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Cocaine

Cocaine (blow, coke, snow, white, insert your favourite term here) is a powerful stimulant that comes from the leaves of the coca bush, a high-altitude plant that grows in the Andes of South America, mainly in Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. Its chemical name is benzoylmethylecgonine. A substance from the coca leaf must go through a laboratory process in order to be synthesized into cocaine.

 

Levamisole Cocaine Warning!

A Dangerous Substance (Levamisole) is showing up with increasing frequency in cocaine powder and crack cocaine! Levamisole is used to treat worm infections in animals and it can severely reduce your number of white blood cells.

There is no way of telling if your coke or crack is bad, it will smell, taste and look the same!

If you use coke watch out for:

  High fever or chills

• Skin abscesses, unexplainable bruising particularly on hands, feet or ears

• Painful anal or oral sores

• Lung infection that appears to be developing more rapidly than usual

Seek Medical Attention Immediately!

PLEASE HAVE YOUR DOCTOR NOTIFY YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH UNIT!

 

Levamicoke. Anything but the real thing.

 

For more info:

www.levamicoke.info

Erowid Cocaine Vaults : Cocaine Adulterated with Levamisole on the Rise

 

History (info snagged from cocaine.org)
In pre-Columbian times, the coca leaf was officially reserved for Inca royalty. The natives used coca for mystical, religious, social, nutritional and medicinal purposes. They exploited its stimulant properties to ward off fatigue and hunger, enhance endurance, and to promote a benign sense of well-being. Coca was initially banned by the Spanish. But the invaders discovered that without the Incan "gift of the gods", the natives could barely work the fields - or mine gold. So it came to be cultivated by the Catholic Church. Coca leaves were distributed three or four times a day to the workers during brief rest-breaks.

Returning Spanish conquistadores introduced coca to Europe. Shakespeare may have smoked it -and inhaled. Coca was touted as "an elixir of life". In 1814, an editorial in Gentleman's Magazine urged researchers to begin experimentation so that coca could be used as "a substitute for food so that people could live a month, now and then, without eating..."

The active ingredient of the coca plant was first isolated in the West around 1860. Freud described cocaine as a magical drug. He wrote a song of praise in its honour. Freud also practiced extensive self-experimentation. To Sherlock Holmes, cocaine was "so transcendentally stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action is a matter of small moment". Intrepid adventurer Ernest Shackleton explored Antarctica propelled by tablets of Forced March.

Doctors dispensed cocaine as an antidote to morphine addiction. Unfortunately, some of their patients made a habit of combining both.

Cocaine was soon sold over-the-counter. Until 1916, one could buy it at Harrods. Cocaine was widely used in tonics, toothache cures and patent medicines; and in chocolate cocaine tablets. Prospective buyers were advised - in the words of pharmaceutical firm Parke-Davis - that cocaine "could make the coward brave, the silent eloquent, and render the sufferer insensitive to pain".

When combined with alcohol, the cocaine alkaloid yields a further potently reinforcing compound, now known to be cocaethylene. Thus cocaine was a popular ingredient in wines, notably Vin Mariani. Coca wine received endorsement from prime-ministers, royalty and even the Pope. Fr�d�rick-Auguste Batholdi observed that if only he had used Vin Mariani earlier in his life, then he would have engineered the Statue of Liberty a few hundred meters higher.

Coca-cola was introduced in 1886 as "a valuable brain-tonic and cure for all nervous afflictions". It was promoted as a temperance drink "offering the virtues of coca without the vices of alcohol". The new beverage was invigorating and popular. Until 1903, a typical serving contained around 60mg of cocaine. Sold today, it still contains an extract of coca-leaves. Coca Cola imports eight tons from South America each year. Nowadays the leaves are used only for flavouring since the drug has been removed.

Coke comes as a fine white crystalline powder and runs at about $80-$100 CDN (street cost) for one gram. It is usually cut into lines and snorted. Coke has a short-lived intense high. How high you get depends on how you take it, the purity of the drug and how much of it you do. Most recently cocaine has been found to be laces with levamisole, an animal dewormer that kills your white blood cell count and can cause severe agranulocytosis. If you find your immune system very low after an all night coke binge consider seeking medical attention immediately and let your doctor know what you did!

