Made from the coca plant native to South America, cocaine is a highly addictive and often fatal illegal drug. It provides an intense high that many people chase into addiction. It is also known as coke, blow, snow, powder, and rock candy. Cocaine was first used as a surgical anesthetic in the 1880s. It was also used as an active ingredient in tonics and elixirs early in the 20th century.
Cocaine was classified as a Schedule II drug in 1970, making it illegal for recreational use. It became a popular illegal recreational drug in the 1980s and made a resurgence in the mid-2010s with the rising use of opioids in the U.S. If you are struggling with cocaine addiction, a California drug rehab can help.
What is Cocaine, and How Does it Work?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that acts as a chemical messenger to signal a pleasure trigger to the brain. Cocaine interferes with the brain’s communication process by blocking its ability to control the amount of dopamine it receives. This is responsible for the high and feeling of euphoria cocaine users experience.
Cocaine is most commonly either snorted in powder form or smoked as a rock. Snorting cocaine will produce less of a high than smoking, but the feeling can last two to three times longer. A high from smoking cocaine will absorb into the bloodstream faster by going directly through the lungs and can last for five to ten minutes. The high from snorting through the nose can remain for up to half an hour.
Short-Term Effects of Cocaine
The initial high that snorting or smoking cocaine provides is a sense of euphoria and happiness. But, eventually, this will result in a strong craving for more to regain the high. The brain soon adjusts to having the drug in your system, and it will take stronger and more frequent doses to chase the same initial high.
Short-term effects of ingesting cocaine in the body include:
- Intense happiness, feeling of euphoria
- Sensitivity to touch, sound, and sight
- Feelings of paranoia
- Anger, irritability
Dangers of Cocaine Use: Long-Term Effects
As the brain craves more of the drug, users often experience serious health conditions and side effects, including:
- Convulsions, seizures
- Heart attack, heart disease
- Mood swings
- Sexual trouble
- Lung damage
- HIV or hepatitis if injected
- Bowel decay if swallowed
- Nosebleeds, runny nose, loss of smell, and trouble swallowing if snorted
Over time, the body will start relying on cocaine in its system. This will make it more difficult for the user to sleep and think cognitively. Memory loss and coordination issues are common in long-time cocaine users. Cocaine use also puts regular, long-time users at risk for heart, lung, and stomach diseases and conditions.
Signs of Cocaine Use
Those with an addiction to cocaine can experience dramatic changes in their outward appearance and behavior. It is important for loved ones, co-workers, friends, and others to be able to recognize these signs. The sooner the signs are recognized, the sooner the person can reach out to a California drug rehab facility like Clear Life Recovery to get them the help they need.
The following are some common signs that someone is using or addicted to cocaine:
- Unexpected, unexplained rapid weight loss
- Mood swings and drastic behavioral changes
- Avoiding going out in public and other social situations
- Needle marks on the arms and other parts of the body
- Unexplained nosebleeds, frequent runny nose
- Letting personal hygiene go
- Money issues
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Lying or stealing
These side effects depend on the method of ingestion and the drug paraphernalia someone using cocaine may be using. This includes syringes, razor blades, pipes, and small plastic baggies.
The Cocaine Comeback
In 2018, the Office of National Drug Control Policy1 said cocaine production was at an all-time high in Columbia. This is where over 90% of all cocaine seized in America originates. Cheaper prices, more access, and greater drug purity have all contributed to the rise in cocaine use. The influence of other drugs has also been a contributing factor.
Deaths due to cocaine overdoses can happen anytime during use, even for the first time. Cocaine overdoses are at a higher risk when the drug is taken with alcohol and/or other drugs. Some signs of someone overdosing on cocaine include difficulty breathing, vomiting, and tremors.
The recent rise in cocaine deaths mirrors overdose deaths from heroin, fentanyl, and other opioids. Drug overdose deaths often involve several different drugs. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that in 2017 three-quarters of the people who died from cocaine overdoses also had taken opioids.
According to the CDC, of the over 70,000 deaths from drug overdoses in the United States in 2017, nearly almost 20% of them involved cocaine2. This is an increase of 34% from the previous year.
California Drug Rehab Cocaine Treatment Options
No magical treatment or medication can cure someone with cocaine addiction. The best treatment option for cocaine addiction is alongside a rehab specialist at a California drug rehab like Clear Life Recovery. Trained, experienced counselors and therapists work with you to make necessary changes to how you approach behavioral and thought processes. Treatment program options combine professional therapy sessions with various outdoor activities that lead patients to live a physically and emotionally healthy life.
Get Started on the Road to a Drug-Free Life at Clear Life Recovery
Get started on the road to recovery today. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to cocaine, contact Clear Life Recovery for information on our effective California drug rehab treatment program options.