Drugwise: Growing Up Straight in a Chemical Culture
 Author:   Jim Parker
Publisher:   Do It Now Foundation

 Publication Date:

  September 2003

 Catalog No:



Cocaine is another stimulant, like the amphetamines. In fact, it'd be hard to tell a cocaine-powered turtle from its speed-boosted brother (or sister). Except instead of arriving shell-shocked, it'd be cracked.

That's a joke--sort of. But there's nothing funny about the damage that cocaine can do. And it does a lot of that.

Like other stimulants, cocaine speeds up the brain and body, increasing alertness and heart rate and blocking appetite. Effects don't last as long, though--usually less than an hour. Unfortunately, problems can last a lot longer.

Since it acts on the brain's pleasure centers, cocaine can produce serious dependency. It can also interfere with basic body functions, including heart rate. For some users, it can even stop heart contractions altogether. And when the heart stops, the person stops--doing cocaine and everything else.

There are two basic forms of cocaine, powder and crack, and they're used in two different ways. Powder is usually sniffed, while crack is smoked. Even though both contain the same drug, the fact that crack is smoked only compounds its risks.

Why? Because it's smoked, rather than being absorbed into the body more slowly, crack squeezes its effects into a much smaller span of time. It shrinks a one-hour cocaine high into three minutes, which results in a faster-developing addiction.

It also illustrates the main difference between powder cocaine users and crackheads. Powder users may watch their dreams turn to dust, but crackheads see theirs go up in smoke.

Want to jump ahead (or go back) to a particular drug or drug category? Click in the table below to go there, or use the links, below right, to continue with the main text.

Alcohol Downers Speed
Cocaine Marijuana Hallucinogens
Inhalants Narcotics Other Do It Now Info

Continue with Chapter 3: Inhalants
Continue with Chapter 4: Locks & Keys
Go to Table of Contents


This is one in a series of publications on drugs, behavior, and health published by Do It Now Foundation. Check us out online at www.doitnow.org.