Important Things to Know About Cocaine Abuse
Cocaine abuse gets a sleek reputation as a drug used by the rich, famous and powerful. It’s a drug that delivers a fast and powerful high, leaving the addict wanting more and in higher quantities each time they use. Because cocaine is a stimulant, it has extremely negative consequences on the user, mentally, physically and emotionally. Here are some of the ways that cocaine abuse can be extremely detrimental for an addict.
Information and Statistics on Cocaine Abuse
Cocaine is the second most popular and most trafficked drug in the world. Massive quantities of Cocaine have been seized in North and South America, where it’s the second most-used illegal drug. Researchers estimate that 7.5 million people have used cocaine in their lifetime in the United States. As many as 1.5 million have used cocaine in just the past month. In 2005, there were almost 450,000 emergency room visits that involved cocaine.
Cocaine is made from plants, or may be synthetically duplicated in a controlled environment. It is used seldomly for medical purposes and is usually taken as a local anesthetic. Its primary use is an illegal narcotic that gives a rush of energy and false sense of well-being to the user.
How Cocaine Affects the Body
As is easy to see from these statistics, many people abuse cocaine — most of whom begin at a very young age. While young people using cocaine may not be concerned with the long-term consequences of taking the drug, they also may not be aware of the negative effect is has internally on their bodies
- Heart problems, especially if any undiagnosed issues may already exist
- Vertigo and dizziness
- Irreversible heart and cardiovascular problems
- Muscle spasms and tremors
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
Besides the physical damage that cocaine abuse causes, it also creates lasting damage on a person’s personal and professional life. A cocaine habit can prove so expensive that the individual may be unable to afford things, like bills. As a result, the cocaine addict may lose their home or job, which can be extremely detrimental to any person already struggling with an addiction.
Hard narcotics like cocaine tend to monopolize a person’s life, not leaving room for much else. They can destroy friendships and relationships. Addicts often try to hide the true extent of the addiction from even those closest to them. The discovery of an addiction by a family member or spouse can cause irreparable damage, especially if the cocaine addict has been lying about it. Addicts also often have to supplement their income by stealing from others in order to get a gratifying amount of the drug they crave, which can cause still more damage.
In 2001, more than 4,500 in the U.S. died directly as a result of cocaine overdoses. Males are usually more prone to suffering from a cocaine OD, but it happens to both men and women. Unless they seek medical treatment immediately, an individual suffering from a cocaine overdose may experience any of the following:
- Cardiac Arrest
- Respiratory Arrest
- Sudden Death
Cocaine overdose typically occurs when consumed in tandem with another substance, like alcohol. The combination of the two actually produces a lethal effect known as cocaethylene. When an individual ingests cocaine and alcohol simultaneously, Cocaethylene forms in the liver. It can be poisonous because the body’s internal filtration system simply can’t keep up flushing toxins out of the body fast enough.
The presence of cocaethylene in the body can actually produce an even greater feeling of euphoria than cocaine alone, which may sound great until you take into account the potentially deadly other things that are happening in your body simultaneously.
Unfortunately, when a person’s body attempts to process multiple toxic substances through the liver, it can become overwhelmed, causing the liver and the body as a whole to shut down. Researchers estimate that the toxicity of cocaethylene is approximately 30% higher than cocaine on its own. Many top researchers believe that cocaethylene is connected to a vast majority of heart attack deaths.
Cocaine and Excessive Alcohol Use
Another downfall of cocaine abuse is that it can lead to prolonged sessions of drinking. The behavior known as binge drinking causes a false sense of energy to the person experiencing the drug. Binge drinking alone causes a lot of problems, like poor health, accidents, injuries, alcohol poisoning, cardiovascular damage, and liver damage – just to name a few.
The bottom line is that cocaine is a dangerous drug, whether consumed by itself or mixed with any other substance. If you think you or a friend might have an addiction to cocaine, seek help before irreversible damage is done.