COCAINE

COMMON NAMES:, Bernice, Bernies, big C, blow, , burese, C, Carrie, Cecil, CJtolly, coke, Corine, dream, dW4 dynamite, fake; gin, girt gold dust, happy dust, heaven dust; Joy powder, lady, leaf, nose, now candy, nose powder, parad#se, rock, snow, snowbird, speedball (mixed with heroin), star dust, superblow, toot, white, white girl.

If you are rich, hedonistic, and willing to jeopardise your nose for a few brief moments of ecstasy, cocaine could be your pleasure. You may pay, however, both literally and figuratively through the nose. Cocaine's reputation as a rare and expensive drug has catapulted it into glamour status among such celebrities as Freud, Pope Leo XIII, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the multitude of rock stars whose collection of neck paraphernalia invariably includes a custom-made coke spoon.

Cocaine comes' in three forms: rock, flake,- and powder. Rock is available, flake is considered a delicacy, but powder is the farm that most people see. Powder is easily diluted, and that is what street coke is: diluted or cut. The stuff peddled by pushers is rarely more than 60 percent- pure cocaine hydrochloride, and more often ranges from 5 to 35 percent. The rest is the "cut," which is there either to snake the coke seem of a higher quality or to dilute it. The local anesthetics procaine, lidocaine, benzocaine, tetracaine and butacaine are often added to enhance quality, as are stimulants such as amphetamine, ephedrine, and caffeine. Sugars such as lactose, inositol, and mannitol are used to dilute. Some unscrupulous dealers don't bother to add cocaine to the recipe at all.

The finished product is a white, flaky powder: bitter, odorless, and numbing to the lips and tongue. Cocaine may be purchased by the gram, or 1/28 ounce, but is sometimes sold in the quantity of a "spoon," a nebulous measurement - roughly equivalent to 1/4 teaspoon. Depending on the cut, dealers cumulatively can profit, by as much as 1000 percent.

By the time pure cocaine is cut. and reaches the street consumer, it can skyrocket- -to more than $2;500 per adulterated ounce.

The cost of coke became exorbitant once it left the realm of legality. Medically, synthetic drugs have ,taken over where cocaine left off,` but it was once the drug of choice, used as local anesthetic, stimulant, and anti-depressant. Still used for local anesthesia in oral-nasal surgery, it has the effect of reducing mucous-membrane swelling, thus enlarging the nasal and bronchial passages.

The primary drug properties of cocaine are that it blocks impulse conduction in nerve fibers when applied externally, producing a numb, freezing sensation; it is a vasoconstrictor And inhibits excessive bleeding; is a local anesthetic; and, taken internally, works on the peripheral nervous system, inhibiting norepinephrine from being reabsorbed by the nerve, thus potentiating the effects of nerve stimulation. Coke is a stimulant of the central nervous system, similar to the amphetamines.

Snorting fluffy, thin, inch-long "lines" via spoon, straws, or rolled currency, is the usual method of taking coke, since it is absorbed quickly through the mucous membranes of the nose into the bloodstream. Other body orifices can also be used. By mixing it with a liquid or semi-solid, it may be taken orally, or -by direct application to the gums, palate, or underneath the tongue. Lesser-known and more hazardous is placing it on the inside of the eyelid.. Applying it to the genitals may prevent premature ejaculation or serve to prolong sexual performance for both men and women. There are even folks who indulge in cocaine enemas.

Cocaine may be injected, preferred by some because of the intense initial rush. This is the most dangerous method because it introduces the drug directly into the bloodstream. Shooting also causes one to become more dependent. Heavy cokeheads-may shoot from twenty to thirty times a day. Coke smoking, which causes temporary numbness in the lungs,. is less common.

Proponents of cocaine consider it the champagne of drugs. Coke is an upper. Research on human responses to cocaine began in 1974, 115 years after cocaine's discovery, and indications are that in moderate use it is a mild euphoric drug, similar to the amphetamines in action but without their serious side effects. It is legally classified as a narcotic.

For some cocaine produces feelings of intense psychic energy, and self-confidence, without the . bending qualities of the hallucinogens. The drug's powers are intense but brief, lasting about a half hour, for the body . metabolizes cocaine quickly and the user must take another dose to re-establish his high. It- is this elevator effect that creates the strong- psychological dependence of many    users coming down from -such a high may cause a deep profound depression for which more cocaine seems to be the only remedy. Not truly addictive in the physical sense, cocaine may create a tendency for overuse in, someone with an addictive personality,

The pleasant, stimulating effects of cocaine may escalate like a speeded-up record into excitability, , anxiety, talkativeness rapid heartbeat, increased pulse rate,, pressure , elevation,   dilated pupils,   headache,    nausea, vomiting, increase in body temperature, and even hal lucinations. These symptoms. rarely occur with moderate usage, but tolerance sometimes sets in. Some users require gradually larger doses to achieve the same effect and stave off withdrawal.

