Friday, 23 June 2017

Alcoholic Cirrhosis: What Are Your Chances?

Consuming alcohol in excess leads to building up of fats and scarring of the liver. Eventually, it may result in alcohol liver disease which can be fatal.

  • Alcoholic liver disease in western countries is the main cause of liver dysfunctions.
  • In Eastern countries, on the other hand, alcoholic liver diseases often result to viral hepatitis.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the number of deaths from the alcoholic liver disease in the United States was 18,146 from the year 2013.
  • The number of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis combined has been estimated to have caused 11.5 fatalities in more than 100,000 people.

Several factors are contributory elements in the increase of risk of developing an alcoholic liver disease.

The chances are higher in having a liver disease for those people who drink beer and liquor or spirits compared to those people who usually consumes wine. Women, on the other hand, are more susceptible to having alcoholic liver disease compared to men because women metabolize alcohol more slowly. With this, women’s sensitivity to alcohol-related liver damage is double compared to men.

With the data presented by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 13% of the female population in the U.S. consumes more than seven drinks. Further, women who are in the excess body weight population and consume more than the recommended amount of alcohol will have a greater chance of having chronic liver disease. In the worst case scenario, death due to liver disease may happen.

Another factor that might increase the risk is Hepatitis C and those regular drinkers having any type of hepatitis might develop liver disease. The genetic makeup of a person is another factor. With the changes in genetic profiles of particular enzymes like ADH, ALDH, and CYP4502E1, which are key to alcohol metabolism of the person, the chance of developing alcohol liver disease is extremely higher.

Alcoholic Hepatitis should not be neglected because it is a serious disease.

Only 30 to 40 percent of people having severe alcoholic hepatitis can live up to one month. Seek your doctor’s advice if:

Signs or symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis is visible

  • You cannot control your drinking
  • You cannot cut back on your drinking

In preventing alcoholic liver disease and other conditions related to the consumption of alcohol, the guidelines for alcohol consumption should be followed.

In the national guidelines, it is stated that moderate drinking can be classified as up to one drink a day for women and two drinks for men with the age of 21 years old and above. A drink is said to be equivalent to a 12-ounce beer having 5 fluid-ounce of wine and 5 percent of alcohol ingredients or in 1.5 fluid-ounce of spirits and 12 percent strong alcohol.

It is also stated in the national guidelines that drinking as four or more drinks on any day, or seven or more glasses of drinks for women in a week, and six or more glasses of drinks or fifteen or more drinks for men in a week is considered a high-risk drinking.

As noted by the NIAAA, everyone is different and some people experiences the effects of alcohol differently compared to others.

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How does Addiction Affect the Brain

It is a known fact that the brain serves as the most dynamic and complex organ in the body. Weighing about three pounds, the brain consists of gray and white matter that oversees all bodily function.  The proper functioning of the brain ensures our very survival. In summary, the proper functioning of the brain ensures our very survival. It interprets and responds to everything that we experience, it shapes our emotions, thoughts and even behavior.  When our brains function well, we are constantly adapting to our environment. Ironically, the adaptive ability of the brain contributed to the development of addiction. Addiction can cause four fundamental modifications to the brain. This includes:

  1. Addiction changes the brain's natural balance.
  2. Addiction changes the brain's chemistry.
  3. Addiction changes the brain's communication pathways.
  4. Addiction Changes the structures in the brain

# 1 Addiction changes the brain's natural balance.

Addictive behavior hampers in the biological process of the brain called homeostasis. Scientists and experts consider the human body as a biological system. For them, all biological systems attempt to maintain a normal balance as part of its functioning. The brain functions as the main overseer of this balance.  It makes countless adjustments to maintain a balanced, well-functioning, biological system. The brain individually determined each person’s normal balance. Drug abuse and addictive behavior can lead to changes in this so called normal balance. Addiction can over stimulate and interferes with the balance of the brain. The brain makes a quick adjustment to maintain the balance, creating a new balance set-point. The creation of the new balance referred to as “allostasis”. The brain’s adaptive behavior triggers changes in the brain’s normal function. These changes account for many behaviors associated with addiction such as:
  • Intense cravings to get drugs.
  • Persistent behavior to seek the drug despite its negative effects.
  • Difficulty or unsuccessful trials quitting the addiction.
  • The obsessive nature of addictions that see little else in life matters.
The new behavior causes the brain’s balance to accommodate the addiction. Once changed, the brain adapts the addictive behavior to maintain the new homeostatic balance.

