What is cocaine?

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is illegal to use recreationally. Medical professionals may use it during anesthesia for surgery as a way to numb the lining of the throat, mouth or nose. It comes from the coca plant that grows in South America. Cocaine can come in the form of powder or crack cocaine, or it can be made into a rock crystal, known as crack cocaine.

Cocaine increases dopamine in the brain. Once a person uses cocaine, they have to use more of it to achieve the same “high.” They will also feel like they have to continue using cocaine, so they don’t experience the “low” of cocaine’s psychological withdrawal symptoms, which include obsessive cravings, restlessness, the inability to feel pleasure, or suicidal thoughts.

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What does cocaine look like?

Cocaine, when in its hydrochloric salt state, is a fine, white powder that resembles baby powder. It can be clear white, an off-white or have a slight yellow tint and smell like floral perfume. Crack cocaine can resemble rocks, and it smells like burning rubber or plastic.

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substance-taken

How is cocaine taken?

Cocaine can be snorted through the nose or rubbed onto the gums. It can also be dissolved and injected or smoked. A user can inhale vapors from crack cocaine to get a faster high than snorting it.

Why do people use cocaine?

People use cocaine to experience a euphoric high. They feel a surge of dopamine and experience intense feelings of happiness and energy for an extended period of time. People use cocaine if they have trouble becoming happy on their own, or due to boredom or peer pressure.

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SLANG TERMS

  • Coke
  • Blow
  • Snow
  • Dust
  • Crack
  • Rock
  • Nuggets
  • Line

History of Cocaine

Coca plants have been around for a while in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. The most common form of cocaine is actually cocaine hydrochloride, the powered salt that is snorted. Cocaine was first synthesized in 1855 and started to gain global recognition in 1880. Psychologist Sigmund Freud recommended it as a safe solution for depression. Six years later, the Coca-Cola Company used cocaine in the beverage, which grew in popularity for its feelings of energy and euphoria.

In 1920, cocaine was supposed to be outlawed as part of The Dangerous Drug Act in the U.S. But it was already in the American markets and spread through the country at that point. It resurged in the 1970s and 80s, where a cheaper version, crack cocaine, became accessible to low-income communities.

What are the Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine increases stress hormones in the brain, so even when an addict isn’t experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may notice anger or violence you haven’t seen before. They can also develop anxiety, paranoia, or psychosis. Constant stress also raises blood pressure, which can result in damage to the heart and lungs.

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Signs and Symptoms

  • White powder on nose or mouth
  • Being overly excited and alert
  • Awake for a long period of time
  • Frequent nose bleeds
  • Increased risky behaviors
  • Social isolation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Burns on hands and lips

PARAPHERNALIA

  • Syringe
  • Rolled up dollar bill
  • Credit card to make lines
  • Razor blades
  • Needle
  • Spoons
  • Plastic snack bags
  • White powder residue

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What are the Effects of
Cocaine Addiction?

While some users may experience feelings of intense happiness in the beginning, they’ll shortly start notice that they’ll develop mood swings, feelings of being paranoid, and ongoing headaches. With long-term use, they may have hallucinations and psychosis. Physically, they may experience a loss of smell and nosebleeds if they snort it, lung diseases if they smoke it, bowel decay if they eat it, or HIV if they inject it. They may also have seizures, stokes, or a heart attack.

SHORT TERM EFFECTS OF *SUBSTANCE* ADDICTION

  • Damage to nasal passages
  • Paranoia
  • Intense happiness
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Sensitivity to sound, light, and touch
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Headaches

Long Term Effects of Cocaine Addiction

  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Heart attack or heart disease
  • Acute pulmonary syndrome (“crack lung”)
  • Stroke
  • Bowel decay
  • HIV or hepatitis
  • Nosebleeds and loss of smell

Cocaine Addiction Statistics

34%

increase of cocaine-related deaths from 2016 to 2017.

5 million

Americans are regular cocaine users.

1 out of 5

overdose deaths in 2017 involved cocaine.

How is Cocaine Addiction Treated?

Cocaine addiction leads to a dependency on the drug and results in loss of sleep and memory. Addiction can be treated by addressing mental and physical problems that have resulted from drug abuse. Medications for addiction include naltrexone or buprenorphine, which are used to treat withdrawal symptoms. Propranolol is a beta-blocker that can help create stabilization in the brain and is typically used for anxiety, hypertension, reduced blood flow to the heart, and psychological problems.

Here at Gratitude Lodge, we provide a safe place with certified medical professionals who can help you or your loved one detox from cocaine. After your detoxification, you can stay in our residential addiction treatment center. There, you’ll receive personalized counseling, participate in group therapy, and develop an invaluable support system that will help lead you to a path of recovery. You will also receive the medications listed above if they’re right for you. It’s important not to detox alone, otherwise, you can suffer from intense withdrawal symptoms.

 

Common Drug Combinations with Cocaine?

Cocaine is commonly paired with heroin, which is referred to as “speedball.” Speedballing can put a lot of turmoil on inner organs, but addicts combine the two because they create stronger together than each drug alone. Other common combinations are other stimulants, depressants, and sedatives.

  • Heroin (“Speedball”)
  • Alcohol
  • Ecstasy
  • Xanax
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • Meth
  • PCP
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