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Cocaine

  • By: Matthew W. Johnson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Cocaine is a widely used alkaloid drug isolated from the leaves of the coca plant. Its salt form is cocaine hydrochloride, which is a white crystalline powder, and is sometimes referred to as cocaine powder to distinguish it from crack cocaine, a base form of the drug. Cocaine is used for its euphoric and stimulant effects. Cocaine powder is typically insufflated (snorted) into the nose, allowing the drug to be absorbed through mucosal membranes, or mixed with water to form an aqueous solution and injected intravenously (“mainlining”). Crack cocaine is smoked/vaporized in a specialized pipe, often consisting of a glass tube into which scouring pad-based mesh has been inserted and onto which the drug can melt before entering the vapor phase.

The psychoactive effects of cocaine ...

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