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Cocaine (coke-ain) also known as coke, charlie and ching comes from the South American coca plant. There, it has been used for centuries, commonly chewed by local people as part of their culture. Today it is most popular in its powder form as a recreational drug.
Cocaine is a strong stimulant (upper) drug which can make you feel energetic and confident. It also increases your heart rate and breathing. People using it can experience a high with increased alertness, focus and sex drive, as well as a decreased appetite and a strong urge to redose. Other effects include restlessness, aggression, paranoia and arrogance.
It comes in a white crystalline powder and is usually snorted but it can be swallowed in a cigarette paper (bombed) or injected into a vein. Injecting is strongly discouraged due to the risk of vein damage or getting blood borne viruses including HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
The purity of cocaine varies which can make it difficult to judge your dose. The purity of street cocaine is increasing so it may take less to get the desired effect- dose low and go slow.
Snorting and injecting often causes effects to come on quicker than swallowing and it can be a more intense experience although effects tend to last longer when the drug is swallowed.
People taking cocaine can feel a need to redose often which will lead to increased damage and increased risk of dependence.
What you Need to Know
If you choose to use cocaine:
- Eat and sleep well before and after taking cocaine to replace energy and nutrients lost during use.
- If snorting, wash your nose out with saline or warm water after each session and use vitamin E cream to reduce damage.
- Avoid using a bank note as a snorter/tooter and try not to share - a post-it or a straw is disposable, reducing the risk of infection and blood borne viruses.
- Place the snorter/tooter as high up the nose as possible.
- The analgesic effect of cocaine can increase the risk of gum and other oral damage. Have chewing gum handy!
- If injecting: don't use citric acid (dissolve in sterile water), use the smallest needle possible, only use clean equipment, rotate your sites, wash injecting sites/ hands and never share equipment.
- Try to have a few drug free days a week to allow your body to recover.
- Avoid mixing cocaine and alcohol as this mixture produces cocaethylene; a chemical which is harmful and can increase side effects.
- Taking cocaine with alcohol can also reduce your awareness of how drunk you are (meaning you might drink more).
Class A drug. Penalties for possession are up to 7 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Supply holds penalties of up to life in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
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