Cocaine, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIH), is one of the most commonly abused drugs. This addictive stimulant is from the dried leaves of coca plant, which is native to South America. It’s usually in a form of white powder, and users snort, smoke, or mix it with water and inject it in their vein.
The drug is a Schedule II stimulant, which means that it has a high potential for abuse. Salt Lake City substance abuse counseling centers also note that people can become addictive to it after first use.
Like any other addictive drugs, cocaine can change a person’s thinking and judgment. At first, cocaine shocks the brain, giving users an intense feeling of alertness, energy, and euphoria. The way the drug is taken can also produce different types of highs. Snorting produces a high that comes quickly, while smoking or snorting, offers a more intense high.
Short-term effects include heart palpitations, increased body temperature, and narrowed blood vessels. Using excessive amount of it can also cause people to behave erratically or become violent. Panic attacks, paranoia, and psychosis are also common.
As an extremely addictive drug, a user can easily develop cravings after taking cocaine the first time. Repeated use of the drug can result in developing tolerance or using more of the drug to get pleasure and highs. The worst part is this can put a person at risk of stroke, heart attack, or seizures.
Those who snort the drug for long-term can affect their nostrils or lose their sense of smell. Hoarseness and nosebleeds may also take place. Injecting the drug or sharing needles with others, meanwhile, heightens the risks of acquiring diseases like HIV or hepatitis.
Quitting cocaine can be extremely difficult. There is also no FDA-approved medicine for treating the addiction. Fortunately, cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, and community reinforcement approach can help people deal with drug abuse/addiction.