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The South African Anti Drug Team




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Street names: blow, charlie, coke
This mind-altering drug, extracted from the coca bush in Peru, Bolivia and other mountainous countries, was once the glamour drug of the rich and famous but now more and more children are experimenting with it.  


The heaven:
A feeling of exhilaration, euphoria, hyperactivity, self-confidence, heightened awareness and boundless energy. The rush occurs five to 10 minutes after snorting cocaine.  


The hell:
Some users will experience headaches, tremors, apprehension and insomnia after a single dose. Larger doses may lead to teeth grinding and compulsive acts such as scratching and finger tapping. Users may hear voices and suffer from extreme paranoia, extreme anxiety, irrational ideas and aggression. An overdose can result in a seizure, panic attack, cardiac arrest, stroke, difficulty breathing and death.  


Effects on the body:
Your pulse rate increases, your blood pressure rises and your pupils dilate. After long-term use, you'll look emaciated, your sex drive will decrease, your nose will always be running and you'll get frequent colds. Cocaine is psychologically and physically addictive. Once the high wears off, addicts are left craving more stimulation.  


Effects on the brain:
Cocaine interferes with the natural secretion of dopamine and serotonin, two of the brain's chemical messengers that transmit feel-good sensations. As a result, these neurotransmitters accumulate and trigger the trademark "high".  


The scary fact is cocaine eventually depletes the level of neurotransmitters to such an extent that depression, apathy, fatigue, anxiety and suicidal depression can set in and may last for months.  


If the depletion is total and permanent, even the best antidepressants will be futile and the user may never be able to escape from the darkest depression. Some also develop Parkinson's disease which leaves them with a tremor at an early age.  


 NB:  Common outward signs of a drug user:

 1.   They do not have strong willpower.

 2.   They do not have a stable character.

 3.   They tend to live in a tunnel - view life.

 4.   They lie constantly to protect their pride.

 5.   They would have the habit to bite their nails.

 6.   They develop chest problems, asthma or lung problems.