3.6 Cocaine, freebase cocaine and crack see also 4.6

"A brain loaded with cocaine is like an crazy pinball machine, whose blue and red lamps flash on and off in an electric orgasm." William Burroughs, 'Naked Lunch', 1951).

Cocaine comes from the coca plant which grows in the South-American Andes mountains. Chewing coca-leaves is an ancient custom of the Incas against fatigue and altitude sickness. It only turns into cocaine after a chemical process. The white crystalline powder can also be turned into freebase cocaine and crack. Crack is cooked cocaine cut with baking soda. Freebase cocaine is cooked pure cocaine.

How is cocaine used?

Cocaine is primarily sniffed but can also be injected. With sniffing, the cocaine is laid out in a little line and through a snort pipe inhaled into the nostrils. Crack and freebase cocaine are 'chased', cl or smoked. With 'chasing the dragon', the drug is placed on a piece of aluminium foil and heated. The vapour is inhaled into the mouth through a pipe. With freebasing, the cooked cocaine is smoked in a crack pipe or a water pipe. Smoking has the advantage that all of the active substances are inhaled with several deep breaths. A water pipe compensates for the heat of the vaporised material. The flash derived from smoking on foil is less intense than that from freebasing.

How does cocaine work?

When sniffed, cocaine takes effect within several minutes. The effects last for approximately 30 minutes. Cocaine gives energy, makes people talkative and alert and is sexually stimulating. The
effects of crack and freebase cocaine are much more explosive. The 'rush' (an intensely stimulating effect) only lasts for several minutes.

How can you tell cocaine use in prison?

Users react energetically and act speedy. Speed of movement often is increased and in a discussion, coke users often argue more intensely than usual. Although cocaine does not create aggression as such, a feeling of aggression can be intensified.

'Crystal clear 'psychoanalysis

Cocaine is coupled with a strong urge to analyse things. Coincidence or not, the founder of the famous psychoanalysis the psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud from Vienna, Austria - was a fervent user of the white crystalline powder.