In This Article:

A Brief Overview of Cocaine

  • By: Andrew Easler, Esq.
  • Published: Oct, 7 2021
  • Updated: Nov, 30 2022

Just a few years ago, many people thought that cocaine had seen its heyday and would be virtually gone from the streets forever. However, over the past years, cocaine has seen a massive resurgence all over the United States. Though it is not as dangerous as heroin, LSD, and other DEA Schedule I substances, cocaine falls just beneath them as a Schedule II drug. This overview should give you a thorough understanding of this all too prevalent drug, where it comes from, and how it affects its users.

The Historical Background of Cocaine

Cocaine derives from the leaves of the coca bush (Erythroxylon), and is primarily found in South America. People have been consuming these leaves for a number of reasons for at least 5,000 years. Some of the uses for coca leaves throughout history have been:

  • Appetite suppressant
  • Energy boost
  • Fatigue relief
  • Pain relief

It was not until 1860, though, that Albert Niemann would isolate the drug itself. Then, within the next 20 years after Neimann’s achievement, it gained usefulness as an anesthetic in a number of types of surgery for the eyes, nose, and throat. Not only was it good as an anesthetic, though, but it also decreased bleeding, as it constricted the patient’s blood vessels.

Coca leaves and cocaine gained so much popularity in beverages and other products, though, that the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914 was necessary to ban cocaine importation for any reason other than medical or pharmaceutical uses.

This, of course, did not stop illegal cocaine trafficking, which only gained speed with the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. This further regulated pharmaceutical amphetamines, driving recreational drug users to a more available substance – cocaine. Then, with the advent of crack cocaine in the 1980s, cocaine, gained even more popularity on the streets.

Details – What Is Cocaine?

You know that cocaine was derived from coca leaves, but what is it? And what does it do? Cocaine is a very powerful stimulant. When sold on the streets, it comes in the form of a fine white powder. To keep their profit margins up, dealers may “cut” their cocaine by mixing it with baby powder, flour, cornstarch, or other substances. They may also mix it with other, cheaper stimulants to keep their customers from noticing the difference.

Most often, users will get high on cocaine by snorting it. However, it may also be smoked (as in the case of crack cocaine), or it may also be injected.

Street Names for Cocaine

Some of the most common street names for cocaine in powder form include:

  • Coke
  • Flake
  • Snow
  • Toot
  • Blow
  • C
  • Candy
  • Charlie

A small amount of cocaine, usually snorted off of a key, is called a bump, and you may hear people referring to cocaine use as “doing a bump” or “going skiing.”

In the case of crack cocaine, you may also hear it referred to as:

  • Crack
  • Rock(s)
  • Sleet
  • Ball
  • Scrabble
  • Raw

Side Effects of Using Cocaine

Some of the most common side effects of cocaine include but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Increased heart rate and/or blood pressure
  • Muscle spasms, tremors, and/or twitches
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea

A cocaine overdose can be fatal, but, in many cases, users will experience negative side effects and health problems due not only to the cocaine but also to whatever substances may have been mixed with it.

What Does the High From Cocaine Feel Like?

During a cocaine high, a user will usually feel a sense of extreme happiness, and they will feel highly energized and alert. They may also be hypersensitive to sounds, touch, or sight, and they may grow irritable or paranoid, especially with extended use.

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