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Cocaine addiction
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Cocaine addiction

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This article should be merged with  cocaine.

The neutrality of this article is disputed.

Cocaine addiction is obsessive or uncontrollable abuse of cocaine. Twelve Step Cocaine Anonymous groups modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous exist to combat this problem.

The term addiction derives from the Latin word addicere, which means "to sentence". If you are addicted, you are that one who has no power to overcome the habit. Your wills are completely depending on the presence of some substance in your body. Some people strongly believe that addiction is not having control over their lives, even if this is not a case yet, it will. I have never met any addicts who on the early stage of addiction knew that it would completely turn his or her life over. Cocaine has been called the "Drug of Illusion"....

Table of contents
1 History
2 Basis of Addiction
3 Routes of Administration
4 Effects
5 See also
6 External link

History

Many substances in nature have medicinal qualities. Leaves, seeds, and roots of plants have very active alkaloids (toxins) that primary have protective function for the valuable parts of the plant. The most valuable part has more toxins (for example: seeds). These toxins are lethal for the small animals, but also in small doses they produce some euphorically effects in big animals like humans. When people discovered these pleasurable effects, they had discovered the recreational drugs. Long ago, South Americans discovered the pleasurable effects of chewing coca leaves. The effects of this drug on the brain kept the user coming back for more. The Addiction was born... Many recreational drug users argue that pure natural products will not cause the addiction in severe forms (marijuana case). Partially they are right; the quantities of active substances in this products are relatively small to compare with designers drugs, but natural desire for more: in this case tolerance, pushing the user up to the limits. They use the drug in biggest quantities, in purest forms. In our era of technological revolution, when the purest forms of the drugs has been synthesized, plants with higher concentration of alkaloids has been cultivated, we observed the severest forms of drug addictions. Cocaine was extracted from the coca plant in 1859 by Albert Neiman. Cocaine was highly regarded in 1880's and 1890's, and many prominent figures advocate the therapeutic use of cocaine: Pope Leo XII, Sigmund Freud, Jules Verne, and Thomas Edison. The abuse of cocaine was largely non-existent in the United States until the 1960's. The use of the drug has been prohibited, both in patient medicine and for recreational use, since 1914.

Basis of Addiction

Cocaine has positive reinforcement effects, which refers to the effect that certain stimuli have on behavior. That is, these effects include activation of the reinforcement mechanism. This activation strengthens the response that was just made. If the drug was taken by a fast acting route such as injection or inhalation, the response will be the act of taking more drug, so the response will be reinforced. After cocaine is introduced to the body it travels to reward areas of the brain: Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA), Nucleus Accumbens and Prefrontal Cortex. These areas are saturated with dopamine synapses. Normally, after dopamine release in the synaptic cleft, it binds to the dopamine receptors; reuptake sites (protein transported structures) will utilize the rest of the neurotransmitter (dopamine). In the presence of cocaine the normal process of reuptaking is breached. Cocaine binds to the uptake sites, which leave the higher concentration of dopamine in the synaptic cleft. The higher activation of dopamine receptors in the post-synaptic cell causes increased production cAMP inside the cell. It will lead to changes including the abnormal firing patterns. As a result of higher concentration of cocaine in reward section of the brain, it produces higher frequencies of impulses, which activates the reward system. Chronic use of cocaine creates a pathological pathway, which substitutes the natural rewarding feelings. In order to maintain this pathway, the abusers have to use more drugs (this phenomenon is called tolerance). The natural reinforces such, as foods, water, sex, no longer are being able to perform this function. Besides the activation of the reward system, cocaine affects the metabolic activity of the brain. The brain of chronic cocaine users can not utilize glucose, the main energy source for the brain, which results in violation of many brain functions; also it can explains the craving for sweets in cocaine abusers.

Routes of Administration

Intranasal: Absorption is approximately 80% through the nasal membranes when cocaine powder is "snorted." The blood vessels limit absorption. Chronic use results in ongoing rhinitis and necrosis of the nasal membranes. Cellulose granulomas from adulterants have also been found in the lungs of recreational "sniffers."
 
Injection: The intravenous route of administration provides the highest blood levels of drug in the shortest time. Injection of cocaine produces an exhilarating rush. The euphoria passes quickly as the liver rapidly metabolizes the drug. Besides the toxic effects of cocaine, there is also danger of circulatory emboli from the insoluble substances that may be used to cut the drug. Obviously, there is also a risk of serious infection associated with the use of contaminated needles.
 
Free-base: The smoking (or injection) of free-base cocaine has become popular because it eliminates some of the cutting agents and also produces a stronger high due to the rapid lung absorption. Cocaine hydrochloride is dissolved in water. A solvent (ether or ammonia) is added to release the cocaine alkaloid. A stronger base is then added to neutralize the acid content. The solvent rises to the top to be drawn off. As the solvent evaporates, the cocaine salt oxidizes off, leaving cocaine base. In addition to the potential cardiovascular complications, side effects from chronic free-basing include chest pain, sore throat, hoarse voice, dyspnea, and an aching, flu-like syndrome. The greatest danger is that of overdose since a high blood level is quickly achieved.
 
"Crack" is the cocaine free-base sold by drug dealers. It is so named because it emits cracking sounds when smoked. The relatively cheap cost has made recreational use widely available to a larger population.

Effects

Cocaine is potent central nervous system stimulant. Its effects last from 20 minutes to several hours, depending on drug content and purity. The initial signs of stimulation are increased motor activity, restlessness, tachycardia, increased blood pressure, and euphoria. The euphoria is quickly followed by feelings of discomfort and depression and craving to re-experience the drug. With excessive dosage the drug can produce hallucination, paranoid delusions itching, and cocaine "bugs" (sensation of insects crowing on or under the skin). Overdose cause tachy-arythmias and a marked elevation of blood pressure. These can be a life treating, especially if the user has underlying cardiac disease. Toxicity results in seizures, followed by respiratory and circulatory depression of medullar origin. Cocaine is also highly pyrogenic because the stimulation and increased muscular activity cause greater heat production. Heat loss is inhibited by the intense vasoconstriction. Cocaine-- induced hyperthermia may cause muscle cell destruction and myoglobinuria resulting in renal failure.

See also

External link