Cocaine Addiction Information
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cocaineThe Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) recently published a report on their website that shows a trend of kids starting to use drugs at earlier ages. In the report they interview a young girl from Winnipeg that says her cocaine use started on her 14th birthday. If 14-year-old kids doing coke doesn’t seem alarming enough, when interviewed the students seem to think that this is a normal occurrence. Is this an indication that cocaine is viewed as a harmless drug? If so, could cocaine use make a comeback?

 

In a 2012 report by Monitoring the Future (a group that is part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse,), shows that the number of kids using marijuana has risen over the last 5 years and cites an overall increase in drug use by the adolescent and teen population. The reason: students in grades 8 through 10 perceive drugs as less harmful.

Global Trends in Cocaine Use

According to the United Nations 2010 World Drug Report, cocaine use worldwide has continued to decline. However, cocaine use has on average doubled in countries like England, Denmark, the Czech Republic, and Portugal over the last ten years. Among drug users in Europe who seek treatment for addiction, those who cite that cocaine is their primary drug are on the rise. The number has gone from 13% of the total of those entering treatment to 19%. These numbers could be a warning of what’s to come. If the price of cocaine comes down and its availability increases, the trend in North America could change as well. Especially in young people who are not familiar with the risks involved with cocaine use.

The Dangers of Early Drug Use and the Long-term Effects

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) writes that children are at the highest risk of drug abuse in transitional periods in their lives. For example, when a student enters middle school they are faced with new social situations, like having to get along with a larger group of peers. Also, it is at this transitional stage that they will most likely first encounter drugs. The same holds true for going from middle school to high school and from high school to college or getting a job. Each transition is a new opportunity, through new friends and social situations, for drug abuse to occur. As they grow older they may be exposed to a greater availability of drugs. There is also a connection between the age when a person first uses drugs and the incidence of later drug abuse. Individuals who start at the ages of 12 -14 are at the highest risk of developing dependence later in life. The trend of seeing drugs as less harmful at younger ages seems to show that more young people are at risk of having problems in relation to drugs like cocaine.

NIDA states that preventative interventions can provide support and skills to high-risk youth. These preventative measures can increase levels of protective factors and prevent later escalation of drug abuse. If the preventative factors like parental monitoring are strengthened, while risk factors like drug-abusing peers are minimized, students will be much less likely to become drug dependent. In the case of the teens in the CBC article it appears that the risk factors far outweigh the preventative factors. Early drug education, and parental intervention are needed to combat the risk factors of peers who use drugs and see it as a harmless activity. If the trend of starting drugs at an earlier age continues many of these kids are at risk of falling into a life of addiction.