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Toxicity and chronic effects
When we exclude people with heart diseases, the possibility of death, as a result of a overdose of cocaine, is small. It is, however, real for the cocaine traffic-workers, who use the so-called “corporal packing”; by this method the cocaine is transported in condoms, which are swallowed. If the soft container bursts (and this happens quite often), the death is almost inevitable. The original symptoms of the poisoning are strong excitement, followed by a fierce headache, nausea and vomiting and at the end jactitations, followed by repression of breathing and heart collapse. The "lucky" fellows can die in 2 minutes, but the agony may continue half an hour; the "wretches", who have survived after all these sufferings, remain injured for life because of the oxygen storage, to which the brain has been subjected during the poisoning.
The chewing of coca leaves nowadays is an analogy of our morning or afternoon coffee for millions of American Indians in the Andes. Refreshing coca tea is served to the tourists, who visit the old capital of the Incas – Kusko. This way the absorption does not bring about euphoria at all, because the alkaloid is slowly sucked by the organism and the basic part of it is destroyed before it can reach the brain; except this vitamin C, which the coca leaves contain, acts as a antidote of cocaine.
The absence of cocaine does not cause any morbid symptoms; cocaine does not bring about physical dependency.
Physical dependency on cocaine is not created even if it is smoked or injected.
Although cocaine sniffing is comparatively harmless pleasure for most of the people, if a dependency is created, the consequences may be serious. Cocaine raises highly and suddenly the blood pressure and the result can be fatal for cardiac patients. The sensitive, constantly running nose, irritated by the sniffing is rather an innocuous problem. The simplest way not feel pain in the sore and bleeding nostrils is to take in another dose, but this may just worsen the situation. It has even come to breaching the septum in cases of some chronic cocaine-takers.
Tolerance towards cocaine is developed very quickly, but this tolerance is quite short. This peculiarity determines the specific style of the non-moderate cocaine usage, which goes off in “runs”. The cocaine is sniffed in every 20 or 30 minutes for about 10 or 12 hours till total exhaustion, but although the doses grow quickly, the desired euphoria becomes weaker and weaker. Often the “runs” end with cocaine paranoia. Complete abstinence follows after that for a time, during which the tolerance vanishes quickly and everything starts all over again.
This situation is more typical for the venous injections and the smoking of “crack”. The extremely strong effect and its brevity, as well as the oncoming depression after that, incite to a new dose. Tolerance is developed very quickly and the necessary doses for achieving the same effect increase incredibly. The result at the end is a cocaine psychosis, which is characterized with paranoid ideas, a persecution mania and outbursts of aggression. Except the acoustic and visual hallucinations, the tactile ones of insects, spiders, snakes, which creep on or even under the skin, are also very frequent. The people, who have fallen into psychosis, make persistently movements in order to deliver from the crawling insects, even when they realize that this is just a hallucination.
Much more serious and dangerous are the effects on the cardiac-vascular system. As a result of the cocaine use annually in the world die more than 3000 persons from heart attack and insultus; it is known that there have been cases, when people have died after taking the first dose.
The physical dependency, created on cocaine, especially when it is smoked or injected, is rather strong. This is the reason for which a considerable part of the users conceive the passion for it.