Basuco: Colombia’s Coca PasteAlyssa
Cocaine and other illicit drugs are often made in foreign labs. Colombia is one of the most common countries in which these drugs are produced and distributed, especially cocaine. Otherwise known as crack or coke, cocaine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that increases nerve activity in the brain while impacting neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Different variations of this drug exist, including a variation called basuco. Our treatment center Lake Worth has done some digging and is sharing the truth behind Colombia’s coca paste.
What Is Basuco in Colombia?
Also known as bazuco, coca paste, paso, and oxi, basuco is a mixture of cocaine, brick dust, and chalk. It’s made from the base or crude extract of the coca leaf, which contains cocaine sulfate along with other coca alkaloids. In addition to these alkaloids, some common basuco ingredients include benzoic acid, ethanol, lead, sulfuric acid, ether, chloroform, and kerosene. The term “basuco” is derived from the Spanish word for trash (basura), which means “dirty trash” and refers to the paste left at the bottom of a barrel after making cocaine. Like crack sold in the United States, basuco can be smoked, but unlike crack, basuco is unrefined and unpurified, making it one of the most toxic drugs on the market.
The use of basuco or coca paste began in the early 1970s in countries like Peru and Bolivia. Eventually, the drug spread to Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and even some Mexican cities that border the U.S. nowadays. Cocaine paste is most common in Colombia, the world’s second-biggest cocaine producer after Peru. People use basuco by smoking it, either rolled like a cigarette with tobacco or marijuana or more commonly from self-made pipes. These pipes are usually PVC, so not only do users inhale basuco, but also the toxic chemicals from the plastic. Although basuco is most commonly used in Colombia and other Spanish countries, Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches offers cocaine detox for those who are addicted to coke and any other of its variations.
Cocaine paste or basuco works similarly to cocaine sold in the U.S., but the major difference is that it’s much more potent. As a stimulant, basuco creates a high that is characterized by increased energy, alertness, talkativeness, sociability, and confidence. In addition to mood, basuco can also affect physiological functions like heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. Basuco is believed to work similarly to cocaine by preventing the reuptake of dopamine in the brain, flooding the CNS, producing euphoria, and activating the reward system.
Neurons communicate via neurotransmitters or chemical messengers like dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is a chemical that enables neurons in the brain to communicate and control movement. It also controls things like reward, pleasure, and compulsion. Most drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and basuco, affect dopamine levels to produce euphoria and other side effects. Normally, neurons send messages via dopamine and other chemicals where it binds to proteins called dopamine receptors in the receiving neuron. Then, another protein called a transporter reabsorbs or recycles any excess dopamine that remains in the synapse or space between two neurons.
Basuco affects the brain by preventing transporters from reabsorbing dopamine, causing the chemical to build up. This leads to side effects like a rush of happiness and activating the reward system, which is similar to cocaine high effects.
Some other common basuco side effects include:
- Increased alertness and energy
- Increased talkativeness
- Hypersensitivity to light, sound, and touch
- Decreased appetite
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Bizarre, erratic, or violent behavior
- Irritability and anxiety
- Muscle twitching
Although little is known about the basuco drug, due to its similarity to cocaine, it’s safe to say that it can also produce similar long-term effects. Some possible long-term side effects of basuco use include disturbances in heart rhythm, heart attacks, headaches, seizures, strokes, and coma. You can also overdose on basuco. Some possible symptoms of a basuco overdose may include elevated heart rate, rise in body temperature (hyperthermia), chest pains, tremors, nausea, and/or vomiting.
Whether you’re addicted to Colombia’s coca paste or any other drug of abuse, we can help. Call BHOPB at 561-220-3981 for more information about our cocaine addiction treatment and other methods of addiction treatment in Palm Beach.