Mentally, you may feel alert, energized, and buzzin'. Sudden bursts of pleasure and confidence may increase your sociability, and get ya talkin', a lot! You may also have feelings of hyper-alertness, self-confidence and euphoria, like you're on top of the world. Here's why:

In the brain, cocaine stimulates the central nervous system, and the cardiovascular system. It works by tricking the brain into thinking it's had something pleasurable, like sex or good food. First it prompts nerve cells in the brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that has to do with pleasure, alertness, fine motor control, thought organization and sex drive. Then it prevents the dopamine from being reabsorbed, extending the pleasure for longer than usual. Then, the brain re-absorbs the dopamine, which is what causes the rapid and abrupt comedown. It creates short and intense bursts of feeling good (and when they're over you may want more to get back to that feelin' good place)

Physically, coke can have you feeling all sped up or wired. Like with other uppers such as crystal meth or speed, you may experience:

  • clenched jaw,
  • wide-eyed, dilated pupils.
  • Increased respiration (faster, deeper breathing)
  • increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature
  • increased alertness, stamina and euphoria while
  • reduced fatigue, and lowered desire for sleep and food

While the initial high has you feeling elated, confident, alert and powerful, these feelings wear off quickly and are often followed by tiredness, irritability and agitation, and in some of us, the desire to do more. This is otherwise known as the comedown.

Another dose may bring back the euphoric feeling, but it will be shorter and less intense than the first time around. Regular use of coke can make people anxious/nervous, depressed, nauseous, agitated, and/or cause insomnia, weight loss, loss of sex drive and compulsive behaviour. It's easy to forget how the comedown feels when we're focused on the high itself.

There are a number of ways this high is achieved and it's important to know that each way of doing coke has its own set of risks and ways to reduce them.

Methods of Consumption Freebasing (Smoking):
The quickest way of getting coke to the brain-even quicker than injecting -- is by smoking it. If you sprinkle some coke into a joint or cigarette, you'll be feeling the effects in less than 1 minute and the high will last about 20 minutes. Some say it's a waste of powder to put it in a joint because the powder doesn't get to the right temperature that it needs to in order to produce the high. More commonly smoked though, is the rock form of cocaine that is smoked, commonly known as crack cocaine (link to crack page). The high is so completely different from snorting coke powder that we have a whole other section on it. Click above to check it out.

Mainlining (injecting): It takes about 30 seconds to kick in and is almost as intense as smoking it. Be sure to have lots of new needles around cause the high is short and you may be banging several times.

Skin Popping (injecting into the skin) or muscling (injecting in to the muscle) is another way that some people inject coke but this is more risky that mainlining into the vein. It burns to skin pop or muscle coke because the tissue just underneath the skin is really sensitive and does not easily absorb coke so its easier to get abscesses or a dark spot in the skin around the injection site.

Snorting/railing: Up the nose is the most common way of doing coke. It hits you in about 3-5 minutes and the high lasts about half and hour, depending on how much and how often you use. Snorting coke can irritate or wear down the soft tissue of the inner and upper nostrils and, over time, can damage the tiny blood vessels just below the surface. Be careful of snot runs and nose bleeds, as these are good signs that the cartilage inside your nose may be wearing away. Having a nasal spray of clean water that you could use shortly after snorting each line can help reduce the damage to your nose. If you snort regularly, you can give your nose a break by trying other ways to get the coke into your system (see below).

Gums: Some users dab or rub coke on their gums to get that numb tingle in the mouth while getting high. This too will kick in about 5 minutes later and last for about half an hour. Be careful of doing regularly cause it can wear away the sensitive gum tissue (which can look really nasty if you do it enough) and/or cause irritation in the mouth.

Quality
Coke is very rarely pure. Most cocaine is estimated to be between 20% and 50% pure. By the time is gets to users, the coke has passed through many sets of hands, and is diluted down at each stage to increase profit. It is usually found to be cut with: corn starch, vitamin c powder, sugar, talcum powder, baby milk powder or local anesthetic (to simulate the numbing feeling).

