Cocaine

Street names include: coke, dust, flake, blow, crack, snow and many more

Cocaine is a very powerful and addictive drug derived from the coca plant most commonly found in South America. Cocaine is most often snorted, however it can also be mixed with water and injected with a needle. Either way delivers a very powerful and fast-acting dose of the drug to the brain. Cocaine offers a very strong high that includes increases in energy and feelings of euphoria. With this high also comes extremely dangerous side-effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. Because cocaine is so addictive, the body and brain become dependent on the drug and users begin to consume more with greater frequency. Since the high only lasts between 15 and 30 minutes, the tendency is to binge on cocaine in order to stay euphoric throughout the evening.

Crack, also known as freebase cocaine, is a form of the drug that has been synthesized into a crystal. Crack became a lower-cost option for those seeking a high, but could not afford pure cocaine. Crack cocaine is heated and smoked using a specialized crack pipe and the drug enters the bloodstream through the lungs. Crack is often produced with significant impurities.

Cocaine itself is very dangerous and can cause conditions as severe as a heart attack or stroke. Further, it is often combined with other drugs, for example heroin (called a speedball), to enhance the high. When taken in combination, cocaine and other drugs can be even more fatal.

Other than addiction, cocaine addicts tend to suffer from a host of ill effects including headaches, severe G.I. issues and the aforementioned heart attacks or stroke. Cocaine use often leads to permanent physical harm and death. Further, for those who inject cocaine, the chances of contracting a blood-borne disease such as HIV or hepatitis C is significantly increased if safe needle practices are not followed. Cocaine users tend to be emaciated because it decreases appetite, often leading to malnutrition. The effects of cocaine are not limited to physical issues, however. Indeed, cocaine users will often suffer from psychological problems such as anxiety, paranoia, irritability, restlessness and even psychosis.

Treatment For Cocaine Addiction

Much like other highly addictive drugs, cocaine alters the composition of the brain and withdrawal symptoms can be severe. The usual course of treatment includes an appropriate time spent in medical detox, followed by a course of behavioral health therapy. The time needed to effectively treat a cocaine addiction largely depends on the frequency and quantity of the drug being consumed. After treatment patients will likely continue to recover at a lower level of care and should attend regular twelve-step support group meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Drug Status

Cocaine reached its peak in the 1980s as evidenced by many television shows and movies that depict drug use in that era. Over the course of the next 10-20 years, cocaine use began to decline, then taking an upward swing in the early 2000s. A recent RAND Corporation study has shown a sharp, 50% decline in cocaine use over the period of 2006-2010. Data beyond 2010 is not readily available.

Other Addictive Drugs