Cocaine Addiction Information
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drug overdoseCocaine, known as “the caviar of street drugs” due to its high price and status-heavy reputation, is a powerful stimulant that can have severe adverse effects on the brain, heart, lungs and blood vessels. Many frequent cocaine users quickly become addicted to the drug, putting themselves at risk for long-term and life-threatening consequences, such as heart, kidney, lung and brain damage, and even occasional users of cocaine run the risk of sudden death, due to the powerful nature of the drug.

Cocaine is derived from the leaves of the coca plant, and can be found in two forms: powdered cocaine known as “coke” or “blow,” which is typically snorted or injected, and crack cocaine, known as “crack” or “rock,” which can be smoked. Users often relate the euphoric feeling of being high on coke with seemingly positive reactions, including an extremely elevated mood, an increasing sense of alertness, and a feeling of supremacy. This feeling of euphoria occurs when cocaine interferes with the neurotransmitters in the brain, before traveling through the blood and ultimately wreaking havoc on the whole body. The following are five signs that cocaine use is damaging your body:

  1. Heart – Repeated cocaine use results in a massive amount of strain and stress on the blood vessels in the coronary arteries and the rest of the body. This can lead to a build-up of cholesterol in the walls of the arteries, which increases the risk of sudden and unexpected heart attack in a long-term cocaine users.
  2. Brain – People who regularly use cocaine may suffer a berry aneurysm, which is characterized by a weakness in the wall of a branch point of arteries in the brain. Once the aneurysm bursts, blood is permitted to pour out of the leak, which can cause significant damage to the brain, possibly resulting in a stroke, and difficulty with sight, thought, speech or movement.
  3. Nose – When cocaine powder is snorted into the nostrils, the blood vessels in the lining of the nose immediately constrict, and then widen again shortly after use, causing many cocaine users to suffer a red, runny nose even when they aren’t sick. Repeated cocaine use can damage the septum, leaving a hole between the two nose passages, and possibly causing the bridge of the nose to collapse.
  4. Liver – Cocaine users often consume alcohol with the drug, which intensifies the feeling of euphoria associated with cocaine. However, this habit increases the user’s chances of suffering liver damage, and research shows that the risk of sudden death is 18 times greater when cocaine and alcohol are used together, than when cocaine is used on its own.
  5. Blood vessels – One of the most common side effects of cocaine use is the extreme tightening of blood vessels, which deprives the heart of the blood it needs to operate properly and puts the user at risk for heart attack or a potentially deadly heart rhythm problem.

Thanks to movies like Blow and The Wolf of Wall Street, cocaine use is associated with a certain status, and is seen as the drug of choice for celebrities, Wall Street traders and fashion models. Despite these general assumptions, cocaine use isn’t restricted to the rich and famous. Statistics show that 14% of adults in the United States have tried cocaine, and one in 40 adults has used the drug in the past year. In fact, cocaine abuse is considered the fastest-growing drug problem among the middle classes today, with 120,000 regular users 360,000 occasional users of the powerful drug.