2 – Cocaine Addiction

General

Cocaine is derived from the erythroxylon coca shrub that grows in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in South America. It is a widely available and highly addictive drug because of its abuse potential.

Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Cocaine has minimal bioavailability when taken by the oral route. It also may be snored as cocaine hydrochloride powder. It can not be smoked as cocaine powder is destroyed upon heating

How does Cocaine work?

It is a stimulant whose main mechanism of action is to blockade the re-uptake of norepinephrine ( adrenaline ) while it stimulates the pleasure centers of the human brain by the blockage of the neurotransmitters; dopamine, serotonin and nor-epinephrine in the brain.

This leads to the activation of the reward system in the brain giving positive effects on the mood, motivation and energy. BUT body builds tolerance to it, so larger and larger doses are needed to have the same effect.

Chronic intake of cocaine depletes dopamine. Leading to craving the drug that temporarily relieves this severe depression.

Presently, there are no medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat cocaine addiction.

Many behavioral treatments for cocaine addiction have proven to be effective in both residential and outpatient settings. Indeed, behavioral therapies are often the only available and effective treatments for many drug problems, including stimulant addictions. However, the integration of behavioral and pharmacological treatments may ultimately prove to be the most effective approach.

Symptoms of cocaine addiction: Pure colombian cocaine

The clinical manifestations of cocaine toxicity are not just a function of its inherent toxicity, but also of its adulterants. An example of a common adulterant that has been found in street samples of cocaine is levamisole, an anthelmintic used to deworm cattle and
pigs. Levamisole has the ability to cause agranulocytosis, a profound decrease in neutrophils, leaving a weakened immune system prone to opportunistic infections, which have been described among cocaine users.

The symptoms include psychiatric ones such as depression, agitation and paranoia.

While physiological symptoms include convulsions, hyperthermia and chest pains due to pulmonary damage.

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