Cocaine produces its pleasurable high by interfering with the brain's "pleasure centers" where such chemicals as dopamine are produced. The drug traps an excess amount of dopamine in the brain, causing an elevated sense of well being. Cocaine acts as a stimulant to the body. In turn, the drug cause blood vessels to restrict, increases the body's temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and cause the pupils to dilate (4). Cocaine also increases one's breathing rate. Cocaine causes such pleasurable effects as reduced fatigue, increased mental clarity, and a rush of energy. However, the more one takes cocaine, the less one feels its pleasurable effects, which causes the addict to take higher and higher doses of cocaine in an attempt to recapture the intensity of that initial high (1). In any case, a cocaine high does not last very long. The average high a user gets from snorting cocaine only lasts for 15-30 minutes. These highs are less intense, as it takes longer for the drug to be absorbed into the bloodstream when snorted. A smoking high, although more intense due to the rapidity in which the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream, lasts for an even shorter period of only about five to ten minutes (5). After the euphoric high comes the crashing low, in which the addict craves more of the drug and in larger doses (2).
Cocaine can cause serious long-term effects to the central nervous system, including an increased chance of heart attack, stroke, and convulsions, combined with a higher likelihood of brain seizures, respiratory failures, and, ultimately, death (2). An overdose of cocaine raises blood pressure to unsafe