#2 Addiction Changes The Brain's Chemistry

Good communication is absolutely important, functioning as the major key to coordinate with family members or people from work. Our bodies are no different. Neuron systems deliver messages back and forth within the structures of the spinal cord, nerves and the brain. These complex networks regulate and interpret everything that we feel, see, think and do. To understand the effect of addiction on the brain system, one must understand how communication works. Communication systems consist of five senses, namely:
  • sight
  • sound
  • taste
  • touch
  • smell
These five senses collect and analyze information around us; the brain processes all these. As a complex organ, the brain receives a massive amount of information. It may sound complex but the brain works on a simple electrochemical process. The communication system works allowing the brain to interact with the other body parts. Billions of neurons passed the information to the brain. Human brains contain billions of these neurons connections. The massive network builds an electrochemical communication system. Some neurotransmitters can affect other neurons (excitatory). They can affect other neurons and produce reactions. Here are some of the neurons found in the brain.
  •    Inhibitory neurons - prevents the next neuron from sending another reaction.
  •    Glutamate - the most common excitatory neurotransmitter found in the brain.
  •    Gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA - the most common inhibitory. This plays an important role in addiction.
Neuropeptides that are relevant to addiction are:
  •    natural opiates  present in the brain (called endorphins)
  •    stress hormones
  •    peptides (associated with feeding and anxiety)
These molecules have their own specific types of receptors.  Some neurotransmitters react to specific drugs. All drugs can affect this system to varying degrees more so in the dopamine system. Here are some of the illicit substance and its effect on the system. Drugs and  its affected brain system Cocaine and Methamphetamine - Alters the dopamine system Opiates (heroin, codeine, Oxycontin®, Vicodin®, and hydrocodone) - Cause changes in the dopamine, opiate (endorphin), and GABA systems. Alcohol- Changes the dopamine, glutamate, and GABA systems Marijuana- activates dopamine and in the brain's own cannabinoid system. Nicotine found in cigarettes- Changes in the acetylcholine system Ecstasy- Affects both dopamine and serotonin systems.

# 3 Addiction Changes The Brain's Communication Pathways

New neural pathways are formed as an addiction develops. This is because addiction chemically altered the brain's communication system. When you take that drug away, the brain must again form new neural pathways. Just as when we had to forge a new trail in the woods. The experience is initially uncomfortable.  Successful recovery cases can press on through this brief, uncomfortable period. Remember, it was difficult and uncomfortable to forge a new pathway around a fallen tree. The same is true for the initial period of recovery. It can be difficult and uncomfortable while these new neural pathways are forming. It is important for the recovering person to persevere and does not give up. Particularly in this initial stage of discomfort, new neural pathways will form for recovery. These new pathways will become more established and better developed over time. As they do, recovery becomes easier and more comfortable. Unfortunately, because the brain can adapt easily, it also serves as the root of addiction. The brain adapts to the strong effects of addictive drugs and activities. Changes that occur in the brain regions associated with the following:
  • reward
  • memory and emotion
  • decision-making
  • stress regulation
These changes to our brain make the repeated use of addictive substances or activities very compelling. Luckily, the neuroplasticity of the brain permits the person to these changes. Therefore, although addiction leads to structural changes in the brain, we are capable of learning new coping skills. The brain's plasticity allows these new coping skills to be imprinted.

