Cocaine C17H21NO4is a unique chemical in that it is both a central nervous system stimulant and an anesthetic. It is found in the leaves of the Erthroxylum coca plant that is native to the mountains of South America. The traditional method of coca use is to chew the leaves, producing a mild stimulation. Outside of South America it is generally used in its more refined and extracted forms: powder cocaine or freebase (chemically purified cocaine) and produces much stronger effect than chewing the leaves. It is known on the street as "the lady", "girl", "white", "uptown" or "coke".
As early as 3000 B.C., there is evidence of coca use in South America. The inhabitants believed that the coca plant was a gift from God. In the 15th century A.D. the Incas operated coca plantations in South America. In the 1800s coca tinctures were used in surgery and it was in the middle of that century that cocaine was first extracted from coca leaves. In 1886, Coca-Cola was introduced, containing cocaine and caffeine. Around the same time Parke, Davis began to manufacture cocaine. Soon thereafter, around the turn of the century, sniffing cocaine powder became popular. In 1914 cocaine was banned in the U.S. under the Harrison Act which controlled the sale of opium, opium derivatives and cocaine.
Cocaine can be used by sniffing or injecting the powder (dissolved in water) or by smoking a purified form ("freebase" or "crack") of the drug. Outside of South America, where cocaine is chewed and absorbed by the membranes of the mouth, stomach and intestines, cocaine is most frequently used in the form of powder. On the street, cocaine is sold by the gram and used in greatly varying amounts. This is due to a tolerance that builds very rapidly in regular users. A typical dose for sniffing cocaine is between .05 gram and .20 gram. For injection and smoking the dosage amounts can differ significantly.
Cocaine increases alertness, wakefulness, elevates the mood, induces a high degree of euphoria, decreases fatigue, improves thinking, increases concentration, increases energy, increased irritability, insomnia, restlessness. In large doses users often display symptoms of psychosis with confused and disorganized behavior, irritability, fear, paranoia, hallucinations, may become extremely antisocial and aggressive. It increases heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, temperature, pulse, and respiration, decreased sleep and appetite, seizures, strokes, heart attacks, death.
Dependency:Physical Dependence: ModeratePsychological Dependence: SevereTolerance: Strong
Cocaine is highly addictive substance, at least in the psychological sense. While the physical withdrawal is relatively short-term, the psychological cravings associated with withdrawal can last for months. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms include intense cravings for the drug, hunger, irritability, apathy, severe depression, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, loss of sex drive and insomnia or excessive sleep. Often, more cocaine is taken to reduce these effects. More than one user of cocaine has said that using the drug was more important than food, sex, friends, family, or jobs. Their main concern was how to ease the undesirable effects of being without the drug.
As noted above, cocaine is a highly addictive substance. Additionally, because of the nature of addiction, the newly recovering user is often in a somewhat depleted physical state. Because of this, the first step to treatment is usually a detoxification done in a hospital or medically supervised setting. After detoxification, residential treatment or twelve-step programs, such as the ones listed below are generally recommended.
In today’s world, alcohol is not often thought of as a drug - largely because its use is common for both religious and social purposes in most parts of the world. It is a drug, nonetheless, and drinking in excess has become one of modern society's most serious and pandemic problems.
Beverage alcohol (C2H5OH), known chemically as ethyl alcohol or ethanol, can be produced by fermenting and distilling a number of different fruits, vegetables or grains. The ethyl alcohol itself is a clear, colorless liquid. Alcoholic beverages get their distinctive colors from the diluents, additives, and by-products of fermentation.
Background: Alcohol has been produced by humans for over 12,000 years. It has been speculated that many ancient farming efforts were undertaken not so much for the food they would yield but rather to create the raw materials for alcohol production. Alcohol has impacted every society since caveman times in one way or another. Some have used it in worship rituals, some in social customs, some have had widespread social problems with alcohol and some have banned it altogether.
Usage: Alcohol takes on one of three general forms: beer, wine or distilled liquor. The standard servings of 1 oz. of liquor, 6 oz. of wine or 12 oz. of beer all contain roughly the same amount of alcohol: 10-14 grams of ethyl alcohol.