A peculiar characteristic of the paranoid psychosis which can result from overuse is "formication," the hallucination that ants, insects, or snakes are crawling on or under the skin "If imaginary insect infestation down°t cancers you,- how about the possibility of an unwanted nose job? Prolonged, steady use may damage nasal tissues, causing a perforated septum. The finer cocaine is chopped or ground, the chance   there is of the drug becoming lodged in the hairs of the nose and in the sinus cavities. Snorting or rinsing the nose with :water after sniffing cocaine is an added precaution, The destruction of the mucous membranes lining the nose may also cause the telltale runny nose of the "horner," the regular snorter. Police often finger a user by giving his nose a playful tweak, If he screams in pain, it's a giveaway.

Repeated large doses may not only cause the nose to blood and rot, but pallor, cold sweats, convulsions, fainting, and a halt in respiration can mean that cocaine poisoning has set in. The amount of cocaine that causes overdose varies from individual to individual, A fatal dose may range from .2 to 1.5 grams of pure cocaine, but the chance of overdosing is slim unless the coke has been taken intravenously. Overdoses can also be attributable to adulterants which have been added. Treatment for overdose is best handled under medical supervision.

All things in moderation, and this applies particularly to: cocaine. Cocaine is, simply, a stimulant of the central nervous, system; so is caffeine: Used in moderation, its dosage con - trolled, the drug produces a short-lived, pleasant high without the dangers of heroin or the other narcotics with which it has, been unjustly classified. The true medical danger, aside from possible allergic reaction which may result in fatal anaphylactic shock, is cocaine's ability to produce psychological, not physical, addiction.

Moderate recreational use of cocaine is most dangerous in the legal sense. Penalties for possession can range from six months to life, with fines up to $25,000. Possession with intent to sell can result in a life sentence or up to a $50,000 fine. Missouri levies the death penalty for sale to minors under twenty-one, definitely detrimental to one's health.

Cocaine was driven underground in 1914 by the Harrison Tax Act, which mistakenly classified it as a narcotic, subject to the same penalties as opium, morphine, and heroin. Today it is under Schedule 11 of the Controlled Substances Act. Most laws governing cocaine are based on the largely false notion that it is physically addicting.

Myths about cocaine are perpetuated by the law itself. With little information about the drug's effects on humans, the conflict grows between those who believe it an unmitigated evil and those who believe it to be a mild euphoriant which causes ill effects only when abused:

The advent of the amphetamines, cheap and legal, caused temporary reduction in the use of cocaine. When the amphetamines were forced underground by the law, cocaine smuggling became once again widespread. Part of coke's allure may lie in its very illegality; part of the high may be the danger of arrest.

The emperor of the Incas didn't have such troubles until the sixteenth century. When the Spanish conquistadors stopped by to say hello, they knew a good thing when they saw one: an   - entire kingdom stoned on the leaves of a mountain shrub known as Erythroxylon coca. They took it away from the natives, who regarded it as divine, and brought it home to the wife and kiddies; who abused it, misused it, and gave it the bad name it carries to this day.

The Incan emperor governed the use of the coca leaf, which, when chewed, produced euphoria and the ability to work at an incredible pace. The highest privilege an Incan subject could earn was the right to chew the coca leaf. A supply was buried with each nobleman, so he would not run out in Inca heaven:

Meanwhile, up in the Andes, the Indians were chomping away at the coca leaf to survive the rigors of the harsh moun twin environment. The Andean leaf chewers 'of today still masticate the herb to help them endure the altitude. When they descend from the heights, they find it easy to give up their high.

Sigmund Freud gave cocaine its greatest PR buildup when he chanced upon an account of the therapeutic effects of the drug and tried it for his own neuroses. So astounded was he by the results that he not only published a paper praising .it, but also turned on his friends, his fiancee, and his associate, Dr. Ernst von Fleischal-Marxow, who was addicted to morphine for a painful condition. - Unfortunately, FleischalMarxow exchanged not a headache for an upset stomach, but morphine addiction for cocaine dependence, and Freud disowned what he called "the magical drug."

Despite Fleisehal-Marxow's metamorphosis, cocaine retained its popularity past the turn of the century. Medically, it was used as a local anesthetic in eye surgery and as a cure for alcohol and morphine addiction, and was endorsed by the Hay Fever Association for its bronchi- and sinus-clearing properties.

Recreationally, cocaine parlors were the discos. of the day, and patent medicines included coca extract as a vital part of their formulae. One such concoction was. Coca-Cola, made with coca leaves and sold as a "remarkable therapeutic agent" for everything from melancholy to insomnia, until Dr. Harvey Wiley used it as a target for enactment of a Pure Food and Drug Law. In 1906, Coca-Cola switched to decocainized coca leaves, still in the formula today.

Cocaine: super-high or bummer? Probably both. The consumer must decide whether an icy trip with the snow queen to the crystal heights of pleasure is worth coming own to the depths of the legal dangers, the expense, and the potential physical damage of overuse. Who nose?