Testing, Screening and other Legal Issues
At some point in your life, you may be asked (or forced) to take a drug test. Drugs can be detected in the blood, the urine and the hair. Hair analysis and blood tests are quite expensive so most places that do drug testing, use urine test because they are the cheapest and quickest way to find the presence of a drugs in a person's system.

You may be required to take a drug test for work, school, prison, rehab, detox, methadone programs, social assistance or the courts. The best way to test clean for drugs is not to do any for a while before the test. Coke and other amphetamines can be detected in pee for about 2-4 days and general drug tests do screen for amphetamines, unlike some other drugs that require a specific test to detect their presence. The following conditions may cause a false positive: kidney infections, liver infections/disease, diabetes or taking Amoxicilin. A false positive means that you test positive for coke in your system even though there isn't any there.

Legal Stuff
One of the biggest harms that can come along with using any illicit (illegal) drug is getting caught by the authorities.

Cocaine is a 'Schedule I' drug under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (formerly called the Narcotics Act) that covers "Coca, it's preparations, derivatives, alkaloids and salts." This means that if you are caught with any form of coke on you, you are at risk for doing some serious time (depending on the amount of coke found, your age, the particular cop, the judge you get and the lawyer defending you).

Addiction, Dependency, Habit or Obsession??
Coke is a pretty powerful drug that has the potential to become a habit because getting high on it makes you feel like you can take on the world. Some say they're addicted to coke, others say they're dependent on it and still others claim to have an obsession with it. Not everyone who uses coke gets 'addicted' in the literal sense. It depends on how much you're using, how often and what the pros and cons are for you. How well or poorly does it fit into your life?

The more you use coke, the greater your tolerance will be, which means that your body needs an increasing amount of coke to get high.

Coke works in the same way as heroin and nicotine by tapping in the brain's natural reward (dopamine) pathways. We experience pleasure every time we take it and the urge to take more is reinforced every time we take it. Most people do not become instantly addicted. Some people can take the original amount over extended periods and not become addicted. Availability, life style and personality are all factors that determine whether or not you will develop habitual use.

As with any drug, using coke regularly can turn into a problem in your life. If you're thinking your coke use might be a problem but are not sure:

Ask yourself: if there's some coke in the house and you can't resist taking it, or you spend all your time looking forward to taking it. Think about where your coke use is going and whether or not you feel okay about the amount and frequency of your use. When coke becomes central to your thoughts and emotions, when you start planning your evenings around the drug, then you may be entering a danger zone. Each of us has our own ways of knowing when we're in over our heads so it's important to listen to your intuition and be aware of how you're using.

Cocaine psychosis happens when you freak out from doing too much too often (the term "too much" is relative to each individual) and it brings on delusional states, hallucinations, paranoia and anxiety attacks. Whether you call it psychosis, freaking out or coming down for a week after a binge, it is usually an unpleasant trip. It is a mental disharmony to paranoid schizophrenia, with the experience being an exaggeration of the short term effects of really high doses. This can range from extreme fear (although not sure exactly what you're afraid of) to aggression and/or suspicion that everyone is out to get you, even friends have ulterior motives and that other people are following you. Basically it can happen when you go overboard with the coke and lose your mind for a bit. These types of head trips can be pretty destructive and usually include some of the following things:

  • Sudden, violent, irrational behaviour
  • Self-centeredness
  • Distorted perceptions
  • Delusions or threat of persecution
  • Paranoia

This is an all around rough situation but the good news is that for most people these symptoms go away within a few days or weeks after you stop using (oh yea and chances are you need a serious dose of sleep to go with that!). If you're feeling sketched out from the coke you've been doing, give yourself a break. Treat yourself to some sleep and food (especially if you haven't eaten while using). Giving yourself a break from coke will allow dopamine to reach it's normal levels in the brain and reduce any paranoid, sketchy feelings.

