About a century ago, the dangers of the drug were not well known. The medical community began using the substance as a local anesthetic and as a treatment for depression. In 1970, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration categorized cocaine as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act due to the high potential for abuse. The drawbacks of cocaine became vox populi and eventually was declared illegal all over the world. Its possession is a felony in the United States.
Drug dealers mix the powder with dilutants like flour, starch, baking powder, face powder, other illegal and cheaper drugs, and so on to increase their profits. Although the price varies, it is always quite expensive. Cocaine is considered one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs. More than 35% percent of drug-related emergencies in hospitals are ascribed to cocaine abuse in the USA.
Cocaine comes either in a water-soluble powder and one which is not water-soluble. The former can be mixed with liquid and injected directly into the bloodstream. It can also be sucked in through the nose (snorted). Some users rub it onto the gums in their mouths. In non-soluble form, it can be inhaled or smoked (crack).
While high on cocaine, the stimulation of pleasure centers in the brain takes place. Some individuals report short term feelings of:
- alertness extroversion
- sensitivity to sights and sounds
- elevated mood
- high self-esteem
- anxiety and
The high comes on almost immediately and lasts 20 to 35 minutes. Following prolonged use, individuals can become tolerant to the effects and “binge” for hours or even days.
Warning Signs of Cocaine Addiction
Drug paraphernalia of cocaine use include:
- small plastic bags
- razor blades
- needles and
Rolled-up dollar bills and white residue found on flat surfaces such as hand-held mirrors, magazines, or books can be other tell-tale signs. Physical signs include white powdery residue around the nose, dilated pupils sensitive to light, quick breathing, headaches, congestion, decreased appetite, sore throats, nosebleeds and watery eyes, irreversible internal nose damage, “Coke bloat,” (when the cheeks appear aged, bloated and puffy).
Changes in behavior due to cocaine abuse include:
- extreme mood swings, feelings of grandiosity
- hostility and isolation
- financial stress, whether related to obtaining the costly drug or because of issues maintaining employment (frequently calling in sick, missing deadlines, or not showing up at all)
- and mental health symptoms of depression, paranoia, or anxiety, even when not under the influence.
Many who struggle with cocaine addiction become candidates for integrated treatment for co-occurring substance and mental health disorders. Both crack cocaine and cocaine are extremely dangerous.
In a study presented to the American Heart Association, Australian researchers described cocaine as “the perfect heart attack drug.” The effects are so immediate and even a healthy first-time cocaine user can have a heart attack. Canada’s Vice magazine describes cocaine use as “like putting your foot on the accelerator while pinching the fuel line.”
When powder cocaine is snorted, blood vessels in the lining of the nose shrink and then widen, resulting in a red, runny, stuffed-up nose. After repeated use, the blood vessels can become permanently damaged, affecting the cocaine user’s sense of smell.
Snorting the drug can also cause a loss of blood supply to the thin dividing wall between the nostrils that supports the bridge of the nose (septum), causing the wall to collapse.
Smoking crack can cause “crack lung,” with potentially fatal symptoms including severe chest pains, high body temperatures, and issues breathing.
The combination of cocaine, a central nervous system stimulant, with heroin, an opioid depressant, is called a “speedball.” Some mistakenly believe the stimulant will produce an immediate high followed by a sense of relaxation from the depressant, with the “upper” and “downer” combination canceling any adverse side effects. The stimulant causes the body to use more oxygen, while the depressant reduces the rate of breathing. This “push-pull” reaction can lead to stroke, aneurysm, uncoordinated motor skills, and fatal consequences, like a respiratory failure.
Cocaine and Fentanyl
A growing number of dealers have been mixing fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain reliever, with cocaine and other drugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Fentanyl is fifty times more potent than heroin and one hundred times more potent than morphine.” People who don’t realize they’re taking fentanyl-laced cocaine are at an increased risk of overdose.
Our San Diego Rehab for Cocaine
There are now various novel cocaine addiction therapies in San Diego at La Jolla Recovery that effectively deal with the withdrawals and the underlying emotional problems that preceded the addiction.
Under the guidance of experienced therapists, behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy address and heal emotional triggers from cocaine use disorder. The pharmacological treatment alleviates cocaine withdrawal symptoms, which often plummets the addicted person into depression.
Group therapy is a safe, drug-free residence like La Jolla Recovery, where people help and motivate each other and restore their self-confidence in an unbiased atmosphere, which is highly recommended.
A proper detox to cocaine, if abused with opiates, may have optional medication-assisted treatment, including ketamine known as private and sublocade, among other evidence-based medications.
Behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy, under the guidance of experienced therapists, address and heal emotional triggers. The pharmacological treatment alleviates cocaine withdrawal symptoms, which often plummets the addicted person into depression.
Group therapy in a safe, drug-free residence like La Jolla Recovery, where people help and motivate each other and restore their self-confidence in an unbiased atmosphere, is highly recommended.
- Are you suffering from addictions other than cocaine, such as alcoholism?