intake of cocaine.

Negative effects
Cocaine constricts the blood vessels and has a local anesthetic effect (e.g. on the tongue or gums). There is an increase in the heart rate and thus the pulse rate as well as increased blood pressure. Cocaine suppresses hunger, thirst and fatigue. At high doses, cocaine can induce anxiety and delusional states - such as a feeling of being watched or followed - and, on a physical level, muscle spasms or tremors, palpitations, irregular heartbeat, blood pressure problems, and an increase in breathing rate. In extreme cases, cocaine use can lead to cardiac arrest. When coming down from cocaine, the euphoric state is often replaced by depressive moods, irritability, feelings of fear and the desire to consume more.

Mechanism of action
Cocaine enters the bloodstream through the nasal mucous membranes, when smoking crack or free base by inhalation or through injections. Cocaine is fat-soluble, so it can cross the blood-brain barrier to take effect in the brain. In contrast to amphetamine, which causes an increased release of the messenger substances norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, cocaine prevents the re-absorption of these messenger substances in the nerve cells. However, the result is similar for both substances: the neurotransmitters accumulate in the synaptic gap. As a result, dopamine and norepinephrine can constantly stimulate the downstream nerve cells, which is experienced psychologically as a feeling of elation and strength. After the intoxication, the brain needs a few days to rebuild the neurotransmitters: depressive moods, tiredness and apathy are the result.

Possible long-term consequences
Cocaine has a high psychological dependency potential - the temptation to consume cocaine again quickly in order to feel the state of strength and euphoria again and thus also to dissolve the difficult-to-bear emptiness state leads to psychological dependence in some. Dependence on cocaine is usually not characterized by uninterrupted use of the substance, but rather by the so-called "binge" pattern: a few days of intensive use of large quantities is followed by a phase of exhausted abstinence in which those affected believe they have their use under control and stop at any time to be able to. The days of abstinence are followed by cocaine-binging (intensive consumption). After a short time, this consumption pattern leads to exhaustion of the body, flu-like body aches and pains, weight loss and a chronic runny nose.

Mentally, intensive cocaine consumption can express itself in anxiety disorders, personality changes, depression and so-called cocaine psychoses. In cocaine psychosis, those affected suffer from paranoid delusions, visual, acoustic or tactile hallucinations - such as a strong stinging under the skin.

Although cocaine is considered a sex drug, chronic cocaine consumption significantly reduces the desire for sex - in psychology this is referred to as a decrease in libido. Men who are addicted to cocaine often suffer from impotence, women experience disorders of the menstrual cycle or a lack of menstrual bleeding.

On a physical level, frequent cocaine use can lead to chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa that is difficult to heal, and in extreme cases to perforations or perforations in the nasal septum. In the long term, chronic cocaine use can lead to spasmodic constrictions of the heart vessels and thus to damage to healthy heart tissue, even in young people - heart defects and heart attacks are the direct consequences of these physical changes.

Never consume with ...

  • Pre-existing diseases of the cardiovascular system, asthma, diseases of the liver and hyperthyroidism. Particularly in people with pre-existing cardiac and circulatory damage, the contraction of the coronary arteries can lead to reduced blood flow, the resulting reduction in oxygen, in extreme cases, leading to a heart attack.
  • Cocaine increases the risk of convulsions and therefore represents an increased risk for epileptics.
  • Cocaine can aggravate or trigger mental health problems or illnesses.
  • Cocaine use during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, birth defects, and sudden infant death syndrome. The vasoconstricting effect of cocaine leads to a reduced blood flow to the uterus and thus to an undersupply of oxygen to the unborn child. Damage to all organs and tissues can occur as a result of cocaine consumption, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. Often there are malformations of the urogenital tract, i.e. the urinary and genital organs, and neuronal damage - pathological changes and developmental disorders of the nervous system.

Mixed consumption

  • Cocaine & alcohol
    The combination of cocaine and alcohol leads to an underestimation of the effects of alcohol. You feel sober but you are drunk. Overconfidence and loss of control, especially in traffic, increase the dangers for you, friends and acquaintances, as well as other road users.
  • Cocaine & other "uppers"
    Mixing it with other uppers such as speed, high amounts of caffeine or energy drinks in particular puts a great strain on your cardiovascular system and can lead to life-threatening conditions.

Risk reduction
If you consume cocaine despite health and criminal dangers, you should - in addition to the general information on risk reduction - be aware of the following points:

  • Because of its high price, cocaine is often mixed with an additive. Without chemical analysis, you cannot therefore know exactly what and how much you are currently taking. Take little and avoid adding more.
    Information on common extenders do you find here.
  • If consumption becomes regular, you should take longer breaks to avoid developing psychological addiction. If you have problems controlling your consumption, you should seek advice and support from the staff of a counseling center.
  • The most harmful method of taking cocaine is to inject it, especially when it is combined with heroin ("speedballs").
  • When using IV you should use clean syringes because of the risk of infection with Heptatis B and C and HIV. You can get syringes and syringes from some drug advice centers, in Vienna from Jedmayer or change.
  • The least harmful method of taking cocaine is sniffing: the effects are gradual and last longer than other forms of use. The most important "safer sniffing rules" can be found further down the page Risk reduction.

Chemical
Cocaine is a white, crystalline, bitter-tasting powder that is made from coca leaves with the addition of water, lime or sodium carbonate, kerosene and ammonia. On the black market, cocaine is stretched with other substances, whereby in addition to the usual stretchers - such as milk powder - vasoconstricting or synthetic, analgesic or anesthetic agents such as lidocaine or novocaine are used. Cocaine is usually snorted, but it can also be given intravenously (injected). Through chemical conversion, cocaine can be converted into smokable forms - crack or free base. The psychological effects triggered by these two forms set in within a few seconds and only last for a few minutes, but never longer than 10 minutes. Crack and free base lead to severe psychological dependence more quickly than other forms of cocaine use.

history
In the Andean countries of South America - the region of origin of the coca bush - coca leaves have been ingested for centuries for religious, mystical, social and medicinal reasons. The consumption of coca leaves increases endurance, suppresses hunger and increases well-being. The psychoactive substance of the coca bush was first chemically isolated by Albert Niemann in the middle of the 19th century.

The founder of psychoanalysis, the Viennese doctor Sigmund Freud, was so enthusiastic about the euphoric and activating effect of cocaine after a few self-experiments that he touted it as a new “miracle drug” in his article “About Coca”. Freud's opinion was to change quickly: a good friend of the Viennese doctor, who wanted to get rid of his morphine addiction with cocaine, increased his daily cocaine dose to over a gram and finally died of the effects of his cocaine use.

In medicine, cocaine was used as a local anesthetic because of its astringent or vasoconstricting effects. In 1888 a drink based on coca and cola nut extracts came on the market, which was marketed as a headache remedy and as a stimulant for adults - the drink was called Coca-Cola. But as early as 1906, the addition of cocaine to beverages and over-the-counter drugs was prohibited by law in the USA.

Cocaine use increased sharply during the 1920s, but declined in the 1930s with the advent of amphetamines - amphetamines are easier and cheaper to produce - the psychological effects of amphetamines last longer than those of cocaine.

The law
Cocaine and crack are subject to the narcotics law. Acquisition, possession, production, import and export, transfer (transfer) to and procurement (sale) for others is punishable by law and can result in fines or imprisonment.