Effects: The effects of alcohol can range from mild intoxication; a feeling of warmth; flushed skin; impaired judgment; decreased inhibitions to extreme intoxication, coma and death. The effect will vary according to body size, amount consumed and time frame of consumption. Combining alcohol with other drugs can intensify the effects of these other drugs. Many accidental deaths have occurred after people have used alcohol combined with other drugs.
Long-term effects of alcohol appear after repeated use over a period of many months or years. The negative physical and psychological effects of chronic abuse are many and some are potentially life threatening. Some of these problems are primary (they result directly from prolonged exposure to alcohol's toxic effects), such as heart and liver disease, pancreatitis, ulcers and inflammation of the stomach.
Others are secondary (indirectly related to chronic alcohol abuse), they include loss of appetite, vitamin deficiencies, infections, social problems and sexual impotence or menstrual irregularities. The risk of serious disease increases greatly with the amount of alcohol consumed over time.
Physical and psychological dependence occurs in consistently heavy drinkers. Alcohol is an extremely potent drug and when the user’s body has adapted to the presence of alcohol, he or she will suffer withdrawal symptoms if alcohol use is stopped suddenly. Withdrawal symptoms range from jumpiness, sleeplessness, sweating, and poor appetite, to tremors (the "shakes"), convulsions, hallucinations, and sometimes death in those with an already deteriorated physical condition. It is a little-known fact that alcohol is one of the most difficult and dangerous drugs to detoxify from after an extended period of heavy use.
Description: Caffeine (C8H10N4O2) is a very common substance that is contained in chocolate, soft drinks, tea, coffee, and can also be purchased as capsules, tablets, or powder. Far and away, though, the way most people use caffeine is through coffee. It is a central nervous system stimulant and is used in most instances to alleviate fatigue or aid concentration.
The first historical record of caffeine use was by the Aztec Indians from the time of Montezuma. Caffeine was used in the form of a hot drink made with cacao (the 'chocolate' tree) leaves and various herbs and spices. Montezuma was said to have drunk up to 50 cups a day. Chocolate, in the form of the chocolate bar, was first introduced by the company Fry & Son in 1847. Coffee, however, proved to be a far more popular form of caffeine intake. It is mentioned in the Koran, the holy book of the Moslem religion and originates from Africa and the Middle East. It was introduced into the United Kingdom originally as a medicine but became extremely fashionable between 1670 and 1730, when there was a massive increase in the number of coffee houses.
Usage: As noted above, over the years, coffee, teas and soft drinks have been the most popular methods of taking caffeine. In recent decades, however, over-the-counter "medications" containing caffeine, such as Vivarin and NoDoz have become fairly widespread. Common doses of caffeine range from 50mg. on the low end to 800mg. on the extreme upper end of the spectrum. Comparatively, a cup of coffee contains about 100-150mg. of caffeine.
Effects: Caffeine increases heartbeat, respiration, metabolic rate, and the production of stomach acid and urine; and it relaxes smooth muscles, including the bronchial muscle. These changes vary among people and depend upon the individual's sensitivity to this drug, their metabolism and whether the consumer habitually uses or rarely uses caffeine (ie. their tolerance to the drug). How long the effects last is influenced by the person's hormonal status, whether he/she uses tobacco or takes medications or if they have a disease that impairs liver functioning.
These effects can begin as early as 10-20 minutes after ingestion. Maximum effects are reached in about 30-60 minutes.
There is some evidence linking caffeine heart problems, fibrocystic breast disease(FBD), ulcers and other stomach disorders in regular users. It has also been suggested as a possible cause of cancer and birth defects.
Dependency: Regular caffeine consumption creates a tolerance to caffeine. When the caffeine intake is then reduced, blood pressure drops dramatically, causing an excess of blood in the head (though not necessarily on the brain), leading to a headache.
This headache, well known among coffee drinkers, usually lasts from one to five days, and can be alleviated with over-the-counter analgesics such as aspirin. It can also be alleviated with caffeine intake. Many analgesics, in fact, contain some caffeine.
Other symptoms can include irritability, nervousness, and feeling sleepy, as well as having the caffeine headache.
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