Cocaine is a strong stimulant that’s commonly used as a recreational drug. It goes by many different names such as snow, blow, flake, white, powder, base, toot, candy, pearl, and cola. This is an attempt to keep selling it discreetly, because as we all know, cocaine is illegal.
Often snorted, inhaled, and injected, it makes people feel happy while keeping them out of touch with reality. It’s easy to see why it’s prohibited. It’s a highly addictive substance that produces plenty of adverse effects on the user. It gets people hooked, and then ruins their lives.
However, because of its euphoric effects, victims wouldn’t be able to resist it after the first try.
Cocaine inhibits the reuptake of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. It overloads the brain with the three neurotransmitters, potentially leading to the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, it affects the brain’s reward system, and easily creates dependence even after a short period of use.
The euphoric effects last only for a few minutes, but it is often followed by feelings of depression and physical exhaustion. During the high, the person will experience excessive sweating and rapid heart rate. Repeated doses of the drug can make a person numb and unable to feel any pleasure without taking cocaine.
Crack cocaine is a variation of the drug that’s actually a free base form of cocaine. Once smoked, it provides a short and intense high.
In 2013, 419 kilograms of cocaine were produced legally for medical purposes. However, it is more commonly used for recreational purposes, making dependence and addiction a very serious threat. In fact, the illegal market for cocaine is estimated to be 100 to 500 billion USD per year.
But how did cocaine first came to be? We’ll have to take a close look at its history to find its origin.
Cocaine was first grown in South America, where it was used by the Incans who believed it to be a gift from the gods. However, the leaves of the coca plant from which it is made were first used by the Peruvians back in the ancient times.
The coca plant is mostly grown in South America, even up until today, but it can also be found in other parts of the world.
In 1860, cocaine was first isolated from the coca leaves. By the 1880s it was already being used as an anesthetic, mainly for eye, nose, and throat operations. It was the physician William Stewart who first used cocaine as an anesthetic during a surgery. However, he was also the first cocaine-addicted physician in history. Nowadays, it can still be used for medicinal purposes. It can be used to numb and decrease bleeding during a nasal surgery.
However, many people abuse it because it is so easy to get addicted.
Nowadays, between 14 and 21 million people use this drug each year. Studies show that the highest rate of usage is in North America, followed closely by Europe and South America. The black market is widespread, and it is second only to cannabis as one of the most frequently used illegal drugs in the world.
What makes this terrifying is the fact that thousands of people die because of it each year. The number of deaths wherein cocaine is involved back in 2013 was 4,300. In 1990, 2,400 people died of similar causes. We can see that this rise in number is because more and more people are getting hooked to the drug every year.
Cocaine produces a wide variety of adverse effects ranging from acute to chronic.
Acute effects include itching, hallucinations, and even paranoid delusions. Overdoses can cause hyperthermia and a high blood pressure. Users have also reported feelings of anxiety and restlessness.
In the worst cases, excessive dosage could lead to convulsions, or sudden cardiac death.
Chronic cocaine intake causes imbalances in the brain, just to help the body keep up with its extreme effects. Receptors may either disappear or reappear from the cell surface. Depression may develop in heavy users. They are also often plagued by suicidal thoughts.
Users may also cough up blood, experience high fevers, chest pain, sore throat, asthma, and lung trauma.
Cocaine gets even more dangerous as the person develops tolerance. Unfortunately, there’s no limit to the level of tolerance that a person abusing cocaine may develop. They can experience dizziness, strokes, tremors, and get into a coma. These are just the short term effects.
Long term effects can include sleep deprivation, panic attacks, and psychosis.
On top of all this, cocaine causes addiction, which makes it nearly impossible to get off the drug without rehabilitation and detoxification. Withdrawal symptoms will keep the person from simply quitting the drug.
They need to find the right treatment center that can deal with their condition. If a person wants to recover, they will need the full support of their friends and family members.