# 4 Addiction Changes the structures in the brain

The brain is composed of many different regions and structures. The communication of the brain system allows these different regions to manage their activities. Each of these different structures has its own purposes. Addictions can alter these regions and structures and how the brain functions. It affects some regions and structures of the brain, such as:
  • Decision-making
  • Drug-seeking behavior and craving
  • Withdrawal effects, and relapse triggers
  • Stress regulation and withdrawal.
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Helping Someone with Drug Addiction and Depression | West Palm Beach

One of the common fears that people and loved ones of a drug addict face are the questions. How do I help them avoid addiction and depression? Depression is a common scenario for all human beings. At one point or the other, we find certain events of our lives depressing, either because things did not turn out how we wanted it to be, expectations were not met. Any traumatic event in our lives can trigger our depression and lead to addiction. We find drugs as a means of escape and there are several drugs that have been introduced to allow one to have a temporal escape from their reality. Your loved one may turn to drugs for comfort, but depression could strike anyway. There is always that danger that a person may not get the chance to process, understand or cope up with the traumatic event in their life which was the root cause of why they opted to turn to drugs in the first place. It is normal for us to empathize with a loved one who is suffering depression and living with them may even be more challenging. Helping someone with drug addiction and depression needs one to be able to support that person which can be done in several ways, such as:

Listening and learning

Lending an ear is one of the idiomatic expressions that would completely describe and explain this. Listening to a person suffering from depression is very hard because sometimes the stories and tales are just the same.

Set boundaries.

If your loved one is living under the same roof, you should set rules and regulations that would help them recover from their addiction. This means that if you do not feel comfortable with drugs or alcohol in your house, you establish that rule and stick to it. It also might involve financial and other household boundaries.

Organize an intervention.

Having a third-party intervention would also be trying to seek the help of professional. A trained psychologist or psychiatrist can handle sensitive situations better. You can turn to professional interventionist not because you refuse to help your loved ones. But rather you want to provide the best possible help you can provide. Sometimes, having an intervention can be proved a powerful factor to change the person.

Be supportive and encouraging.

Provide all support that you can give to your loved one with an addiction. This means that you support them in their decision to change. When your loved one suffering from addiction decided to change, half of the battle has been won. Their decision to change serves as one of the key factors to help a person recover from addiction and depression. But bear in mind that that the person involved with addiction and depression is still in charge of their own recovery. No matter hoe supportive or how much encouragement you provide, they are the ones making the decision. It's important to show continued to support and to have an open heart. Let them know that your concern comes from a place of love. Make them feel the best encouragement and support you can give the person. You should understand that depression and drug addiction acts similarly. As mentioned earlier, a depressed person would have a bigger chance of turning into drug use since one of the misconceptions and believe in taking drugs is that it alleviates you and makes you forget your problem or whatever is causing your depression. Knowing this should give us the edge in conquering and fighting the huge problem of drug addiction. If your loved one approaches you and asks for your help regarding his drug addiction problem, the first thing that you must do is to convince them to get an evaluation from a doctor. Having themselves evaluated by a physician or doctor would allow you to determine how deep their addiction problem is. You may also try to convince them to seek the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist who would walk them through their journey and help them conquer the roadblocks in the life that led them to their addiction in the first place. There are a lot of organizations and clinics that offer treatment for drug addiction and depression but you should remember that each treatment program is tailored to the person or patient’s need. Therefore, you would need to encourage your friend or loved one to seek professional help. If they are afraid of what others would think of them, just sell to them the good points of having a drug-free life. It takes a lot of courage to seek help from a drug problem and if your friend or a loved one has trusted you with this problem, we must do all our best to understand, and extend a hand to them. There are several drug rehabilitation centers that provide medication to the patient which helps alleviate their depression. It is expected though that every person who has been using drugs and is heavily addicted to it will exhibit withdrawal symptoms within a few days or sometimes, even longer. Along with the drugs that they take to alleviate their depression, they are also being given a nutritional diet, and exercise that would eliminate all traces of drugs in the patient’s body. Aside from medicines, a nutritional diet, and exercise, patients are also provided with mental assistance or therapy. Once a person becomes aware that the cause of their drug addiction is depression and other traumatic experiences in their life, they would soon realize that addiction is something that can be stopped and the only thing that would hinder them from stopping is themselves. Detox of South Florida works to provide educational articles to help those who are suffering with addiction, to make the change to living an addiction free life. Find help from this area and overcome drug addiction. Check out this West Palm Beach Playlist [button link="tel:863-623-4923" type="big" color="green" newwindow="yes"] Call Now![/button]

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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy: Don’t Wait For It To Happen

Health complications arise if we drink alcohol excessively. It can lead to liver problems and in the worst-case scenario; the habit can bring highly destructive impacts on the heart.

