Ongoing research on substance abuse and its impact on the neural pathways of pleasure and pain in the human brain has vastly improved understanding of substance abuse, dependence and addiction. This, in turn, assists in comprehending the effect of substance-seeking behavior on the human behavior and psyche.
A number of studies have helped us understand the association between the biological and the genetic causes of an addiction. Though earlier perceived as a behavioral problem, the scientific understanding of addiction has helped to establish it as a complex brain disease that is chronic and relapsing in nature. Such an enhanced understanding provides a better insight into various substances, including cocaine.
Cocaine, a powerful illegal stimulant extracted from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America, is known by many street names, such as coke, snow, flake, blow, etc. Being a psychoactive alkaloid and a very addictive stimulant classified as a Schedule II drug, it has high potential for abuse. Although it has an accepted for medical use in under severe restrictions, it still pose numerous dangers to users.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 1.9 million people (0.7 percent of the population) aged 12 or older were the current users of cocaine in the U.S. in 2016. .
Moreover, it is quite disturbing to learn that 28,000 adolescents in the age group 12 to 17 abused cocaine and 3,000 consumed crack. With an increasing number of people digressing toward cocaine abuse, it has become essential to understand the way a person starts abusing cocaine.
Risk factors determining the onset of cocaine effects
While powdered cocaine is usually either injected or snorted after being diluted with substances like cornstarch, sugar, talcum powder, etc., “crack” cocaine is smoked. Depending on the mode of abuse, users witness a range of effects.
Besides the route of administration, other main factors that influence the onset of the euphoric effects and other consequences of cocaine include cocaine’s bioavailability, its purity and the level of tolerance among users.
The onset and duration of the effects of cocaine depend on the level of absorption of the substance. The above-mentioned main risk factors have been discussed below:
- Route of administration: The duration of the euphoric effects of cocaine are very short. Depending on the route of administration, the onset of the euphoric effects can be determined. Through intranasal consumption, the effects can be between 15 to 30 minutes. However, the rate of action diminishes massively through other modes of abuse. In the case of administration of cocaine intravenously, the speed witnessed is the fastest and the effects kick in almost immediately. The slowest onset of effects occurs when cocaine is administered orally through the gastrointestinal tract. It kicks effects between 20 and up to 90 minutes.
- Bioavailability: Bioavailability determines the rate at which the active ingredients of cocaine is absorbed by the body to produce euphoric effects. The bioavailability of cocaine through smoking is approximately 70 percent, snorting is 57 percent and orally is 33 percent. Approximately 91 percent of cocaine is found in plasma.
- Purity: The amount of cocaine with higher purity required to produce the desired effects is much lesser than the amount required with lower purity. The purity levels of cocaine differ due to adulteration at different points. Though the purity level on an average can below 50 percent, cocaine purchased from the street can have purity levels as low as below 5 percent.
- Tolerance levels: With constant cocaine use, one builds up tolerance toward the substance quickly. With repetitive use, the powerful effects of the drug starts to wane. In addition, as time goes by, more and more quantity is required to produce the same effects. A chronic cocaine user may start to develop tolerance to doses that can incapacitate an inexperienced user.
Get freedom from cocaine addiction
Cocaine creates an intense high, but is followed by a deep crash due to which users are left craving for more to avoid the latter phase. The withdrawal symptoms of abstinence from cocaine are deeply incapacitating. Therefore, it is not a cakewalk to quit cocaine abuse. Since one develops an addiction to cocaine in less than two weeks, it is essential to keep a check on his or her proclivity toward experimenting such substances.
If you or your loved one is addicted to drugs, contact the Arizona Drug Addiction Helpline to access to the best drug rehabilitation centers in Arizona. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-576-4147 or chat online to know about the best drug rehabilitation center clinic in Arizona.