cocaine is the most potent stimulant of natural origin. It is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant which grows on the mountain slopes of the Andes Mountains of South America. Illegal cocaine is usually distributed as a white crystalline powder or as an off-white chunky material. Cocaine base is converted into the powder form, which is usually cocaine hydrochloride, by diluting it with other substances. The substances most commonly used in this process are sugars, such as lactose and mannitol, and local anesthetics.
Cocaine is snorted, injected, and smoked (freebase and crack cocaine). Snorting is inhaling cocaine powder through the nose where it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal tissues. Injecting is using a needle to release the drug directly into the bloodstream. Smoking involves inhaling cocaine smoke into the lungs, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream as quickly as when it is injected!
Cocaine is white and looks like a crystalline powder. Cornstarch, crushed or powdered vitamin substances, sugar, and flour are often mixed with cocaine to make the drug less strong. This is called "cutting" the drug. Crack cocaine looks like small (sometimes pink) rocks.
"Crack" is the street name given to cocaine that has been processed from cocaine hydrochloride to a ready-to-use form for smoking. Rather than requiring the more dangerous method of processing cocaine using ether, crack cocaine is processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water and heated to remove the hydrochloride, thus producing a form of cocaine that can be smoked. The term "crack" refers to the crackling sound heard when the mixture is heated, presumably from the sodium bicarbonate. On the illicit market, crack, or "rock," is sold in small, inexpensive dosage units. Smoking this form of the drug delivers large quantities of cocaine to the lungs, producing effects comparable to intravenous injection. These effects are felt almost immediately after smoking, are very intense, and do not last long.
Cocaine has many nicknames and street names such as: Coke, Dust, Toot, Line, Nose Candy, Snow. Sneeze, Powder, White Pony, Flake, The Lady, Cain, Rock, Big C, Blow, Hard Rock, and Crack.
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