The dangers of cocaine are grievous, and it helps parents and teens to be aware of these risks. The rising concerns over the dangers of cocaine arise from the increase in cocaine addiction. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, 2020 was the peak of cocaine manufacture.
Seizure data for 2021 indicates an increase in the importation of cocaine into the United States. This trend reflects an increase in cocaine use among Americans. It’s worrying as the CDC noted a surge in cocaine overdose cases, from 5,419 in 2015 to almost 20,000 by 2020.
You can overdose on cocaine and become deceased. The risks of cocaine overdose are also higher as it has been adulterated with other deadly drugs. Impure combinations are hazardous and can cause an overdose in unsuspecting users. It’s critical to be aware of these risks when using cocaine.
Let’s explore the dangers of cocaine by understanding its chemical composition and effect on our physiology. We’ll also list the signs and symptoms of a cocaine overdose and explore possible cocaine addiction treatment.
What Is Cocaine, and How Does It Interact with Your Body?
Cocaine is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system, and its chemical composition entails benzoylmethylecgonine, a tropane alkaloid found in the coca plant. This drug triggers the release of dopamine and norepinephrine into the body’s system. With increased levels of these neurotransmitters, users experience feeling pleasure and euphoria during the substance abuse.
Cocaine users ingest it into their bodies in different ways. In its powder form, crack, users consume it by smoking or snorting cocaine. This drug abuse compromises your bronchioles and air sacs, while snorting it cracks up your nostrils and nasal lining.
Injecting cocaine into the body is another common method of consumption. It can cause severe damage to your veins and organs like kidneys and liver as it passes through the bloodstream. Moreover, cocaine addicts become reckless while sharing injection paraphernalia and often spread HIV among themselves.
How Does Cocaine Create Addictive High and Low Cycles?
A person high on powder cocaine is happy, talkative, and energetic. Artists, musicians, and even politicians have used this drug to improve their public persona. When the effects of cocaine withdrawal start, users may experience a crash as they enter a state of depression and fatigue without medication assisted treatment.
The nervous system relies on neurotransmitters for optimal functioning. Smoking cocaine disrupts the body’s natural production of these neurotransmitters by blocking their reuptake. Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter affected and is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward.
Cocaine floods the system with dopamine, creating a euphoric rush in users. The drug also increases heart rate and blood pressure, leading to a feeling of alertness and energy. As pleasurable as this experience may seem, it’s short-lived, and the body craves more.
The effects of this substance use wear off quickly, causing the user to experience a crash or low phase. Dopamine receptors become desensitized and stop responding to the drug, leading to feelings of depression and fatigue.
These highs and lows may be what makes cocaine so addictive. Users often become trapped in a cycle of continually trying to chase the initial high experienced with their first dose.
Unfortunately, cocaine is a highly addictive drug, and first-time users can become addicted quickly. Those dependent on it may experience serious withdrawal symptoms if they try quitting. These effects can range from depression to violent mood swings.
The Dangers of Cocaine on Human Physiology
The human body doesn’t need external help to produce dopamine. So, when cocaine floods the system with this neurotransmitter, it has dangerous implications for a person’s health.
It’s easy to tell when someone starts using cocaine, as it alters their behavior and physiology.
The drug causes the following side effects:
- Heart rate increase
Cocaine triggers your body’s fight-or-flight response as hormonal levels change.
- High blood pressure
A higher heart rate can cause the arteries in your body to constrict, increasing blood pressure.
- Respiratory issues
Cocaine can also cause problems with your breathing, as it raises the number of breaths per minute.
- Dilated pupils
Your pupils may become dilated because of cocaine use due to changes in the body’s release of hormones.
- Nausea and vomiting
Neurotransmitters are responsible for the way your body processes food and other substances. Cocaine can upset this balance, leading to nausea and vomiting.
Long-Term Health and Social Dangers of Cocaine
Cocaine use can also cause long-term health and social problems. The long term effects of cocaine include:
- Organ damage
Cocaine causes damage to the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and brain due to its effect on neurotransmitter activity.
Dependency and resistance to the drug increase with regular use, making it difficult to quit without help. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe, making it hard to stay away from cocaine.
- Mental health issues
Cocaine use can cause mental health problems such as psychosis, paranoia, and mania due to the changes it causes in neurotransmitter production.
- Social isolation
The drug has a powerful effect on your social life, leading to isolation from family and friends.
It’s a costly habit, as cocaine is an expensive drug, and those addicted to it may spend large amounts of money to maintain their habit.
Cocaine as an Illegal Substance
Parents need to be aware that cocaine is an illegal drug. The DEA reports that it’s a Schedule II drug in the US, meaning it has a high potential for abuse despite what cocaine does to your brain.
Parents need to talk to their children about the dangers of using illegal drugs like cocaine so they understand the consequences of their actions. They should know the facts even if they don’t think it’s an issue.
Understanding Cocaine Overdose: Can Cocaine Kill You?
Most people who overdose on cocaine don’t expect that it could happen to them. Drug addictions always start with minimal doses, but gradual resistance build-up leads to increased doses and more intense highs.
Toxic levels of the drug can affect a person’s breathing, leading to respiratory arrest and death. Other complications related to cocaine overdose include stroke, cardiac arrest, and seizures.
Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose
- Profuse sweating
- Panic attacks
- Increased risk of heart attack
Find Help for Cocaine Addiction with Pacific Palms Recovery
It’s good you know that you can overdose and the cocaine side effects it can bring. Cocaine use is a serious issue that many people struggle with, and substance abuse treatment is essential to prevent misuse.
If you or someone you know are struggling with cocaine abuse, please reach out for help from professionals at Pacific Palms Recovery. Our addiction treatment services seek to provide a safe and nurturing environment for recovery and life transformation.
Contact us today to learn more about treatment options and our addiction treatment program and how we can help you.