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I tried cocaine and I love it; MERCURY MEDIC.

Q I'VE just started a new job in Birmingham and went out with my new colleagues for a drink and then on to a party. I was shocked to be offered cocaine but I was under pressure to have some and, when I took it, I felt absolutely fantastic. I danced all night and had the best time of my life. I've had it several times since but I'd like to know whether I'm damaging myself?

NEIL, Edgbaston.

A Cocaine comes from the leaf of the Erythroxylon coca bush and was first isolated in 1859.

It's become well known as the drug associated with the rich and famous and a number of celebrities have been publicly associated with its use.

Cocaine ensnares intelligent people -those who think they're too bright, too powerful, too in control of themselves and their lives to ever become hooked on anything, particularly a recreational drug.

Unfortunately, cocaine is incredibly addictive - once an individual has tried it, they cannot predict or control the extent to which he or she will continue to use it.

Cocaine inhibits the re-uptake of dopamine, a neurotransmit-ter that controls the pleasure centres in the central nervous system, creating a feeling of euphoria and heightened sexuality allied with decreased anxiety and social inhibitions.

As you have indicated, the rush is indescribable. A few lines and users are magic - captivating, confident, vivacious, unassailable and ready to conquer the world.

Taken in small amounts of up to 100 milligrams, cocaine makes the user feel elated and highly tuned to the sensations of touch, sight and sound.

Larger amounts of several hundred milligrams or more intensify the high, but can also lead to bizarre, erratic and violent behaviour accompanied by tremors, vertigo, muscle twitches, paranoia or, with regular large doses, a toxic reaction similar to amphetamine poisoning.

The danger lies in repeated use - even weekend indulgences.

What happens once you start using cocaine is that over time, users need to increase the amount they take to obtain the same effect.

Unfortunately, these euphoric experiences create vivid, long-term psychological memories that form the basis for future cravings - in other words, the beginnings of addiction.

Even if you're not currently addicted, cocaine use is linked to disturbances in heart rhythms, heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, blurred vision, fever, muscle spasms, convulsions and comas.

Regular snorting will destroy your sense of smell and causes nosebleeds and problems with swallowing.

Ultimately, it can demolish your nasal septum, necessitating extensive cosmetic surgery to rebuild it.

If YOU have a question about health and wellbeing, write to Mercury Medic, Sunday Mercury, Weaman Street, Birmingham B4 6AY, or e-mail S
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 2, 2006
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