Not to be confused with Crack, which is cocaine cooked with ammonia (!) to form it into rocks, cocaine has a reputation as the ‘rich man’s drug’. What is in fact the case is that anybody, from any level of society, can become a cocaine addict.
Cocaine (benzoymethylecognine), is a derivative of the leaves of the coca plant native to South America, where it is still widely, though illegally, cultivated.
As with many narcotics, cocaine was originally introduced to the west for medicinal purposes. It was a popular anesthetic, used for treating toothache among other things, including being used as a treatment for morphine addiction!
Cocaine users experience an initial ‘euphoria’ followed by heightened alertness and perceived increases in cognitive abilities, characterised by grandiose or reckless behaviour. Long term use will lead to a tolerance increase and a decrease in these effects. Like other narcotics, cocaine stimulates the Mesolimbic Pathway in the brain, the ‘reward center’, and repeated use makes addiction inevitable.
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