One of the many health problems in excessive drinking is alcoholic cardiomyopathy. An individual may inherit the disease. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy oftentimes progresses to its advanced stage even before the symptoms start to become noticeable. While an individual may get the disease even if he or she is not alcoholic at all, avoiding alcohol abuse is one of the most effective ways of preventing this heart problem.

The Function of the Heart

For anyone to survive, it is vital to have a functioning heart. The heart pumps to make the blood flow and reach every single part of the body. Blood must be distributed throughout the body by means of a network of tubes that can be stretched into 60,000 miles if it is laid end to end.

Also, the organ consists of four chambers necessary to pump blood and each chamber has its own role in the circulatory system. Its size can be compared to a human fist weighing approximately 7-15 ounces. If the pathway of the blood is constricted or blocked, the whole body is definitely in great danger.

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy: The Cause

If you drink too much, alcoholic cardiomyopathy may develop because alcohol is considered a toxin. By having a large dose of this toxin, damages to the body organs are imminent. One of the most noticeable signs that can be encountered is the enlargement of the heart. Eventually, its muscle will begin to get thin. If the case of alcoholic cardiomyopathy gets worse, it will lead to lethal arrhythmias or congestive heart failure.

Symptoms of alcoholic cardiomyopathy

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy can be asymptomatic. It only means that the symptoms cannot be seen easily until it has already progressed to the end stage, which is heart failure. However, if the symptoms are manifested prominently, it is highly advised that a physician should be seen immediately. The set of symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen legs, feet, and ankles
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Weakness
  • Rapid, irregular pulse
  • A cough with pink mucus
  • Change in urine output

How to Deal with Alcohol Addiction?

Most individuals who are experiencing alcoholic cardiomyopathy are physically and mentally dependent on alcohol. While it is a big struggle for these individuals to deal with alcohol addiction, their failure to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages can lead to death. Hence, the support of others is extremely necessary to help them go through their alcohol addiction Therapy. There are several available treatment options, which include the following:

  1. Rehabilitation: It will provide the individuals an avenue to stay sober and safely escape their addiction to alcohol.
  2. Alcoholics Anonymous and Other Recovery Fellowships: They can provide a program to the individual that can be used to establish a strong sobriety foundation.
  3. Addiction Therapist: The professional can help the individual deal with personal issues and aid in the appropriate path for recovery.

Alcohol addiction must end right away to lessen the possibility of developing serious complications such as alcoholic cardiomyopathy. If not treated immediately, it can put an alcoholic’s life in great danger.

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Good Alcoholic Drinks: A Big NO! For Recovering Alcoholics, Ever

If you think that quitting on alcohol is like a sprint, it is not; it is like a marathon. After a long time of sobriety, it could appear as if you can begin drinking alcohol socially once more. It may not seem like a problem to have a beer or a couple more with your friends; however, if you have been an alcoholic before, a single drink can be equivalent to losing all the years of progress you have been making to maintain a sober life.

Should an alcoholic be drinking again after they have gained sobriety?

NO, regardless of whether it is good alcoholic drinks or not. Remember that it took you a very long time to recover from alcoholism and it is only wise to completely avoid alcohol.

Studies show that a single drink may lead you back to the path of more and more drinking, once again.

It could be quite tempting to drink alcohol as you see others successfully able to drink alcohol in moderation. Then you think to yourself that since you have proven that you can quit drinking, then a single drink cannot possibly do you any harm, right? Unfortunately, those who have a history of alcoholism cannot and should not have the liberty to drink, even in moderation.

When can recovering alcoholics drink after getting treatment?

A lot of recovering alcoholics often think about, why are medical professionals advising them to avoid alcohol completely? It is not that gulping a single drink with alcohol can hurt you, but that a single drink more often than not leads to a second, then a third. Before you know it, you have already fallen into the alcoholism trap once more. It will be easier to drink once again; however, this is completely opposite of what you have been trying to work hard for - your sobriety - so, it is not worth taking the risk at all. Research also reveals that abstinence from alcohol may be the best thing to do to avoid falling into a relapse. Although you should not be ashamed if you relapse as it happens to a lot of individuals, you should do best to avoid that from happening to you. The chances of you suffering a relapse are close to zero if you do not indulge at all.

