GET THE FACTS ...Cocaine Affects Your Brain.The word "cocaine" refers to the drug in both a powder (cocaine) and crystal (crack) form. It is made from the coca plant and causes a short-lived high that is followed immediately by opposite, intense feelings of depression, edginess, and a craving for more of the drug. Cocaine may be snorted as a powder, converted to a liquid for injection with a needle, or processed into a crystal form to be smoked.
Cocaine Affects Your Body. People who use cocaine often don't eat or sleep regularly. They can experience increased heart rate, muscle spasms, and convulsions. If they snort cocaine, they can also permanently damage their nasal tissue.
Cocaine Affects Your Emotions.Using cocaine can make you feel paranoid, angry, hostile, and anxious, even when you're not high.
Cocaine is Addictive. Cocaine interferes with the way your brain processes chemicals that create feelings of pleasure, so you need more and more of the drug just to feel normal. People who become addicted to cocaine start to lose interest in other areas of their life, like school, friends, and sports.
Cocaine Can Kill You. Cocaine use can cause heart attacks, seizures, strokes and respiratory failure. People who share needles can also contract hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, or other diseases.
BEFORE YOU RISK IT ...Know the Law. Cocaine - in any form - is illegal.
Stay Informed. Even first-time cocaine users can have seizures or fatal heart attacks.
Know the Risks.Combining cocaine with other drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous. The effects of one drug can magnify the effects of another, and mixing substances can be deadly.
Be Aware. Cocaine is expensive. Regular users can spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars on cocaine each week.
Stay in Control. Cocaine impairs your judgement which may lead to unwise decisions around sexual activity. This can increase your risk for HIV/AIDS, other diseases, rape, and unplanned pregnancy.
Look Around You.The vast majority of teens aren't using cocaine. According to a 1998 study, less than 1% of teens are regular cocaine users. In fact, 98% of teens have never even tried cocaine.
KNOW THE SIGNS ...How can you tell if a friend is using cocaine? Sometimes it's tough to tell. But there are signs you can look for. If your friend has one or more of the following warning signs, he or she may be using cocaine or other illicit drugs:
- Red, bloodshot eyes
- A runny nose, or frequent sniffing
- A change in groups of friends
- Acting withdrawn, depressed, tired or careless about personal appearance
- Losing interest in school, family, or activities he or she used to enjoy
- Frequently needing money
Q & A ...Q: Is cocaine really still a problem?
A: Yes. While the number of cocaine users has decreased since it's height of popularity in the 1980s, there have been nearly two million cocaine users every year since 1992.
Q: Isn't crack less addictive than cocaine because it doesn't stay in your body very long?
A: No. Both cocaine and crack are powerfully addictive. The length of time it stays in your body doesn't change that.
Q: Don't some people use cocaine to feel good?
A: Any positive feelings are fleeting and often followed by some very bad feelings, like paranoia and intense cravings. Cocaine may give users a temporary illusion of power and energy, but it often leaves them unable to function emotionally, physically, and sexually.
COCAINE IN CONNECTICUT
Cocaine is still a popular drug of choice and still widely abused in Connecticut, with crack being preferred over powder. The majority of cocaine is converted into crack locally within the state. Street level distribution of crack seems to still be controlled primarily by Puerto Rican and African American groups. Cocaine is available in many sizes from gram to kilogram quantities. The majority of cocaine smuggling and distribution organizations are now comprised of a mix of Puerto Rican, Mexican, and African American individuals often working in concert. Cocaine has traditionally, and continues to arrive in Connecticut from New York via automobiles sometimes equipped with sophisticated hidden compartments. Source of supply for cocaine also included Mexican transportation groups based in mid-Atlantic, southern, and western states throughout the U.S.
For more information, visit www.health.org