What Are Cocaine and Crack

What Are Cocaine and Crack?

Cocaine is a bitter, addictive pain blocker that is extracted from the leaves of Erythroxylon coca, also known as the coca scrub, a plant that comes from the Andean highlands in South America. Cocaine is the most powerful stimulant of natural origin. The name of “cocaine” came from the plant “coca”. When Coca-Cola first came out it contained nine milligrams of cocaine per glass – in 1903 it was removed, but the drink still has coca flavouring.

William S. Halstead , an American surgeon, injected cocaine into nerve trunks and demonstrated its numbing effect. It soon became used as an anaesthetic agent. In 1898 August Bier, a German surgeon used cocaine as a spinal anaesthetic. Not long afterwards the medical profession became aware of the addictive nature of cocaine and safer anaesthetics were developed. Cocaine in its basic form stopped being used clinically as a pain blocker.

Today, cocaine is commonly used as a recreational drug. It is a stimulant-type drug, similar to speed. Cocaine is also known as coke, Charlie, draw, flake or snow.

Crack named for its ‘crackle’ sound when heated is a form of cocaine. Crack has been treated with chemicals to allow it to be more easily smoked. Crack is also known as pebbles, rock, stone and wash.

Britain is among the world’s biggest users of Cocaine and Crack. Other countries that have a high number of users of the drug include: USA, Spain, Australia, Netherlands, Chile and Uruguay.

What Do Cocaine and Crack Look Like?

Cocaine comes as a white powder. Cocaine is expensive so may be mixed with anything else that is white and powdery, so that the drug dealers can make a bigger profit.

Crack (or rock cocaine) comes in the form of small white crystals or rocks about the size of raisins.

How Are Cocaine and Crack Taken?

Cocaine can be:

  • Snorted – inhaled through the nose. It enters the bloodstream via the nasal tissues.
  • Injected – where it is released directly into the bloodstream.
  • Smoking – cocaine is inhaled as vapor or smoke into the lungs, where it rapidly enters the bloodstream.

Crack is usually smoked in a pipe. Home made pipes are likely to be found at street level made from soft drink cans or aluminium foil.

How Are Cocaine and Crack Taken?

Cocaine will give you a confidence buzz for about 30 minutes, leaving you craving more. Cocaine and crack both produce feelings of well-being, alertness, reduced appetite and physical strength.

Drug Tests that detect Cocaine:

Cocaine can be detected by a number of different drug tests. The most common is a urine drug test for Cocaine. Saliva drug tests for Cocaine are also widely used. The police will often use a presumptive test for Cocaine – this is used to identify substances that are found and that are believed to be Cocaine or Crack.

Photo Credit: DEA

This post has been updated since its original publication in 2013.