Should a recovering alcoholic be allowed to drink once more?

Some people oppose the idea of not permitting recovering alcoholics to drink again. They believe that the approach to abstinence is not realistic; instead, it becomes a punishment to those suffering from the disease. Such people claim that abstinence can create a stigma on the recovering alcoholic as most will stand out at social events. There is a certain truth in the claim as it could be very difficult to explain your situation to others and why you are not drinking; however, when you think of your sobriety being at stake, you will be able to overcome those challenges. You can relapse to problem drinking any time you take in one or two drinks socially that's likely to become 8 or 9. When you finally realize that you really can't moderate your drinking, your old habits may have sunk in already. Again your social, work and personal relationships suffer and you experience the negative impact of alcohol on your health. Once more, you will have to restart your path to recovery. Check out this video from Detox of South Florida for more information and resources.   [button link="tel:863-623-4923" type="big" color="green" newwindow="yes"] Call Now![/button]

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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Sweet Alcoholic Drinks: Get Away From The 10 Most Nasty Alcoholic Drinks

You may have known that cocktails are very easy to consume, coming in sweet flavors and pretty colors. However, do not let the beauty of the beverage fool you. Such drinks generally contain loads of alcohol and if you drink too much of it, you can soon have your head spinning and things can turn bad.

  • Men should not drink over 3-4 units of alcohol regularly every day.
  • Women should not drink over 2-3 units of alcohol regularly each day.
  • A unit of alcohol is equivalent to a 25 ml measure of spirits.

Here are 10 cocktails that are mixed with hardly any mixers but loads of high-proof alcohol. All of them are certain to wipe out even the hardest drinkers. From the Jungle Juice and Negroni to the Sazerac and Death In The Afternoon, learn about the top 10 most alcoholic drinks all over the world.


The smooth and fruity cocktail was previously served hot. This drink was created back in 1930 by the Hollywood restaurateur Donn Beach. The ingredients of the Zombie were heavily top secret.

The original recipe was later published in the book of drinks “Sippin’ Safari” revealing that the Zombie is made of 3 kinds of rum, falernum, lime juice, Pernod, Angostrura bitter, and grenadine. Together with the ingredients mentioned are the so-called “Don’s Mix,” which is a mix of grapefruit juice and cinnamon syrup.

The Zombie is very potent that Don The Beachcomber limits drinkers to only 2 per individual. It contains 3 types of rum with 40% ABV, Pernod with 40% ABV, and Angostura bitters with 44.7% ABV.

Death In The Afternoon

The classic concoction of absinthe and champagne is truly a luxe cocktail and is the invention of Ernest Hemingway; hence, the other name Hemingway Champagne.

Death In The Afternoon is quite simple to make. The original recipe can be found in the 1935 cocktail book with Hemingway himself contributing to it. You need to pour a jigger absinthe into 1 glass of champagne and add in iced champagne to the mix until you attain its correct opalescent milkiness.

Hemingway recommends drinkers to drink 3-5 of it slowly. Death In The Afternoon is rare on menus but you can order them from a bartender. It contains champagne with 12% ABV and absinthe with 45% ABV.

Jungle Juice

The highly alcoholic drink is made with fresh fruits that need to be steeped overnight in a bottle filled with grain alcohol prior to being served like a punch to drinkers. The ingredients for this drink is inspired by Stephen Kittredge Cunningham’s “The Bartender’s Black Book.”

In order to decrease the alcoholic content of the Jungle Juice, you can add in some mixers like lemonade. According to connoisseurs, when the Jungle Juice is made with precision, it won’t taste like alcohol. However, it contains a liter of grain alcohol with 95% ABV.

Aunt Roberta

The drink is considered as one of the strongest cocktails all over the world because it is loaded with 100% full alcohol and no mixers. The recipe calls for a mix of absinthe, gin, vodka, blackberry liquor, and brandy that are mixed in equal parts with a very strong drink to pack a punch.

Folklore reveals that the Aunt Roberta was invented by a mixed-race daughter of one slave owner in the 1800s in Alabama. The girl whose name was Roberta was rumored to have fled from her abusive home and later turned to prostitution. Roberta then moved to the moonshine business and sold the drink to drinkers who wanted to drown out their sorrows.

