Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. Depending on the method of administration and the dosing, its effect can last from 15-30 minutes to an hour. Flake, blow, speedball, crack, rock and toot are common street names and can reflect the method or preparation (like freebase). The most common street name is simply ‘coke’.
Increased feelings of competence and sexuality, as well as alertness, euphoria, energy and motor activity are all often associated with cocaine use. In sports where sustained attention and endurance are required, cocaine has also been known to enhance performance. Of the negative effects, anxiety, paranoia and restlessness are most frequent, and in hi doses, convulsions, tremors and increased body temperature have all been noted.
Currently in America, cocaine is the most commonly abused major stimulant and the drug most frequently involved in emergency room visits. Based on a 2009 study, 4.8 million Americans used cocaine at some point in their lives and 6% by their senior year of high school. Of those, 1 million had abused crack at least once in the year prior to this study. There are also substantial number of young users showing that 1.6% of 8th graders, 2.2 % of 10th graders and 2.9% of 12 graders have abused cocaine in any form.
As United States drug users tend to be multiple or ploydrug users, cocaine has fit right in. It is typically associated with the use of sedatives, alcohol, heroin, and valium in an upper/downer combination, with one drug being used to moderate the side effects of the primary drug.
Because cocaine lacks the symptoms seen in alcohol or heroin addictions, it is often thought of being non-addictive. Actually, cocaine has powerful psychological addictive properties, and a crash follows almost immediately after cocaine use is stopped or when a binge ends. The crash produces powerful cravings for more cocaine, and additional symptoms may include a lack of pleasure, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, sleepiness and sometimes extreme suspicion or agitation.
When addiction is defined as a desire for more of the drug, despite negative consequences, cocaine is a highly addictive drug which cannot be underestimated.