Cocaine and amphetamines are powerful central nervous system stimulants that cause euphoria, impaired judgment, talkativeness, anxiety, grandiosity, hyper vigilance, and a rapid heart rate. Both substances can be smoked or taken orally.
The smoking and intravenous routes of administration are particularly likely to result in a quick progression from recreational use of dependence. Because cocaine has a short half-life, the addict requires frequent dosing to maintain the “high” this can lead quickly to a life devoted to doing whatever it takes to procure supplies.
Crack is a particularly dangerous whatever it takes to procure supplies. Crack is a particularly dangerous form of cocaine that is smoked to produce an instant wallop to the central nervous system. Crack is a devastating public health problem because it is relatively inexpensive, highly addictive, widely available, and is associated with serious medical problems such as strokes, heart attacks, seizures, and comas. The ups and downs of our national crime statistics seem to correlate surprisingly closely with the degree of cocaine use at any given time.
The amphetamine counterpart to crack cocaine is a pure form of methamphetamine known as “ice”. Aggressive and violent behaviors are often associated with amphetamine abuse, especially when high doses are smoked in this form.
The effects of amphetamines tend to be longer lasting than those produced by cocaine, regardless of the form of administering the substance. Individuals abusing amphetamines sometimes develop enormous tolerance to the substance, needing ever higher and more frequent doses to achieve the same effects.
This requires large sum of money to maintain the habit and encourages a lifestyle of illegal behavior, including stealing, prostitution, or selling drugs, Heavy and prolonged use of either cocaine or amphetamines can result in paranoid delusions and auditory hallucinations that mimic paranoid schizophrenia.
There are two different patterns os cocaine and amphetamine use episodic and chronic. An episodic pattern of abuse consist of “binges” or “runs” occurring over a period of days and ending when the drug supply has been exhausted. Intense depression and listlessness, know as “crashing”, often follows a “run” and requires several days of recovery after the binge. In chronic daily use, the substance is taken almost constantly all day long, usually with increasing doses required over time.
Withdrawal symptoms from cocaine and amphetamines may begin within hours and include depression, fatigue, vivid and disturbing nightmares hypertension, agitation, increased appetite, and lack of energy.