What is cocaine?

Cocaine is a substance produced by the coca plant. Cocaine differs in potency due to varying levels of purity and speed of onset. Cocaine powder is usually snorted through the nostrils or dissolved in water and injected through the veins. Cocaine is a stimulant drug that speeds up physical and mental processes and creates heightened energy and confidence. Cocaine that is sold on the street looks like fine, white crystalline powder. In powder form, coke is usually "snorted" into the nostrils but it can be rubbed onto the mucous lining of the mouth, rectum, or vagina. Users can snort, smoke, or inject cocaine depending on the form of the drug.

People can become dependent on cocaine quickly because it has extreme euphoric effects and the highs are for very short periods of time. Cocaine dependence is an expensive addiction because of the drug's short half-life, there is a need for frequent dosing to maintain a high. People with cocaine dependence often turn to crimes such as theft, prostitution, or drug dealing to get money to buy more of the drug. Responsibilities may be neglected to use cocaine.

What is Crack?

In the United States, crack is a commonly used form of cocaine. Cocaine can be chemically altered to remove other substances. This process is called "freebasing," and it is dangerous.T he pure form of cocaine that results ("free base") is smoked rather than snorted. Crack is a raw form of free base. It is different from cocaine because it is easily vaporized and inhaled which causes an extremely rapid onset of effects. Crack dependence develops rapidly. As soon as crack users come down from one high, they want more; crack addicts need to get another high within minutes. Crack addicts can spend thousands of dollars on the drug in one or two days.


After stopping or cutting down the use of cocaine, the user will experience a withdrawal that usually lasts between one and four days. During this time, the user may experience withdrawal symptoms of:

* fatigue
* vivid and disturbing dreams
* sleeping disturbance
* irritability
* increased appetite
* physical slowing down or speeding up
* depressed
* paranoid
* suicidal

The symptoms usually peak in two to four days but feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability, and low-level cravings may continue for weeks. Even after a user has stopped using cocaine and begins to forget about the crash, he or she may still feel an intense craving for the drugs.