How Dangerous Is Cocaine Abuse?

Derived from the leaves of the coca bush found in the highlands of South America, cocaine is a potent central nervous system stimulant that gives the user a feeling of heightened awareness, invulnerability, confidence and energy, but it speeds heart and respiratory rates to potentially deadly levels. Users experience powerful psychological addictions quickly, as the drug hyper-stimulates the “reward center” of the brain. Though users will not suffer physical withdrawal symptoms such as those experienced with narcotics, the psychological addiction is incredibly strong. Many people disregard psychological or emotional addiction as something less than “real” at their own peril. Cocaine addicts will often consume all of the cocaine that is available to them and will radically change their behavior and personality in order to get more. Criminal activity is not uncommon among addicts, from theft and prostitution to violent assault.

The intensity of the high and the length of intoxication depend on the purity of the supply and the means of administration, but cocaine is highly addictive in all its various forms. Powder cocaine is usually snorted and can destroy nasal tissue. It may also be dissolved and injected intravenously, creating a risk for collapsed blood vessels and infections. The cheapest version, crack cocaine, is a solid crystallized form that is smoked. This gives the user a much more potent but shorter lasting high and is the most quickly addictive form of the drug. Because of its plentiful supply and low cost, crack has become a massive scourge on the poorer urban communities in the US. In addition to the danger associated with the drug itself, violence related to the drug trade has escalated, catching users and innocent bystanders in its path.

Cocaine Abuse Risks

Cocaine is refined in South American labs to a very high level of purity. Then as it makes its way through the distribution channels it is mixed with a wide range of powders (cornstarch, sugar, powdered anesthetic, vitamin C or other cheap drugs) by. In each step of its distribution it is cut with various additives, meaning that to the end user it could be diluted by as much as 99% with a range of possible substances. This mystery poses one of the first real dangers of cocaine abuse. It can be impossible for the users to know exactly what they are putting in their bodies. Other serious risks include these symptoms:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Panic attacks
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Infections from shared needles
  • Association with dangerous criminals
  • Legal complications from illegal activity
  • Dangerous behavior while high
  • Escalation to other drugs as tolerance to cocaine grows
  • Death by overdose

Concerned About Cocaine Addiction?

If you are concerned about your cocaine use, or if you have tried to quit unsuccessfully, we can help. The most effective treatment will include medically supervised detox followed by thorough, holistic rehab. Through individual and group counseling, spiritual care, the cultivation of healthy relationships and habits and education about your condition, we can empower you to beat this addiction and take your life back from the destructive power of cocaine.

Our specially trained counselors are standing by any time of day or night to answer any questions you may have. We can even check to see if your treatment may be covered by insurance. Call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline today and let us help you take your first steps toward freedom from cocaine.

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