Cocaine Addiction

IMG_0602Cocaine is a highly addictive illicit substance that is mostly used as a recreational drug. Cocaine is a stimulant which means that the effects of the drug increases communication between the brain and the nervous and circulatory systems causing alertness, euphoria and pronounced increases in energy. Cocaine use is highly addictive and associated with many negative effects such as drug abuse, cocaine addiction, overdose, and even death.

The statistics on cocaine are stark. Incredibly addictive and readily available, it is the second most trafficked illegal drug in the world. As of 2008, 15% of the United States population reported trying cocaine at least once in their life with 6 percent of high school seniors reporting using it in the last year. The good news is that cocaine use is on a general decline in the United States: in 2008 the number of regular cocaine users was approximately 2 million. In 2013 the number was 1.5 million. The bad news is that number is still shockingly high and there is plenty of work to be done to eradicate this drug and all the life-ruining effects that come with it.

Common Slang Terms for Cocaine:

  • Coke
  • Blow
  • Snow
  • Nose-Candy
  • Yayo
  • C
  • Rail
  • Powder
  • Sugar

Cocaine is a fine white powdery substance that is typically snorted, although it can be injected or smoked in some variants like crack-cocaine. Cocaine is harvested from the coca plant which is found in South America; primarily high in the Andes Mountains. There it had traditionally been chewed by natives as a way to help with the high mountain altitude. Based on archeological records such as relics and art of the time, the use of coca leaves dates as far back as the 6th century.

It wasn’t until nearly a millennium and a half later in the 1800s when cocaine reached Europe and scientists learned how to better separate the cocaine from the coca leaf that cocaine began to be marketed as something to take recreationally. It was put into a wine called the Vin Mariani, after the chemist Angelo Mariani who invented the concoction, and became incredibly popular.

Following this, various beverage and pharmaceutical companies began incorporating cocaine into their products. Parke-Davis began selling a cocaine-infused tonic and, perhaps most famously, pharmacist John Pemberton began selling Coca Cola which contained a liberal amount of cocaine in the original formula.

Cocaine was prescribed regularly as a medicine. Notoriously, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud was an advocate of the drug and regularly recommended it to not only his patients but his romantic partners and closest friends. One such friend was Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow, a fellow doctor who had developed a debilitating opium addiction. Freud prescribed cocaine as a way to help Fleischl-Marxow overcome his addiction, but instead he became even more addicted to cocaine so much so that he would regularly hallucinate snakes slithering over his body. He died soon after, at the age of 45, and Freud felt such guilt over the death of his friend that he entirely reversed his opinion of what he had once called a “magical substance.”

 

Over time stories like this and many others revealed cocaine’s destructive and addictive attributes to society. People began to get sick, deteriorate, and be unable to live without chronically ingesting cocaine. In short, they were addicted. By 1912 there were 5000 cocaine related deaths annually and in 1914 under the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act the substance was finally banned in the United States.

From that time until the late 1970s cocaine remained an obscure drug until it returned in vogue as a stylish and expensive drug of the rich and famous. Various South American drug cartels provided the supply to eager Americans and a cycle of violence and addiction ensued.

In the mid-1980s a derivative of cocaine appeared on the streets known as crack-cocaine or simply “crack.” Named after the crackling sound that is produced when smoked, crack is a free-base form of cocaine that is chemically altered with baking soda to produce a “rock” that is then smoked. The vapor is inhaled through the lungs and distributed into the circulatory system. This amplifies the normal effects of cocaine and amplifies the addictive aspect and provides a much quicker but shorter high followed by a steep crash and craving for more cocaine.

Common Slang for Crack-Cocaine:

  • Crack
  • Rock
  • Gravel
  • Nuggets
  • Jelly-Beans
  • Bones

Not only is cocaine infamously addictive but the effects of cocaine addiction are equally devastating. Cocaine is a nefarious drug that ravishes the body and creates a physical and mental dependency for the drug. The body begins to build a tolerance and more and more of the drug is needed with each use to feel “normal.” This creates a dangerous vicious cycle that if left untreated will spiral out of control.

Immediately after use, cocaine activates the ‘flight or fight’ response in the brain which increases blood-pressure, widens the breathing tube, and narrows blood vessels. This leads to the long term effects that happen after chronic cocaine usage.

Over time this response will wreak havoc on the body. This effect strains the heart, brain, and lungs by pushing them toward their limit until they can no longer be pushed. Cardiovascular failure usually follows which can lead to death.

Long-term effects of Cocaine Addiction:

  • Accelerated deterioration of the brain
  • Inability to “feel” emotions without the use of the drug
  • Depression
  • Undue aggression and anger
  • Heart problems such as irregular heartbeat
  • Tooth Decay
  • Organ Damage
  • Isolation from family and friends

Sort-term effects following use are also troublesome. Some short-term effects of cocaine:

  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • A short-lived feeling of happiness followed by a long period of sadness.
  • Headaches
  • Elevated heart-rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of coherent thought
  • Hallucinations

If you or someone you care about is suffering from cocaine addiction, know that you do not have face this illness alone. At Bay Area Recovery Center we help people with cocaine dependency overcome the many obstacles that addiction holds. Let’s face it together. Call 713-705-3457 to get you or your loved one the help they need today.

Bay Area Recovery Center has successfully treated individuals dependent on drugs and alcohol for over 20 years.  People need to know treatment does work and there is life after cocaine addiction.  Let us use our experience and expertise to develop a detox and treatment plan that is personalized to your situation.  The illness of addiction is not something you or your family should have to go through alone.  We can help. Call us now (713) 705-3457 or (281) 924-9846.

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