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Cocaine: Myths and Facts

Cocaine is a street drug that's dangerous and addictive. Its quality is unpredictable. It is just as dangerous to snort cocaine as it is to smoke it or to inject it. A cocaine habit costs a lot of money. Many people who use it become dealers to support their habit.

Cocaine use is often shown to be “glamorous” in TV shows and in the movies. However, cocaine addiction often causes people to lose their jobs, their families, their homes, and their reputation. Learn the facts about cocaine and its use.

Myth: It takes a long time to get hooked on cocaine.

Fact: All forms of the drug are highly addictive. Some people can become addicted after a short period of use.

Myth: Cocaine is a safe drug.

Fact: Cocaine, in all forms, has the potential for serious and dangerous effects on both the body and the mind.

Myth: Cocaine has no side effects.

Fact: Cocaine, particularly at high doses, can cause tremors and convulsions (seizures), infection, heart attack, stroke, psychosis, and death.

Myth: Cocaine makes you a better athlete or worker.

Fact: Chronic use of cocaine can seriously harm your body and your athletic performance. It can also cost you your job.

Myth: Cocaine makes sex better.

Fact: Cocaine can cause increased sexual activity, which can lead to high-risk sex (multiple partners, unprotected sex). Heavy use of cocaine can lead to impotence and loss of interest in sex.

Myth: Using cocaine a few times is no big deal.

Fact: Even a few uses can result in addiction, trouble with the law, or serious medical problems — even death.

More facts about cocaine

Cocaine is a white powder processed from the leaves of the South American coca plant. Suppliers mix it with other, similar-looking powders, so the user can’t be sure what he or she is buying. These unidentified powders dilute and contaminate the drug and make it more unpredictable than it already is. They also can have dangerous side effects and may themselves be fatal.

Crack, the smokable form of cocaine, is made by heating a solution of powder cocaine, baking soda, and water. The flakes or “rocks” that remain after the cooking process can be transparent, beige, or dirty white. Like powder cocaine, crack contains impurities that increase its health risks and make it difficult for users to determine how much of the drug they’re really ingesting.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Perez, Eric, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2017
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