WHAT MAKES COCAINE SO ADDICTIVE AND DANGEROUS?

Cocaine is a psychoactive alkaloid of the coca plant; it was originally used for local surgeries as an anaesthetic but has now become a recreational drug. Unlike amphetamines, which resemble the structural formula of dopamine and noradrenaline, cocaine has a similar structure to other synthetic sedatives. Cocaine is well absorbed when administered via the mucous membranes, the GI tract and IV route. Peak concentration happens within five minutes after intravenous injection, while the peak levels from smoking are usually reached within 60 minutes. Some cocaine is excreted in urine unchanged, the majority is metabolised into benzoylecgonine, ecgonine methyl ester, norcocaine and other metabolites. Although cocaine has a short half-life, the elimination half-life of the metabolites lasts longer. Studies also show that the half-life of cocaine may increase the longer it is used.

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