Cocaine Abuse

By: John Kwiatkowski - Mrs. Cooke - Health - 1st Block

Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. It produces short-term euphoria, energy, and talkativeness in addition to potentially dangerous physical effects like raising heart rate and blood pressure.

How is cocaine used?

The powdered form of cocaine is either inhaled through the nose (snorted), where it is absorbed through the nasal tissue, or dissolved in water and injected into the bloodstream.

Crack is a form of cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal that can be smoked. The crystal is heated to produce vapors that are absorbed into the blood-stream through the lungs. The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated.

Short term effects of cocaine...

Cocaine affects the body in a variety of ways. It constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, and increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Because cocaine tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished as well.

People who use cocaine also put themselves at risk for contracting HIV, even if they do not share needles or other drug paraphernalia. This is because cocaine intoxication impairs judgment and can lead to risky sexual behavior.

Long term effects of cocaine...

With repeated use, cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward system as well as other brain systems, which may lead to addiction. With repeated use, tolerance to cocaine also often develops; many cocaine abusers report that they seek but fail to achieve as much pleasure as they did from their first exposure. Some users will increase their dose in an attempt to intensify and prolong their high, but this can also increase the risk of adverse psychological or physiological effects.

Random Statistics...

- 25% of all Americans between the ages of 26 and 34 have used cocaine at least once in their life.

- 90% of those individuals who have used cocaine report having used alcohol or marijuana before trying cocaine.

- 8% of all high school seniors report having used cocaine at least once during their high school years.

- Cocaine use by college students reached a ten-year high in 2006 when over 5% reported having used the drug during their time in school. The low during that period was 2.1% in 1996.

- Cocaine is the 3rd most available drug on college and high school campuses.

- United States is the world’s number one importer and user of cocaine.

- 1.5 million United States residents are believed to use cocaine at least once per month.

- New York and Delaware were the two states with the highest percentage of cocaine treatment admissions to hospitals and rehab facilities.

- Over 600,000 Americans are currently addicted to crack cocaine.