Cocaine use dates back thousands of years when the indigenous people of South America would chew on coca leaves for energy. By 1860, cocaine was isolated from the plant and was lauded as a magical substance for the next 60 years – being used medically and recreationally.
In the early-1900s, scientists started to see the negative effects of cocaine use, and it was outlawed (sale and use) in the US shortly after. By the 1980s, cocaine use was at an all-time high with the introduction of crack cocaine, and we’re still struggling to combat the illegal drug.
In fact, more than five million people in the United States use cocaine every year, and over one million of those people have a cocaine use disorder. Between 1999 and 2015, deaths due to cocaine overdose were around 5,000 per year – a number that rose above 19,000 in 2020.
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that can be snorted (white powder), injected (dissolved cocaine), or smoked (crack cocaine). Once it enters the bloodstream, it travels to the brain and crosses the blood-brain barrier, where it produces a ‘high’ that can easily get someone hooked.
The most significant effect cocaine has on the body is the increase in dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays an essential role in reward, pleasure, motivation, and movement. Instead of being recycled, dopamine builds up between nerve cells in the brain.
As dopamine continues to build, the brain’s reward circuit adapts and becomes tolerant to the drug. To combat this, cocaine users take larger doses and use more frequently to maintain their ‘high.’ This eventually leads to dependency, which leads to addiction, which could result in death.
Unlike alcohol or marijuana, the ‘high’ you get from cocaine use only lasts a couple of minutes to an hour. The effects are present immediately and generally last 5-10 minutes (if injecting or smoking it) or 15-30 minutes (if snorting it). Of course, everyone’s experience will be different.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common cocaine symptoms:
If you notice any of these cocaine signs and symptoms in a friend or family member, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Nothing good ever comes from cocaine use, and while it might seem like a good idea in the heat of the moment, it’ll prove to be the wrong decision.
Those who don’t get help and continue to use cocaine, despite its negative impact on their life, expect that impact only to get worse. Prolonged and excessive use of cocaine often results in health issues – not just physically but mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.
Let’s take a look at some of the long-term effects of cocaine abuse:
Perhaps the worst-case scenario with cocaine addiction is death – something more than 19,000 families had to experience in 2020 alone. If you know someone that’s struggling with cocaine addiction, they need your help – even if they can’t admit it. Don’t be the one to let them down.
Are you ready to quit cocaine for good? Do you know someone that’s struggling to overcome their cocaine addiction? Are you worried that cocaine use is going to tear your family apart? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, contact Prevail Recovery Center immediately.
Our Fort Lauderdale rehab center is fully-equipped to help cocaine users kick their habit and turn over a new leaf in life. We understand both the short-term and long-term effects of cocaine use, and are dedicated to reducing the pain and suffering it causes.
We offer Florida partial hospitalization programs (both day and night), intensive outpatient programs, and outpatient programs to those that need it most. If you’d like to learn more about our facility or would like to inquire about entering rehab, don’t hesitate to reach out – we’re here when needed.
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