Cocaine was first extracted from coca in the 19th cent. and was at
first hailed as a miracle drug. By the 1880s in the United States it was
freely prescribed by physicians for exhaustion, depression, and morphine
addiction and was available in many patent medicines. After users and
physicians began to realize its dangers and various regulations were
enacted, its use decreased, and by the 1920s the epidemic had abated.
Another epidemic began in the United States in the 1970s and peaked in the
mid-1980s; again the drug was at first considered harmless. With the latter
epidemic and its accompanying crack epidemic (beginning in 1985 and peaking
in 1988) violence in crack-infested neighborhoods increased dramatically.
Young people with few other opportunities were lured by the power and money
of being crack dealers; most carried guns and many were murdered in
drug-gang wars that ensued. By the late 1990s the cocaine and crack epidemic
had subsided as heroin regained popularity among illicit drug users.
Cocaine is either snorted
(sniffed), swallowed, injected, or smoked. Habitual snorting can result in
serious damage to the nasal mucous membranes; shared needles put the user at
increased risk of HIV infection. The street drug comes in the form of a
white powder, cocaine hydrochloride. The hydrochloride salt and the cutting
agents are removed to create the pure base product “freebase.” Freebase is
smoked and reaches the brain in seconds. “Crack” cocaine, also called
“rock,” is a form of freebase that comes in small lumps and makes a
crackling sound when heated. It is relatively inexpensive, but must be
Crack cocaine magnifies the effects of cocaine and is considered to be more
highly and more quickly addictive than snorted cocaine. It causes a very
abrupt increase in heart rate and blood pressure that can lead to heart
attack and stroke even in young people with no history of vascular disease,
sometimes the first time the drug is used. It also crosses the placental
barrier; babies born to crack-addicted mothers go through withdrawal and are
at a higher risk of stroke, cerebral palsy, and other birth defects.
Big C, blow, "C", chick, coke, corine, dust, flake, girl, happy, dust, nieve,
nose candy, nose stuff, snow, toot, uptown, white, white girl, roca, rock,
crack, Roxane, and white pipe.