Mixing coke with:

Alcohol The two substances combine to form 'cocaethylene' in the body, a compound which increases the effect and puts more stress on the heart
Amphetamines Using different types of speedy drugs together puts an increased strain on heart and increases toxicity
Cannabis Some use it to take the edge off the buzz if you're rushing hard
Ecstasy The amphetmine in e, in combination with coke causes increased physical strain and more of a speedy e trip
Heroin (SPEEDBALLING) Mixing coke with heroin is known as a 'speedball'. The two drugs amplify each other - cocaine acts as powerful stimulant, causing a rapid heartbeat, but wears off more quickly than heroin, which then slows the heart down. As a result, your heart can lose rhythm entirely and you can die of heart failure.
Ketamine Coke diminishes the psychedelic effects of (low doses of K; don't mix anything with high doses of Ketamine
LSD/ mushrooms Coke may put more of an edge on your trip or replace some of the trippiness with speediness
Tobacco Smokers usually smoke more cigarettes (increase in dopamine surge mean the pleasure chemicals are on overdrive)

Overdose
When someone is ODing on coke they may:

  • Be red in the face and/or hot to touch
  • Complain of chest pain, tightness or trouble breathing
  • Seizure or suddenly collapse and become unconscious
  • Sudden rise in body temperature
  • Hot skin but no sweating (a sign the body is overheating)
  • Muscle cramps and stiffness in the arms and legs

Please see section on upper OD (link to overdose.txt) for more detailed info and what to do in the case of a coke or amphetamine overdose.

Coke and Pregnancy
If you use coke while pregnant you may be at risk for problems with your pregnancy, delivery and development of your baby. Some studies show that problems associated with doing coke while pregnant may include:

  • Maternal weight loss
  • Not getting enough of the proper nutrients your body needs (like vitamins and minerals)
  • Premature detachment of the placenta
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight

However some of these studies have been shown to be flawed. This doesn't mean that doing coke while pregnant can't be harmful, but it does mean that there may be more things to consider when looking at these issues. Other research indicates that the main factors leading to poor fetal development in women who use coke, has more to do with a lack of quality prenatal care and the use of alcohol and tobacco.

Many women who use coke, have trouble-free pregnancies and give birth to healthy babies.

If you are pregnant and using coke, it is important to try reducing the amount you do and the frequency of your use. Remember that coke puts your body under a lot of stress, even after the high so be sure to take care of your health. Get lots of vitamin C (orange juice, strawberries) and maintain a regular eating & sleeping schedule, even if it isn't a lot or for long. Try to find a doctor, nurse or community health worker that you can be open about your use with.

Coke and Sex
Some people use coke and other types of speedy drugs for sex because it can enhance sensations and produce extra energy for longer, more intense sex. Drugs that enhance pleasure combined with being high can lead to an increase in taking risks with sex, cause sometimes (with or without drugs) we just want to feel good and deal with the results later. Then again, other users feel that it's more difficult to get turned on, get hard or get wet while using coke.

Some slippery lube will help the dryness and prevent any damage to delicate tissues. While on coke, you may have rougher sex or longer sessions than usual. Keep a watchful eye on the state of your dick or vag; any rips or tears that occur (whether noticeable to the eye or not) can be a route for HIV and Hepatitis C, or other sexually transmitted infections to travel. Wear a condom when you fuck, or a dental dam when you're going down on a girl, and use lotsa lube. 
 
Coke and HIV
Little is known about coke's interaction with protease inhibitors -- no studies. But if you're HIV positive, smoking, shooting or even snorting coke is no party for your immune system: one study has shown that cocaine speeds up production of HIV in some blood cells, though the study was in vitro (in the test tube) rather than in human bodies. As with all party drugs, what the coke is mixed with can be bad for your immune system. And, again, little is known about coke's interaction with HIV medication. If you're partying and you do miss a med or three don't double your dose the next time! 

Detox

Going through coke detox will generally produce the opposite effects of the high so you may get lethargic and tired, lack energy and motivation, get depressed and paranoid. You may physically jones for coke and feel like you may die without it or that life just isn't as fun, interesting, eventful without it. Some people sleep for days when coming off coke or are in a pissy mood for a while depending on how long and how heavily they've been using. You will need a comfy place where you can rest as well as some nutritious food to eat (protein and fresh fruits are especially important) and keep yourself hydrated with water and/or juice.
 

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