There are still an overwhelming amount of people throughout the United States that use cocaine in-spite of the serious mental and physical dangers involved with the abuse of this drug. Cocaine is such a powerful drug that if a person chooses to use the drug to see what it's like, there's a big chance they're going to want to repeat their use because of the intense high they experience.
Cocaine is a stimulant that not only produces a powerful high depending on how it's administered, but also increases a person's level of energy.
Many people choose to inject or smoke cocaine because they experience a more intense high faster than if they snort the drug because it reaches the brain quicker. The intense high they experience may be faster but it only lasts for about 10 minutes compared to snorting cocaine which may take longer to achieve, but lasts for around 15 to 30 minutes. Either way because the high begins to fade many cocaine users binge and repeat their use after a short period of time to achieve their intense high again.
Because cocaine is a very addictive drug it doesn't take long for a person to become addicted to it. People who repeat their use and administer cocaine in binges can become addicted after using the drug just a few times.
Crack is the form of cocaine that's smoked and is equally as addictive as the form of cocaine that's snorted or dissolved in water and injected. We know that no matter what route a person chooses to administer cocaine, there are serious mental and physical health problems that can take place with repeated use.
Harmful Effects Resulting from Cocaine Use
- Decreased appetite
- Hear rate increases
- Possible stroke
- Possible overdose
- Sudden death
- Possible headaches
- Possible nausea
- Dilated pupils
- Blood vessel constriction
- Possible respiratory problems
- Possible pain in the abdomen
- Body temperature increases
- Possible heart attack
- Possible severe paranoia
- Blood pressure increases
Weight loss is also a harmful effect of cocaine use. Chronic cocaine addicts are quite often underweight and malnourished.
The Dangers of Cocaine Use
- Combining Psychoactive Drugs
Mixing psychoactive drugs together, for example cocaine and alcohol can result in sudden death.
- Snorting Cocaine
Can cause the user to lose their sense of smell, have nosebleeds, have sinus problems, have difficulty swallowing, and can cause hoarseness.
- Ingesting Cocaine
Can cause the user to develop bowel gangrene because of blood flow being reduced.
- Injecting Cocaine
Can cause dangerous allergic reactions, HIV/AIDS, or other blood borne viruses.
- Smoking Crack Cocaine
Can result in respiratory problems as well as paranoid and aggressive behavior.
- Cocaine Binges
Can result in restlessness, anxiety and irritability.
As you see, the use of cocaine can not only lead to chronic cocaine addiction but also causes very serious and possibly lethal consequences when abused. The harmful effects listed above are bad enough and you wouldn't think they could get any worse, but they can. When a person uses cocaine they don't really know what's all been added to the drug when it was illegally produced which can make this already dangerous drug more hazardous and harmful.
Levamisole is a pharmaceutical drug that's used for deworming livestock like sheep, pigs and cattle. Unfortunately today that's not all the drug is being used for. Colombian cocaine producers are adding levamisole to their cocaine possibly to enhance the effects.
Cocaine users would never know if the drug they're abusing has been cut with levamisole until it's too late and they begin to develop serious skin reactions. FoxNews.com recently had an article talking about how dangerous cocaine cut with levamisole can be, skin reactions start out as blotches that change color and eventually turns black when the skin dies which generally takes place on the cheeks, mouth and ears. There is also a possibility of a condition developing that affects the bone marrow according to Dr. Noah Craft.
Hopefully cocaine users will hear about this and realize just how dangerous this is. ABC News also talks about levamisole and the serious effects the veterinary drug can have on a person if the cocaine their abusing is cut with the drug. It's unbelievable to think that more than "eighty percent of the country's coke supply contains it".
This isn't something new; in 2009 SAMHSA posted a public health alert saying if a person uses cocaine to look out for:
- High fever, chills, or weakness
- Swollen glands
- Painful anal or mouth sores
- Infection that doesn't go away or gets worse very fast
- Sore throat or mouth sores
- Skin infections
Treating Cocaine Abuse
There are many substance abuse centers that provide treatment for cocaine addiction in either inpatient or outpatient settings. Chronic cocaine users do better and are more successful in inpatient settings because they're able to receive more intense therapy in a safe environment away from people or situations that challenge their efforts to stop using.
Cocaine Detoxification is the first step a cocaine user has to go through if they're frequent users. Many treatment centers provide medically assisted detox to help their clients with the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms experienced during this time. Unfortunately there isn't any medication right now that eliminates intense cravings that are experienced when a person stops using cocaine. This may be another reason inpatient cocaine treatment can be more effective for many people.
Treatment centers that provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have helped many cocaine users manage their recovery and prevent relapse. Many outpatient and inpatient substance abuse recovery centers use CBT therapies to help their clients overcome cocaine addiction. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is effective treating addiction no matter what form of dependence a person is suffering from, street drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol, gambling, eating disorders, etc. CBT helps drug users recognize and avoid situations in their life when they would normally use drugs like cocaine and helps them develop effective ways to cope and manage these situations without the use of cocaine or other substances.
Treatment centers that do complete assessments on their clients are able to identify mental health disorders if they're present which makes treatment much more successful. If the cocaine user also suffers from bipolar disorder, ADHD, major depression or any other mental health illness and it isn't properly diagnosed and treated, their recovery treatment may not be as successful.
Cocaine addiction doesn't just disappear after detoxification is completed, the individual has to seek further treatment to understand their addiction and learn ways to manage their recovery and remain drug free. This takes time and help from qualified professionals that understand addiction and what it takes to remain abstinent and manage recovery. Challenges are faced every day when a person stops abusing drugs like cocaine and without experienced professional help and support, it's nearly impossible to avoid relapse.