Most people today are not as aware of the dangers of cocaine as they might have been in the past. Cocaine use has gone down significantly since its peak in 1982. At that time, the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse revealed that 10.4 million Americans reported they had used cocaine. Between then and 2007, cocaine use dropped to 2.1 million Americans. And it has continued to decrease today.
However, most people don’t know that cocaine was used in a mild form among those in South America for thousands of years. And it was used in various forms of medication in the United States. In fact, for a short time, the popular soda Coca Cola had trace amounts of cocaine. However, since the 1914 Harrison Narcotic Act, the drug has been banned and illegal to use. And for good reason.
Significant Risks That Come With Regular Cocaine Use Include:
- Vascular problems
- Liver damage
- psychological concerns
- Pregnancy complications
- Infectious disease
- Nasal problems
- and Death
Cocaine is made from the coca bushes which mostly grow in Peru and Bolivia. They are processed into a white powder and acts as a stimulant when ingested. Because of the intense stimulation cocaine creates, it has been sometimes called “blow” or “Columbian marching powder”.
Cocaine is inhaled through the nose or injected into the body. Both of these methods bring the stimulant directly into the bloodstream, producing an immediate high that can last 10 to 30 minutes. It’s common for street dealers of cocaine to combine the drug with cornstarch, talcum powder, sugar or other white substances as a means to dilute it as well as to have more to sell.
When taken into the bloodstream, cocaine will eventually reach the brain. When this happens, there are large amounts of dopamine that are released. This creates the euphoria that makes the drug so popular and addictive. In addition to experiencing the euphoric high, cocaine creates feelings of alertness, paranoia, nervousness, invincibility, and overly energized.
What Happens With Continued Use?
However, at the same time, these feelings can also create feelings of depression when the drug begins to wear off. With consistent use, large amounts of cocaine can kill the neurons in the brain, creating lasting changes in the brain long after an addiction ends.
The common experience of wanting to make the high last and needing more and more amounts of cocaine to feel the same high is the beginning characteristic of addiction. Although the typical cocaine high lasts only a brief time, some people become so lured by it that they will continue to keep themselves high (continuing to ingest cocaine) for hours or days at a time.
Typically, someone who is high on will have dilated pupils along with behavior that appears frenetic, nervous, or overly excited. They might also be snorting frequently or rubbing their nose a lot.
Get Support if Your Struggling
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction or abuse of cocaine, it’s wise to reach out for support. Too much cocaine can cause life-changing health concerns, and might even lead to death. Contact a mental health provider or a physician for support.
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