Many people believe that the popular party drug cocaine is not physically addictive, only psychologically addictive. The fact is that it is both.
Cocaine is made from the leaves of the coca plant, which itself is native to South America. Most of the world’s coca is grown in Columbia and there has been a steady stream of shipments to the US, Europe and elsewhere since the late 1970s, despite attempts by many governments to stop it. The demand is just too big.
What Cocaine Does to the Body
Depending on its purity, cocaine can produce an overpowering short-term euphoria, increased energy, and uncontrollable talkativeness that leaves the user feeling powerful, strong and gleeful. Unfortunately, cocaine also causes potentially dangerous – even fatal – simultaneous side effects, including an elevated heart rate and high blood pressure.
This is particularly dangerous if the person using the drug already has an undetected medical condition, such as an enlarged heart or weak walls in their arteries. The sudden surge in blood pressure and heart rate can cause rupture, which can lead to near-instantaneous death. And the more pure the cocaine is, the higher the risk of adverse side effects.
Because cocaine is a controlled substance, it’s difficult to know what you are buying. Unlike legal prescription drugs whose quality is carefully monitored, cocaine can be either diluted with filler such as baking soda or other products, or have a high level of purity. So when you use the drug, it’s practically impossible to know how you will react until you already have taken it
Ways to Use Cocaine
Powdered cocaine typically is snorted through the nose, where it is absorbed almost instantly into the blood stream through the nasal membrane. In rare instances, powdered cocaine is diluted with water and injected via a hypodermic needle.
Crack cocaine is a crystallized version of the drug that is heated in a pipe. The user then inhales the vapors so that the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. The term “crack” reportedly comes from the noise of the rock cocaine makes when it is burning.
How cocaine is ingested can determine the length of the high. Injected or smoked cocaine delivers the drug into the bloodstream more quickly, so that it reaches the brain almost instantly. But the effects of the drug generally will last only five to ten minutes.
Snorting coke gets the drug into the bloodstream slightly more slowly – although it may feel instantaneous – and the high can last anywhere from 15 minutes to a half an hour.
When Addiction Occurs
Cocaine produces a highly pleasurable high – as long as you survive the side effects. So some people can develop a psychological addiction to cocaine after even the very first use.
A physical addiction typically takes repeated uses. But in order to sustain cocaine’s powerful results on the brain, many people will keep using the drug repeatedly, often taking larger and larger doses. So a physical addiction may develop after this first instance of binge-using the drug.
Like addictions to heroin, methamphetamine and other highly addictive drugs, once the user becomes hooked on cocaine, getting more of the drug can become an all-consuming passion, regardless of the consequences.
The problem is cocaine is very expensive. A single gram – which is enough for perhaps three to four standard doses — can cost between $70 and $90. A rock of crack can cost $10 to $20. But given the fact that addicts typically want to use again almost immediately after ingesting the drug, these prices can add up very fast.
Consequently, people who are addicted to cocaine can easily burn through their entire checking accounts, savings accounts, and investments. They will then often turn to borrowing money from friends and family, stealing, and even prostituting themselves in order to get the money to feed their addiction.
When you are addicted to cocaine, you can never have enough. So this cycle of criminality becomes endless … until you get clean.
Overcoming Cocaine Addiction
Beating a cocaine addiction is one of the most difficult types of drug treatments. That’s because the drug is 1.) Widely available and, 2.) Powerful in its effects. And unlike drugs like heroin, there are no step-down drugs to help with the withdrawal symptoms, which usually are very severe. People have been known to die from the effects of cocaine withdrawal.
Yet overcoming an addiction to cocaine is necessary if you ever hope to return to a normal life. Cocaine is a party drug that quickly can become an obsessive addiction. It is a gateway to even harder drugs like heroin and methamphetamine and has probably ruined more lives and caused more misery than all the other popular addictive drugs put together.
To learn more about ways to overcome an addiction to cocaine or other drugs, ask a trusted family member, your doctor, or a spiritual adviser such as a priest, rabbi or Imam for help and guidance.
Author Bio – This article is a work of Jack Jenkinson in support of The Cabin Hong Kong, a sought after cocaine rehab.