Aunt Roberta contains gin with 40% ABV, vodka with 40% ABV, brandy with 40% ABV, blackberry liquor with 40% ABV, and absinthe with 45% ABV.


There are several ways you can make Sazerac, but the best recipe is written in “The Bartender’s Black Book.” This recipe calls for 2-4 ounces of the Peychaud’s Bitters, 2 ounces of rye whiskey, and a cube of sugar.

What elevates this drink is a coating of absinthe on the insides of a chilled glass, adding extra potency to it. The higher the ABV of the whiskey used, the more lethal this concoction becomes. Sazerac contains rye whiskey with 80% ABV.


The typical after-dinner drink calls for a double shot of vodka mixed with espresso powder, sugar, and lemon. To drink the Russian Nicolashka, first place some lemon in your mouth then sugar, coffee, and finally a shot of vodka. The Russians keep the mixture in their mouth and slowly chew on it before swallowing and then following up with a second shot of vodka quickly after.

The Nicolashka appears to be a rather simple drink. However, it is very strong with drinkers claiming that sustaining the alcohol in your mouth can make your body absorb it faster. In fact, it was previously revealed to get quickly into your blood stream.

While the booze itself is known to slow down circulation, the caffeine from coffee and the vitamin C from lemon along with sugar increases blood circulation, allowing alcohol to reach your brain very quickly. Nicolashka contains vodka with 40% ABV and you need to take 2 shots of it.

Caribou Lou

The cocktail is surprisingly a pleasant drink to the taste. It contains 151 rum, Malibu, and pineapple juice. The Caribou Lou is not really the most alcoholic cocktail there is but it is very easy to drink. What makes it dangerous is that you can slug in a few drinks without even realizing it.

151 rum contains a high ABV which sneaks up on you when you mix it with pineapple juice. You can get drunk even before you know it. Caribou Lou contains Malibu with 35% ABV and 151 Rum with 75.5% ABV.

Bone Dry Martini

The drink is among the oldest cocktails in the world. The martini is made with either vodka or gin along with vermouth, which is a fortified wine with low ABV. If you remove the vermouth from this mix, it will be bone dry. It is among the most alcoholic cocktails you can have that is loaded with 100% ABV.

The cocktail is sometimes called Pass the Bottle. Bone Dry Martini contains gin with 40% ABV and vodka with 40% ABV.


The cocktail is a classic Italian drink concocted from gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari. The Negroni is a mind-blowing cocktail, which can get your head spinning if you consume more than a glass.

The only non-alcoholic substance in this drink is the orange garnish which is added for a zesty zing to its bitter taste. Negroni contains vermouth with 15% ABV, Campari with 25% ABV and gin with 40% ABV.

Long Island Ice Tea

The sour mix and a helping of Cola make this college favorite a hidden danger. The Long Island Ice Tea is a mixture of 5 kinds of alcohol that is gin, tequila, rum, triple sec, and vodka. This very alcoholic drink is sweetened with soda and a sour mix made from an equal part of sugar syrup and lemon juice.

Long Island Ice Tea contains Triple sec with 40% ABV, rum with 40% ABV, Tequila with 40% ABV, vodka with 40% ABV, and gin with 40% ABV.


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How Cocaine is Made | Okeechobee

Cocaine tops the list as the most commonly abused illegal drug in the United States, after marijuana and heroin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  Overdose from cocaine consists of about 10% of the total admission in public-funded abuse treatment programs. However, in a study which the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime conducted, cocaine is one of the most expensive illegal drugs in the black market. In a 2015 Global Drug Survey, a gram of cocaine cost about 80 USD. This will make you wonder what cocaine is made of and how it is made to yield this kind of amount in the market. Before delving yourself in this kind of information, you must first know what cocaine is.


Cocaine is primarily made of extract from coca leaves, native to South America. But it can also contain several ingredients like cornstarch, talcum powder, powdered milk and other substances once it is diluted or “cut.” This drug can over stimulate the central nervous system and contains anesthetic properties.  For hundreds of years, South American people use the coca leaves whenever they need an energy boost. The cocaine plant is relatively harmless but once chemically synthesized it can produce short- and long-term dangerous effects.  Street names of cocaine include Crack, Rock, Coke, Snow, Candy, Blow, Flake and Charlie.

