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THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF COCAINE
Euphoria and Depression
THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM
- early side effects include euphoria lasting 5-15 minutes. This 'high' is followed by a crushing 'low' (depression) that leaves the user craving more of the drug.
Brain Damage and Addiction
- Cocaine and 'crack' have an overwhelming effect on the 'pleasure centers' in the brain. The drugs interfere, alter, damage, and take control of specialized cells that regulate pleasure, well-being and mood. Regular use may shut off the brain's ability to ever be or feel 'normal' without cocaine. Long term use may cause permanent biological drug addiction.
- increases blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and body temperature.
- suppresses desire for food, sex and sleep
- can cause strokes, brain seizures, respiratory failure, heart attack, convulsions and death.
- Cocaine and crack can damage the liver's ability to detoxify blood, while reducing the production of critical enzymes needed for normal body functions.
- Hepatitus can be contracted and cause serious liver damage, or lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitus is highly contagious.
- The blood supply is reduced to the intestines, resulting in nausea, diarrhea, painful cramps, inflammation and possible death.
THE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM - Males and Females
- Regular use can result in loss of interest in sex, decreased sexual performancce, risk of impotence and infertility
PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PERSONALITY CHANGES
- Cocaine and crack can cause miscarriages, developmental disorders and complications during birth
- Can result in premature separation of placenta from uterus leading to premature births or stillbirths
- Babies run a greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Cocaine babies have higher risk of respiratory, kidney trouble, and genital malformation. Visual problems, lack of coordination and retardation are common
- Babies can suffer strokes and heart attacks
- Irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, excitable, 'hyper,' erratic, confused, depressed, non-stop babbling, sleeplessness, chronic fatigue, short tempers, bizarre behavior, agressiveness and violence, suicidal behavior, paranoia, delusions and hallucinations
- Dilation of pupils and blurred vision
- Inhaling cocaine vapors causes hoarseness, coughing and constant sore throat
- Smoking cocaine damages lung cells' ability to process gases, leaving user with constant cough and shortness of breath. Use may result in respiratory failure -- the brain stops signalling muscles that control breathing, and they stop working.
- Constricts the heart's blood vessels, increasing blood pressure. This may trigger heart attack, heart failure, irregular heart beat and sudden death.
- Cocaine and crack cause blood vessels to constrict, increasing blood pressure, and risk of heart attack and stroke
- Users sharing needles run high risk of infecting themselves with hepatitus or AIDS. Users may pass these diseases to their sexual partners, unborn babies or others.
- Increased need to urinate
- Loss of appetite can be so severe that it leads to dramatic weight loss and malnutrition.
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