Everything You Need to Know About Cocaine
Cocaine or also known as crack, coke, blow, snow, nose candy, flake, sleet, gravel, rocks, and nuggets is one of the oldest and strongest drugs that we have encountered. In fact, it has been around for 5000 years when the natives of the Andes Mountains started chewing coca leaves in order to help sustain them at high altitudes. However, it was in the 19th century when cocaine was prepared and farmed to be used in medicines. It was used to help “cure” almost everything from sore throats to depression. However, as the years went by, the damaging effects of this drug began to show as users became alarmingly addicted to it. That is why, cocaine today, is one of the many illegal drugs prohibited by countries across the world.
What is Cocaine?
We have heard about cocaine, but what’s in it? Cocaine is actually a stimulant drug that is extracted from the leaves of a coca plant. It is a Schedule II drug which means it can only be administered for medical uses and by registered physicians. The word cocaine is referred to as the drug which is in powder or crystal form. It can be used or mixed in other substances like corn starch, sugar or talcum powder as well as other drugs like procaine which is a local anesthetic drug or amphetamines.
Cocaine was originally extracted from coca leaves to be used as a painkiller. However, besides injecting it in the body, it can also be snorted, sniffed, ingested or rubbed into the gums for faster absorption into the bloodstream. Other users inhale its smoke in an effort to seemingly avoid health risks when compared to injection.
Cocaine is usually powdered white crystalline. Crack cocaine, on the other hand, looks like small rocks that are sometimes pinkish or off-white in color. It can also look like a chunk or chips of rock but the powder form is the most popular form of all.
Side Effects of Cocaine
Ever wonder why cocaine is very popular especially in the streets? This is because cocaine itself can have various effects and each effect is different from one person to another. It could make someone feel good while others don’t have a good experience with it. In fact, the process of taking cocaine in the body is not entirely a pleasant one but the drug’s stimulating effect can give a sort of “reward” to the brain. This then allows the person to experience the feeling of being “high” thus makes it easy for a person to become addicted.
Besides the “high” that this drug gives, a person using cocaine can also experience the following:
- Feeling of euphoria – this is a brief but intense feeling of happiness and calmness which makes them feel secure. This is also the reason why this drug is taken in many parties or gatherings.
- Being sociable – for some reason, cocaine makes people feel connected to others. This is why it makes the user find friends or makes friends easily.
- Increased self-confidence – for people who lack confidence, cocaine can help them get the confidence they need. This is also the reason why people suffering from panic attacks and anxiety can get addicted to cocaine easily as it gives them a false sense of security about themselves which makes them confident at any form of social gathering.
- Feeling of anger – if the patient is using cocaine for a long time, becoming angry or irritable can happen anytime.
- Paranoia – once the high dies down, chronic users will begin to feel paranoia. So contrary to being able to make friends easily, users often feel worried that they have made a mistake by doing so in some ways.
- Hallucinations – besides being paranoid, one of the negative effects of cocaine is hallucinations. It can happen at the very peak of the negative symptoms and is also a sign that the user has taken too much cocaine or has too much cocaine in their system.
Most of the time, chronic users cannot feel anything. This could lead to a blunting of emotions and both can be felt whether they are using or not. Besides the mental effects of cocaine, it can also affect a person physically. Users are often noticed to have:
- Changes in breathing pattern or heart rates
- Profuse sweating, cold clammy skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Inability to regulate body temperature properly
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction
Anyone can be addicted to cocaine once he or she has experienced the highs. However, you can always know a person is addicted to this drug by looking out for the signs and symptoms like the following:
- Runny nose or having the sniffles all the time
- Pupils are dilated
- Has little or no appetite at all
- Does not sleep much
- Mood swings are often exhibited
- Paranoia or depression
- Manic or overconfidence
- Money is always a problem
Long-term Risks of Using Cocaine: Financially, Socially and Physically
Financially, no drug addict could ever have enough money as they will always find a way to buy whatever drug they are addicted to. That is why cocaine addicts are associated with major financial problems even though this drug is much cheaper than it was in the past. This is because they will always keep this habit and in return, they find themselves knee-deep in debt, not being able to sustain themselves.
While it is true that cocaine users make friends easy, many of these so-called friendships are false especially if these ‘friends’ were made during parties as well as other social interactions. Therefore, having a good time with new friends is temporary and at the end of the day, cocaine addicts find themselves isolated and alone. Besides cocaine, a user can also start experimenting with other drugs like crack cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine. This is also connected to being surrounded by false friends who are often into the drug scene far more than the user.
Developing anxiety and depression happens when the user is not really using cocaine for a long time. However, when this addiction is repeated, they may find themselves dealing with mental health problems in the long run. This is because chronic users may develop physical symptoms. The very first part of the body that is affected by cocaine is the brain and heart. Users will develop permanent brain damage and can cause heart failure. It has been found in many studies that users are prone to the risk of stroke in the first 24 hours of using cocaine. Not only that, kidney and liver failure are also very common among cocaine addicts. Snorting or inhaling of cocaine can also damage the cartilages of your nose. It will begin to rot and eventually leave the cocaine addict disfigured permanently.
What Can You Do?
If you, a friend or loved one is addicted to cocaine and has seen the devastating effects of this drug then there’s only one way to help them, put them into rehabilitation. Keep in mind that the longer the addiction goes on for, the harder it is for the addict to recover. So if you have been using cocaine for a while and are in need of help, it is best to seek it out as early as possible. There are many drug rehabilitation centers and health care facilities that you can go into to get the treatment that you need.
In order to live a longer life, you need to get better. You cannot do this on your own, so call a close friend or family member that you can run to if the going gets tough. Life is short, make the most of it. Don’t waste it all away with drugs, always seek out a healthier lifestyle. Keep in mind that you are not only affecting yourself but the people around you, so make sure that you get treated and maintain a sober life. In the end, you will see that it’s all worth it.