Cocaine is one of the most powerfully addictive drugs in the country. When a person takes cocaine, there are several methods of administration. They may go to great lengths to obtain the drug and achieve the same high that they initially felt. Regardless of the method of administration, snorted, smoked or injected, the half life of the drug is very short and the intense high causes the user to desire more in a very short period of time. Compulsive cocaine abuse may develop very early.
More on Forms of Administration
Again, cocaine can be snorted, injected and smoked. The following are brief descriptions of these various methods of administration:
- When one snorts cocaine, it is ground to a fine powder and thus absorbed into the bloodstream through the soft nasal tissue.
- The act of smoking cocaine or crack, including free basing, involves inhaling the smoke or vapor which acts quickly on the system. One can smoke cocaine through a pipe, on a piece of foil, or a homemade pipe. There are many forms of make shift pipes, such as an aluminum can or metal tubing.
- Injecting the drug involves diluting it and drawing it into a needle and injecting it directly into the bloodstream.
Crack is manufactured from powder cocaine to a rock form that can be smoked. Crack is processed with sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, and water and heated to create the popular rock form. The street name "Crack" is derived from the crackling sound it makes when it is smoked. Great amounts of the drug can be inhaled very quickly causing an intensely euphoric high, making it one of the most abused drugs on the street today.
Cocaine strongly affects the Central Nervous System and interferes with the natural release of dopamine, the "feel good" messenger of the brain. There are various physical characteristics that may precede health hazards associated with cocaine or crack abuse. These potential health hazards vary depending on the method of use. One good example would be snorting coke for extended periods of time may lead to ulceration of the nasal mucous membrane leading to permanent damage of the septum. Additionally, cardiac arrest and seizures are among cocaine-related deaths. The physical characteristics are as follows:
- Constricted blood vessels
- Dilated pupils, visual impairment
- Increased body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure
Additionally there are behavioral effects of cocaine or crack use that may be valid indicators to be aware of. They are as follows:
- Hyper-stimulation, overly anxious
- Reduced fatigue and mental clarity
- Depression from withdrawals
Upon initial exposure to cocaine in any form, one experiences an intense euphoric high, which they will continually try to achieve again unsuccessfully. Their tolerance level escalates each time they use and they find themselves in a cycle of abuse, again, trying to obtain that initial high. This process prompts the user to use higher doses and more frequently.
Alcohol and Cocaine
The danger of mixing alcohol and cocaine is greatly compounded when a third substance is formed called cocaethylene. In essence, they are using their bodies as a chemistry lab creating a compound that is capable of causing sudden death. Cocaethylene intensifies cocaine's euphoric effect prompting the user to combine these two deadly components together.
Use Among Young Adult and Adolescents
A study was conducted assessing the extent of drug use among young people and adolescents across the country. This study is called "Monitoring the Future Study", or the MTF. The statistics found are as follows:
- The proportion of high-school seniors, who have used cocaine in some form at least once, has increased to 8.7 percent. This same statistic peaked, however, in 1985 to 17.3 percent.
- Among college students 1 to 4 years out of high school, 3.6 percent have used cocaine in the past year.
- 0.7 percent of this same group has used cocaine in the last month.
- Cocaine use among high school seniors decreased from a high of 6.7 percent in 1985 to 2.3 percent in 1992.
Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG)
Epidemiology is the branch of medicine dealing with the incidence and prevalence of disease in large populations and with detection of the source and cause of infectious disease and epidemics. Although most cocaine abusers are depicted as older, inner city crack addicts, new studies have revealed different statistics. Approximately 1.7 million Americans use cocaine at least one time a month. This represents 0.7 percent of the population age 12 and older.
Cocaine abuse has been on the rise for several decades. Cocaine addiction can stop with you. If you or a loved one are struggling with cocaine addiction or would like more information on addiction or abuse, call Narconon today at 800-468-6933.