Cocaine: Bolivia, Peru, Colombia

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Cocaine is produced in the fields of South America. Bolivia, Peru and Colombia are top coca leaf producing countries. Colombia is the world’s top coca leaf processor, with more processing taking place in Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina. From South America, shipments move north, coming into the US by small plane, truck, car or boat. Along the US-Mexico border, Mexican drug cartels are largely responsible for moving the drugs, but in large Eastern cities, a wide variety of ethnic groups transport these drugs. Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. Any substance that affects the brain has an effect on mental health. In this cocaine is no different from many other recreational drugs. According…show more content…
This pathway originates in a region of the midbrain called the ventral tegmental area and extends to the nucleus accumbens, one of the brain’s key reward areas. Besides reward, this circuit also regulates emotions and motivation. In the normal communication process, dopamine is released by a neuron into the synapse (the small gap between two neurons), where it binds to specialized proteins called dopamine receptors on the neighboring neuron. By this process, dopamine acts as a chemical messenger, carrying a signal from neuron to neuron. Another specialized protein called a transporter removes dopamine from the synapse to be recycled for further use.8 Drugs of abuse can interfere with this normal communication process. For example, cocaine acts by binding to the dopamine transporter, blocking the removal of dopamine from the synapse. Dopamine then accumulates in the synapse to produce an amplified signal to the receiving neurons. This is what causes the euphoria commonly experienced immediately after taking the drug Signs and Symptoms of Drug…show more content…
Cocaine’s effects appear almost immediately after a single dose and disappear within a few minutes to an hour. Small amounts of cocaine usually make the user feel euphoric, energetic, talkative, mentally alert, and hypersensitive to sight, sound, and touch. The drug can also temporarily decrease the need for food and sleep. Some users find that cocaine helps them perform simple physical and intellectual tasks more quickly, although others experience the opposite effect. The duration of cocaine’s euphoric effects depend upon the route of administration. The faster the drug is absorbed, the more intense the resulting high, but also the shorter its duration. Snorting cocaine produces a relatively slow onset of the high, but it may last from 15 to 30 minutes. In contrast, the high from smoking is more immediate but may last only 5 to 10 minutes. Severe medical complications can occur with cocaine use. Some of the most frequent are cardiovascular effects, including disturbances in heart rhythm and heart attacks; neurological effects, including headaches, seizures, strokes, and coma; and gastrointestinal complications, including abdominal pain and nausea. In rare instances, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or

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