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Coke and the capital

The capital loves its style and lives it high. Rave parties are a rage among the bold and the beautiful. And crack flows like water.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2006 03:22 IST

The capital loves its style and lives it high. Rave parties are a rage among the bold and the beautiful. And crack flows like water.

But the tastes are changing. Adventurous users are exploring new avenues for greater highs. De-addiction experts say 60 per cent of the patients use combination drugs. “Spiking drugs gives a bigger kick and damages the central nervous system that controls vital body functions such as the heart beat, blood pressure, respiration and kidney functions. Over the past year, the tendency to mix cocaine, ecstacy pills (MDMA or methylenedioxymethamphetamine) and Viagra (sildenafil citrate) with alcohol has gone up,” says Dr Jitendra Nagpal, senior psychiatrist at VIMHANS.

Taken together, cocaine and alcohol are converted into cocaethylene in the liver and it increases the risk of sudden death because of cardio-pulmonary failure.

“Cocaine is a stimulant, an upper that increases heart beat and blood pressure, but when mixed with downers such as alcohol that calms the central nervous system, it strains the respiratory system and the heart. The common myth is that when taken together, the two act as antidotes, but in reality it kills,” says Dr Nimesh Desai, senior psychiatrist and medical superintendent, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS).

What does Coke induce? An initial euphoria, extreme alertness and mental clarity. It is highly addictive and a tolerance to it develops rather quickly, which gives a short but an intense kick. The effect usually wears off. How does it work? Cocaine works by interfering with the re-absorption of a brain chemical called dopamine, which increases feelings of pleasure and euphoria.

Even when taken in pure form, overdosing can causes heart attacks, respiratory failures, strokes, convulsions, intestinal damages, abdominal pain and nausea.

Regular snorting can lead to a loss of sense of smell, nose bleeds, problems with swallowing and a chronically runny nose. Taking it orally can reduce blood flow.