Cocaine addiction is a serious nationwide problem. A strong stimulant, cocaine comes in many forms and creates a short-lived sense of euphoria. It increases energy, alertness and talkativeness. Heart rate and blood pressure also spike. It is a dangerous drug that can lead to seizures, heart attack, paranoia, stroke and more.
Cocaine can be snorted in powder form and absorbed through the nasal tissue. If snorted, long-term cocaine use can lead to damaged nasal tissue. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it can also be dissolved in water and injected directly into the bloodstream. Freebase cocaine (commonly known as “crack”) is heated and then smoked. According to the NIDA, snorting cocaine typically creates a high that lasts 15 to 30 minutes. The high from smoking is shorter and may only last for five to 10 minutes. However, with repeated use, users will eventually build a tolerance to the drug.
Regardless of how it’s administered, cocaine stimulates the central nervous system and triggers an increase in dopamine levels. Cocaine affects the entire body and is linked to depression, anxiety and psychosis. It is also highly addictive. People coming down from a cocaine high may feel agitated or distressed. This crashing feeling can trigger an intense craving for more. In 2008, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that roughly 1.9 million people had used cocaine within one month of the survey. Of these, about 359,000 were crack users. When combined with other drugs, cocaine is particularly dangerous. The NIDA reports that mixing cocaine with heroin is a combination known as a “speedball.” This is often a lethal mix. A drug called baclofen is currently in the works to help manage cocaine addiction. Originally marketed to treat spinal cord injuries, the drug is showing promise when it comes to protecting against relapse.
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