Forensic Drug Project: Cocaine

By: Becky Drummer

Cocaine Description

  • Cocaine is a highly addictive drug made from the leaves of the coca plant found in South America.
  • There are 2 kinds of Cocaine~ Crack Cocaine and Cocaine


  • Cocaine is a stimulant.
  • It affects the brain by causing a buildup of Neurotransmitters in the brain because the dopamine is not being recycled, causing the high.

Street Names

  • Coke
  • Coca
  • C
  • Snow
  • Flake
  • Blow
  • Charlie
  • Rock
  • Toot

Short Term Effects

  • Convulsions, Seizures
  • Anxiety, Paranoia, Hallucinations
  • Higher heart rate, blood pressure, & body temperature
  • Depression, Severe Drug Cravings
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Disturbed Sleep Patterns
  • Bizarre, Violent Behavior

Long Term Effects

  • Liver, Kidney and Lung Damage
  • Severe Tooth Decay
  • Destruction of the Nasal Tissues
  • Reproductive Damage & Infertility (both genders)
  • Disorientation, Apathy, Confused Exhaustion
  • Delirium or Psychosis
  • Tolerance and addiction (even after just one use)

User Population

  • In 2008 there were 1.9 million current cocaine users
  • 359,000 of these users were also taking other drugs with Cocaine
  • The most common age group for Cocaine use is 18-25
  • Men are more frequent users of Coke then women
  • Out of 2 million reported cases of drug abuse in the emergency room 482,188 cases involved Cocaine~ about 24%

Chemical Structure

  • Cocaine Formula
    • C17H21NO4
  • Chemical Name:
    • benzoyl-methyl-ecgonine

Arrests/ Sentencing/Fines

  • Cocaine is nationally recognized as an illegal substance but the punishments for possessing it differ from state to state.
  • Your punishment depends on the substance, the amount, and whether or not you were distributing it.
  • In Minnesota the punishment for possessing and distributing is up to a $1,000,000 fine and up to 30 years in prison.
  • Second & subsequent convictions are punished with a fine of up to $1,000,000 and 4-40 years in prison.
  • Possession of crack cocaine carries heavier penalties under federal law and some state laws.


  • 3000 BC the ancient Incas and Andes would chew coca leaves to increase their heart rate and breathing to counter the thin air in the high altitudes.
  • In 1859 Coca was first isolated and extracted from the leaves by Albert Niemann, a German chemist.
  • Cocaine was also frequently used and prescribed to patients by Sigmund Freud, who thought that Cocaine was magic and that their was not an overdose limit.
  • In 1886 John Pemberton put extracts from the Coca leaves into his new soft drink, Coca- Cola. In 1903 the drug was taking out of the beverage due to public pressure.
  • In 1922 the drug was officially banned after 5,000 people had overdosed in one year.

Where is it found?

  • Cocaine is found in South America
    • Bolivia*
    • Columbia*
    • Peru*
    • Venezuela
    • Argentina
  • South America has the climate and the higher altitudes that allow the Coca plant to thrive.

What is it used for?

  • The Incas and the the Andes would chew and make tea out of the Coca leaves. They used this to alleviate hunger, to help them adapt to the high altitudes they lived in, religious ceremonies, and to perform brain surgeries.
  • Cocaine is used medically as an anesthetic to numb the mouth, nose, and throat. It is also used to numb areas for wound cleaning, biopsy, and stitches.
  • They use Cocaine because it numbs the area very quickly ( within 1-2 minutes)

How is it Metabolized?

  • Cocaine is metabolized in the urine
  • Cocaine tends to stick to fat and if you are drinking caffeine it impede the drugs from leaving your body.
  • Cocaine takes effect within minutes and the high lasts for 5-10 minutes if it is injected into the veins. If you snort it the high will last for 15-30 minutes.

Symptoms of Cocaine

  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Lots of Energy

Antidotes/ Remedies

  • To help Cocaine abusers who are going through withdrawals these drugs are recommended.
    • Tyrosine: this will naturally boost dopamine levels, will help your energy levels and depression.
    • Glutamine: relaxes the body and manages the fatigue in the brain. It also helps to stabilize your blood sugar.
    • Tryptophan: naturally increases Serotonin levels and helps you sleep.
    • Vitamin C: helps to cope with fatigue and stress.


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  • "How Does Cocaine Work?" Addiction Blog Drug RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.
  • "Cocaine Use and Its Effects." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2015.
  • "Cocaine Addiction Withdrawal with Natural Remedies." Cocaine Addiction Withdrawal with Natural Remedies. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.
  • "Cocaine: Effects, Hazards & Warnings -" Cocaine: Effects, Hazards & Warnings - N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2015.
  • "Cocaine." NIDA for Teens. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
  • Malm, Sara. "Cocaine Use Boosts Learning and Decision-making... but Only as Part of Increasing Dependency." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 25 Aug. 2013. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.
  • "Cocaine Overview : Chemistry | Methoide." Cocaine Overview : Chemistry | Methoide. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
  • "Drug Possession Penalties and Sentencing - FindLaw." Findlaw. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

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