Cocaine Addiction Information
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cocaineFor those curious about street drugs, there isn’t always a reliable source of information available. Theoretically one could go to one’s doctor and ask for the information about various illegal substances, but there is a considerable stigma that could put one off from inquiring. If someone is curious about illegal drugs, it’s likely they will find themselves relying on the word of friends, “the internet,” or (worst case) a drug dealer to inform them about the various effects and dangers of a drug. But these sources aren’t always well-informed themselves. Cocaine, for instance, has many myths circulating. Below are a few of its most popular ones, along with the real data for each:

Myth: Cocaine isn’t addictive.

Truth: What people usually mean when they talk about a “physically addictive” drug is one which produces severe withdrawal symptoms because the body has become accustomed to the substance and now thinks it needs to have it consistently.

For instance, heroin is very physically addictive. It binds to certain receptors in the brain, and the body quickly becomes accustomed to having heroin there. When the user stops taking heroin, the body senses the empty receptors and responds as though it’s missing a vital substance. Reactions to the absence of the drug are very harsh physically, including vomiting, chills, aches and pains throughout the body, restlessness, insomnia and diarrhea.

Compared to this, some doctors have thought of cocaine as non-addictive because it doesn’t leave you shaking and vomiting on the bathroom floor. While cocaine may not do that, it affects the user mentally and creates very strong cravings and a psychological compulsion to keep taking the drug. Doctors used to write off the mental dependency as somehow less “real” than other that of other drugs, but it has now been recognized by medical professionals as being just as difficult to overcome.

Myth: Cocaine creates a better sex experience.

Truth: Cocaine does increase sexual desire, which can lead to risky decisions like having unprotected sex. However, long-term use of cocaine can get in the way of sexual function. In men, longer use of cocaine and can stop or hinder ejaculation, or even lead to impotence. It may ultimately reduce sexual desire and can even cause growth of breast tissue in men.

Myth: Cocaine is as safe as, or safer than, any another street drug.

Truth: Cocaine kills three times as many people as any other street drug. In fact, cocaine use was only recently surpassed by prescription drug abuse as the most deadly drug habit around. Cocaine is especially deadly when mixed with alcohol—this makes it produce a toxin called cocaethylene. Cocaethylene prolongs cocaine’s effects and frequently leads to death.

Even without alcohol entering the mix, cocaine commonly causes the user to sweat, lose their appetite, have insomnia and hyperactivity, lose weight, become irritable or paranoid, or even hallucinate. It can affect the heart’s rhythm, which leads to many complications such as heart attacks or respiratory failure.

When coming off of cocaine, users experience depression and exhaustion, even to the point of considering suicide.

Myth: Cocaine makes you a faster, better version of yourself.

Truth: Athletes who take cocaine are risking their lives, as exercising after taking cocaine increases the risk of irregular heartbeat (which, as stated above, causes complications up to and including death). Students or working professionals who take it are risking their educations and careers—it creates the feeling of being brilliantly, vibrantly alive and powerful, when in reality the user is becoming edgy, paranoid and hostile. Prolonged use causes insomnia and aggression. There’s no way this works out to being an advantage.