How is Cocaine Made?

After marijuana, cocaine is the most widespread drug in the US but few people understand where it comes from. To make just a kilo of cocaine, coca farmers need to hand pick 1,000 kilos of coca leaves. After harvesting the leaves, they laid it out under the sun. Famers will let the leaves dry in the sun for about half to full day. The leaves will somewhat dry out and ready for the next step. There are two ways to extract cocaine from the basic coca leaf plant, using solvents or using acid-based chemicals.

Cocaine extraction using solvents

Once the leaves are dried out, it is finely chopped and dusted with lime or carbonate salt along with a small amount of water. Some manufacturers will use a weed-whacker to complete this process. Some people may just do it by hand. After the leaves have been cut, makers will sprinkle a small amount of cement powder.  Then ammonia and lime are added to the leaves. Next, they will spray diesel or kerosene over the leaves and strongly stirred up for three days. The process will remove the cocaine from the leaves and into the liquid mixture. The makers may use a washing machine or cement mixer while some poor manufacturers will just do it by hand. The ingredients will help separate cocaine from the leaves.  Manufacturers will heat the liquid to eliminate any wax from the coca leaves. The mixture will then be filtered to separate cocaine from the leafy concoctions.  Initially, the mixture will look like a large amount of liquid mixture. Makers will then add sulfuric acid and re-mix it again. This will transform the cocaine free base to cocaine sulfate. Manufacturers or makers will let the mixture sit for some time. During this process, cocaine sulfate will separate from the mixture. After the separation process, makers will then add lime or caustic soda. This will neutralize the sulfuric acid; the by-product of the chemical is a sticky yellow solid mixture. Again, this paste is dried then package and shipped to another location for additional handling and extraction.

Cocaine paste extraction using acid

Another procedure to make cocaine is using acid-based chemicals to extract the drug.  Makers pour the leaves of the coca plant in a container with dilutes sulfuric acid. Makers need to work exuberantly to soften the mixture which usually lasts for about 2 hours. The acid in the container will transform the leaves to cocaine sulfate. To remove unnecessary waxy deposit, makers will drain the chemical and then heated. The rest of the mixture will undergo filtration process to remove any remaining plant residues. Lime or carbonated chemicals are added to the mixture, makers stirred the ingredients vigorously. The result of the concoction is called coca paste. Makers will then add kerosene and re-filter the concoction for further sulfuric acid treatment.

From ‘paste’ to Street Cocaine

After the coca extraction process, it needs further processing to change the mixture from chemical concoction to an ingestible substance. The mixture will undergo purification process, in which it is dissolved in a small amount of diluted sulfuric acid. Next, an exact measurement of potassium permanganate is added to the mixture. As a potent oxidizing agent, it removes the impurities in the coca paste. It even changes the color of the paste from a brown-yellowish color to an almost translucent white color.  The translucent, acidic solution by-product is then filtered and treated with the chemical ammonia to neutralize the acid. Before it reaches the black market, the ‘raw’ cocaine is further dried to transform it into cocaine hydrochloride. The final result is the street product that circulated the black market with crystal-like properties that produce a numbing effect. In order for the users to inject cocaine, it must be water soluble. If not, the drug will just form in clumps and can lead to cardiac arrest. As a salt, users can both inject and snort cocaine which the body can easily absorb.

Changing Cocaine to Crack Cocaine

Considered as the most powerful form of cocaine, crack cocaine produces a very powerful high. With regular abuse, it is often associated with intense energy, hyperactivity, aggression, and even paranoia. Most people convert hydrochloride into a solid substance of freebase cocaine. To produced crack cocaine, makers will add sodium bicarbonate or ammonia. In this form, users commonly heat the drug and smoke it using glass pipe and inhaling the smoke or vapor. Detox of South Florida is committed to providing educational articles to help those who are struggling with addiction, to make the change to living an addiction free life. Get help from the nearest rehab and detox center in Okeechobee. Check out this playlist for more help.   [button link="tel:863-623-4923" type="big" color="green" newwindow="yes"] Call Now![/button]

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