Cocaine: Routes of Administration

Administration routes of cocaine

Studies show that the way of drug administration is related to severity of dependence. Cocaine taken by injection leads to the highest levels of dependence, while intranasal use is associated with the lowest levels. Smoking crack is between the two.

There are three main routes of taking cocaine. These are:

  1. Snorting or intranasal way of administration is the process of inhaling cocaine powder through the nose.Most users snort cocaine which causes damages to their nose – nasal irritation, sinus infections, crusting, nosebleeds and finally loss of sense of smell. Repeated use can create dependence. It can cause disturbances in the whole body. It affects brain, lungs, heart, central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, sex organs.
  2. Injecting: Users mix cocaine powder with water and use a syringe and needle to inject the solution intravenously into the bloodstream. Cocaine travels through the bloodstream and increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Intravenous use creates the quickest and most intense effects. Although cocaine produces a short-lived “high” it drives users to continue injecting the drug. Once users become addicted, their thoughts and behaviors change – getting and using cocaine become the main purpose.
  3. Smoking of cocaine vapor into the lungs: The crystal form of cocaine named crack – because it makes a cracking sound when heated – is the most potent form of this stimulant. It affects the brain more quickly than powder cocaine or intravenous dose. Crack offers an intense and immediate high, but usually lasts from 5–10 minutes. This form of cocaine develops addiction after first time trying it especially if the substance is smoked (it’s possible to snort it).

Short-term effects

Short-term effects of crack cocaine are: euphoria, loss of appetite, insomnia, increased heart rate and blood pressure, breathing failure, muscle spasms, depression, anxiety.

Long-term effects

Long-term effects of crack use include: severe heart and lungs damages, hallucinations, aggressive and paranoid behavior.

Crack is cheaper than powder form of cocaine – everyone can afford to buy it, but constant use leads to paranoia, hallucinations, violent and suicidal behavior and rapidly destroys personality. People become ready for anything – murder, prostitution, robbery – in order to find money to buy it. Users report that it turns them into monsters.