Deadly Drug Combos: Cocaine and Ecstasy

Deadly Drug Combo Cocaine and Ecstasy

Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, is a synthetic as well as psychoactive drug that is similar to amphetamines and hallucinogens. Specifically in the case of hallucinogens: mescaline. It produces feelings of euphoria, energy, emotional warmth, and empathy towards others and distortions in sense as well as the perception of time.

Ecstasy gained its popularity among white adolescents and young adults within the nightclub scene or at raves. Today, ecstasy has a much broader range of users and ethnicities.

So what is it about ecstasy that is a deadly drug?

Ecstasy and the brain:

Ecstasy acts by increasing the activity of the brain. Which activity specifically? Ecstasy increases the activity of three neurotransmitters that make you feel good: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Ecstasy directly and indirectly releases large amounts of serotonin. Serotonin helps functions such as appetite and sleep. Serotonin also triggers the release of hormones such as oxytocin (the chemical that puts butterflies in your stomach) and vasopressin (trust chemical). This is most likely why when people take ecstasy they feel so close to other people. The surge in serotonin though has a fine print. Once the ecstasy depletes the brain of this chemical it has terrible aftereffects that include confusion, depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.

Ecstasy and the body:

Ecstasy also has many other effects on the physical body. Ecstasy because it is similar to stimulants increases the heart rate and blood pressure. This is risky for anyone with heart or blood pressure issues. Ecstasy can also cause muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, chills and sweating. Ecstasy also inhibits the body’s ability to regulate its temperature which can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature (pretty much having a fever without having a fever). This “fever” can result in liver, kidney, or cardiovascular failure or even death.

So what is about cocaine that is a deadly drug?

Cocaine is a powerful and addictive stimulant that is made from the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine produces short-term euphoria, energy, and talkativeness. The intensity and duration of cocaine’s pleasurable effects depend on the way it is used. Injecting or smoking cocaine delivers the drug rapidly into the bloodstream and brain, producing a quicker and stronger but shorter-lasting high than snorting.

Cocaine and the brain:

Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain circuits regulating pleasure and movement. Normally, dopamine is released by neurons in these circuits in response to potential rewards (like the smell of good food) and then recycled back into the cell that released it, thus shutting off the signal between neurons. Cocaine prevents the dopamine from being recycled, causing excessive amounts to build up in the synapse, or junction between neurons. This amplifies the dopamine signal and ultimately disrupts normal brain communication. It is this flood of dopamine that causes cocaine’s characteristic high.

Cocaine and the body:

Cocaine affects the physical body in a variety of ways too. It constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, and increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Because cocaine tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished as well. Most seriously, people who use cocaine can suffer heart attacks or strokes, which may cause sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of the heart stopping (cardiac arrest) followed by an arrest of breathing.

So what is about this deadly drug combo: cocaine and ecstasy? Can you answer that question after reading about both drugs?

Cocaine and ecstasy act very similar when it comes to their effects on blood pressure and the body’s ability to regulate temperature. This is because they are both stimulants. Mixing cocaine and ecstasy can easily and quickly lead to a rise in blood pressure and body temp to create a possible lethal situation. Not only that, but both cause you to sweat a lot etc. Ecstasy raises the body temperature and also makes you want to dance. This is like the worst combination possible but then you add in cocaine which also raises blood pressure, restricts blood vessels, and increases heart rate even more and Tada!

You have an extremely deadly combo. Taking the two, especially at a club or rave, is pretty much asking to have a stroke, go into cardiac arrest, overheat or dehydrate (all of which by the way can be fatal if they become severe enough or you don’t get help). Not only are cocaine and ecstasy a deadly drug combo though because of their individual effects they also both come with a no guarantee, guaranteed. This means they come with no guarantee of being all cocaine or all ecstasy. Both drugs are frequently cut with something else and this means there is the possibility of mixing two other unknown substances or three or four or god knows what. Which is just plain dangerous.

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Sources:

http://www.thefix.com/content/drugs-cocktails-kill-combinations90237

http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine

http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/mdma-ecstasy