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Hannah Pettersson

HLTH 401


October 29, 2017


Drugs throughout the years have always been a part of society. Whether it be right in front

of our faces or more under our noses. Drugs have caused wars, poverty, and power. Cocaine is one

of those drugs. Similar to Methamphetamine, Cocaine affects the body very negatively. It has

created mass drug cartels which has cause conflict between multiple countries. It has become a

very popular drug in the United States.

Cocaine has a strong effect on the body. It is one of the strongest and most dangerous

stimulant drugs. Next to marijuana, cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the

United States. It is derived from the leaves of the coca plant and mixed with harmful chemicals. It

is considered an upper drug because its highly addictive and it affects the brain directly. Cocaine

reaches the brain very quickly. It blocks the reuptake in the synapse of the neurotransmitters

dopamine, nor-epinephrine, and serotonin. Once those neurotransmitters are effected by the

cocaine, the transmitters are unable to reabsorb and recycle. Depending on the amount of dopamine

released, determines the state of euphoria. It comes in either a white powder or a crystal-like

substance. Cocaine can be taken in three ways: Snorting is inhaling through the nose. Injection is

used with a needle to inject directly into the blood stream. Digesting it orally is swallowed through

the mouth and then absorbed into the blood stream. It can also be rubber in the gums. All three of

these will instantly hit the brain. Theres a certain amount you would need to take to get the high.

Orally it takes 1.2 grams. Injecting takes 750 to 800 mg. snorting taking 0.1 to 0.2 grams. The
amount varies once the user has built a tolerance to cocaine. Mentioned earlier, cocaine comes in

two different substances: a white powder and a crystal substance mainly called crack. Crack is the

crystal form of cocaine. The user heats the crystal and then smokes it or injects it. Its called crack

because of the crackling sound it makes when being heated. Crack reaches the brain faster than

any other way but unfortunately the high is shorter. Crack is a lot cheaper than the pure powder so

its the most popular way to use. Cocaine affects the body short term and long term. It causes a

huge physical and mental change to the body. Once the user does cocaine, the body starts to be

affected. The blood vessels constrict, the heart rate, blood pressure, and the body temperature

increase, the pupils dilate, severe headaches occur, the user begins to have gastrointestinal

complications, and the begin to have a decrease in appetite. After the user has been on cocaine for

quite some time, the body starts to get chronic effects. They begin to gain a tolerance. If the user

snorts the cocaine, they are at a high risk of losing their sense of smell. The user has a risk of heart

attack and stroke. Theres a decrease in appetite because the user is too happy to eat. If the user

injects the drug, it could lead to allergic reaction. The user can contract AIDS and HIV. If the user

ingests cocaine, it can lead to bowl gangrene. Cocaine users tend to have higher rates of antisocial

personality disorder, depression, anxiety, and multi-substance abuse than the general population.

Cocaine can lead to a drastic change to a womans pregnancy. If a woman is pregnant and

does cocaine, it could lead to serious birth defects. While on cocaine, the users sex drive increases

just as if the user was on methamphetamine. This leads to an increase chance of unwanted

pregnancy. While on the drug, the woman can experience extreme high blood pressure and a high

heart rate. In extreme cases, the pressure can get so high, it could lead to heart failure and bleeding

on the brain. Hemorrhaging could occur on the placenta and cause death to the mother and the

baby. Its very common for women who do cocaine while pregnant to lose their baby. Women that
do give birth to their child could have serious problems. The baby could become addicted to

cocaine at birth and suffer from serious withdrawal and side effects. Some effects include:

premature birth, loss of birth weight, stunted growth, and damage to the brain and nervous system.

Cocaine is mainly exported out of South America. It mainly grows in Peru, Ecuador,

Columbia, and Venezuela. Its most popular exports are North America and European countries.

An estimated 800 tons of cocaine is illegally exported every year. In the United States, over 38

million Americans aged 12 and older have used cocaine. The highest rate of cocaine use in the

United States are among adults aged 18 to 25. More than 400,000 babies are born addicted to

cocaine each year in the United States. Depending on the amount and type of cocaine varies in

price. Crack cocaine is the cheapest. If you buy it in rock form, is roughly around $10. Powder

cocaine is the most expensive. A kilogram of cocaine is roughly between $18,000 to $25,000. It

can sometimes be called the Rich Mans drug because of the price and mostly people with wealth

buy and use pure powder cocaine. Some examples include: Lindsay Lohan, Robert Downey Jr.,

and Whitney Houston.

