Snorting is the most common way to use cocaine hydrochloride (powder cocaine). When snorted into the nose, cocaine and its other constituents are slowly absorbed into the blood stream through the mucus membranes in the nasal and sinus cavities. The cocaine enters the blood stream and must circulate through the body and liver, where it is metabolized. Consequently, cocaine reaches the so-called "pleasure center" of the brain slowly and in a relatively small dose.
So why is cocaine so addictive? In brief, the drug stimulates the central nervous system, interfering with the reward centers in the brain which are associated with the basic needs to eat, drink and have sexual intercourse. In tests on animals, the addictive nature of the drug is demonstrated by the animal seeking the drug in preference to food and water, even in times of extreme hunger and thirst.
So-called "street" terms for cocaine include: "coke," "snow," "leaf," "dust," "blow," "nose candy", "speedball" when mixed with heroin, and "crack" when cooked into a rock form.
Suffering from constant symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, the addiction can sometimes appear to be similar to that of a paranoid schizophrenic. Exhibitions of extreme anxiety and agitation are normal. Delusions, visual and audio hallucinations become prevalent. The addict often isolates himself as fear and mistrust develop with all relationships. Cocaine addiction can also lead to the selling or distribution of the drug in the pursuit of continuing to afford their habit. This not only increases the chance of imprisonment, but provides the addict with a constant supply of the drug.
Symptoms of cocaine addiction may include physical problems such as severe loss of appetite and weight loss, nausea, headaches, abdominal pain, neglect of other bodily needs and personal hygiene, mood swings and psychotic behaviors, cardiac problems, collapse of the nasal septum (in the case of repeated snorting of cocaine) and a constantly runny nose, and social problems including neglect of family or work responsibilities, change of friends and other normal social contacts, possibly stealing or selling personal possessions to fund a drug habit and keeping antisocial hours.
Symptoms of cocaine use may include but are not limited to increased energy and mental alertness, hyperactivity and possibly tremors, euphoria, talkativeness, rapid pulse and raised breathing rate, raised body temperature and blood pressure, a runny or stuffy nose and occasionally a bleeding nose, a decrease in appetite, an inflated sense of power or strength, confusion, paranoia, panic and anxiety, hallucinations and dilated pupils. After-effects of cocaine use may be lethargy, intense sleepiness and often depression.
Teen cocaine abuse is a serious problem for many of today’s youth. Teens will often experiment with cocaine once and find that the "high" they experience is like nothing they have ever felt before. Soon, they are using the drug because they are bored, stressed, partying, etc. At this point they have begun to abuse cocaine.
The "high" cocaine produces typically lasts less than 20 minutes. The quicker the drug reaches the brain, the shorter the high: • Injecting cocaine introduces the drug to the bloodstream immediately, and its effects on the brain are instant. • Smoking crack brings cocaine into the bloodstream through the lungs. In less than five seconds, the drug travels to the heart and brain. • When snorted, cocaine enters the bloodstream through mucus membranes in the nose and travels through the body. Some of the drug is processed by the liver and some reaches the brain.