by Zach Phillips & Noah Wood
- About 14% of U.S. adults have tried cocaine.
- One in 40 adults has used it in the past year.
- Young men aged 18-25 are the biggest cocaine users, with 8% using in the past year.
- 700 tons of cocaine is seized by law enforcement each year.
Cocaine is absorbed into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes of the nose, when sniffed; via the alveoli in the lungs, when smoked. In the brain, it pumps up the volume by increasing the activity of two main neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and dopamine.
At low doses, its effects include feelings of excitement and alertness, combined with decreased appetite and fatigue.
Physical effects include dilated pupils, constricted blood vessels, and elevated heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure. Higher doses (or use over a long period of time) can cause anxiety, paranoia, and toxic psychosis.