Cocaine is illegal. Possession of the drug is a felony in all fifty states. Punishment varies

depending on the amount possessed and if its a first-time conviction. Its possible to serve life

punishments for possession of cocaine.

Cocaine addiction cannot be cured medically. The best way to defeat the addiction is

behavioral interventions. Therapy is a very effective way to prevent relapse because it helps the

addict recognize, avoid, and cope with their addiction. There are different programs and

community support around Salt Lake City. Its important that the addict stays away from people

that are still using the drug. If they want to stay sober, they should surround themselves with people
that are strong than them, emotionally wise to keep the addict away from the drug and achieve

their goal of staying sober.

As mentioned earlier, cocaine is mainly distributed in South America. The main

distributers are drug cartels. Cartels were actually created by the United States government. It

wasnt intentional. The CIA recruited a man named Barry Seal, a TWA pilot who became the

worlds biggest drug smuggler. The idea was to transport guns to a militia fighting communists in

Puerto Rico. This gave Barry the opportunity to get to Columbia to pick up thousands of kilos of

cocaine and drop it in America. He worked closely with Pablo Escobar and exchanged information

with the DEA so he would avoid prison. He was playing all sides. He made Pablo Escobar a very

rich man all while he became very rich. He made around $500,000 per flight. All these exports of

drugs, money, and more created the first cartel. Pablo Escobar being the leader. The cartel owned

an island off the coast of Cuba where Barry and many other smugglers would refuel their planes,

switch the cocaine to smaller planes, fly them into the United States over secluded areas such as

marshes, swamps, forests, dirt roads, and more. The cocaine would then be distributed throughout

the United States. It was estimated that around 15 tons of cocaine was smuggled into the United

States per day. Thats roughly the weight of two elephants.

Pablo Escobar was a Columbian drug lord who at one point controlled over 80-90% percent

of the cocaine shipped to the United States. His personal income was roughly 30 billion U.S.

dollars a year. In 1989, he was named the 7th richest man in the world by Forbes Magazine. He

was the most powerful drug lord in the 1970s to the 1990s when he died on December 2,1993 by

Colombian law enforcement. Collaborating with other criminals, he formed the Medellin Cartel.

Due the cocaine market flourishing in the 1970s, Colombias geographical location proved to be

the biggest asset. Pablo Escobar quickly came to power. In 1975, Fabio Restrepo, a Medellin drug
trafficker was murdered. It was believed that Escobar ordered the murder. He immediately gained

power and expanded Restrepos operation into the biggest drug trade the world has ever seen. It

began to crumble once Escobar had been imprisoned and killed the leaders. It was estimated that

Pablo Escobar and his cartel was responsible for over 3 thousand murders. In 1992, He escaped

when authorities tried to move him to a more secured facility. It took 16 months to catch him and

killed him. Currently, the worlds biggest drug lord is Joaquin El Chapo Guzman.

In the 1980s, cocaine was introduced to the United States. It causes an uproar in the

country along with other drugs becoming wildly popular. Drugs such as methamphetamine,

marijuana, heroin, opioids, and many different kinds of hallucinogens. It caused many problems

which led to the war on drugs. It led to mass poverty, mass incarceration, and mass violence.

Nixon, who was president at the time, declared the war on drugs stating that drug abuse was public

enemy number one. He created multiple anti-drug associations such as the DEA. The DEA was

responsible for tackling drug use and smuggling in the United States.

Currently, Cocaine use in the United States is way up. Up until 2009, cocaine has remained

relatively stable. People have been so focused on the heroin and opioid epidemic, they dont realize

that cocaine is beginning to make a huge comeback. According to test samples 90% of cocaine

on the streets in the United States is of Colombian origin. The number of overdose deaths are

increasing. In 2015, the deaths were at their highest that theyve ever been since 2006. It seems

that more and more addicts are using cocaine. The war on drugs is still being fought, but with less

intensity and publicity than its early years.

In conclusion, Cocaine has a long negative history. It affects the body in many negative

ways and in extreme cases, can lead to death. its caused wars and led people into poverty and

awful lives. Its highly expensive and very difficult to make. Its mainly made in Columbia due to
the geographical location being so compatible with the process of making cocaine. Its made many

people rich and drug cartels flourish. Currently, its common among many addicts and rich party

goers. Cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs to be addicted to ad should never be taken as a


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