Cocaine is the most abused stimulant in America and is the reason for thousands of users visiting the emergency rooms due to overdose. This drug is considered to be a high society recreational drug. Some descriptions of it include yuppie drug, gold dust, Cadillac of drugs and status stimulant. Some of the street names are:
- Nose candy,
- and some forms are called speedball, crack cocaine and rock.
This substance has significant psychological addictive properties. Abuse of this drug spares no one regardless of age, race, religion, or profession as addiction is prevalent in all realms of society.
Cocaine Side-Effects and Symptoms Can be Serious
This is a powerfully addictive central nervous system stimulant that can be injected, smoked or snorted. It can make you feel energetic and euphoric and can increase blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate. The user is at risk for nausea, abdominal pain, strokes, seizures, heart attacks and sudden death, and these can occur with first-time users. This is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and can only be given by prescription from a doctor, however, as with many other controlled substances, it can be obtained illicitly, and the widespread abuse of this drug is rampant.
Is relapse from cocaine a high possibility?
How did this drug become so popular in the United States? Initially, it was obtained from coca leaves and was used by natives in the mountains of South America to help with respiratory distress suffered at those high altitudes. It gained popularity in the U.S. in 1880 when Sigmund Freud recognized the medical benefits that could be obtained from this drug for treating depression and sexual problems. In 1886, it was introduced as the main ingredient in a new soft drink called Coca-Cola. From then to the early 1900’s, it found its way into tonics, elixirs, and wines that were used by a large section of society. As awareness grew regarding the adverse effects of cocaine, it was removed from Coca Cola in 1903 and was eventually banned and added to the Dangerous Drug Act of 1920.
Just as in the early days, when famous people promoted this drug for public use, the same is true today. Many of the musical idols, movie stars, and, other celebrities often encourage the use the of it in their movies and songs or television series. This could have some effect on the number of teens who are willing to begin experimenting with it at such an early age. For some reason, many teens tend to trust the rich, famous people and want to emulate their lifestyles, and this often leads to devastating effects.
Cocaine Abuse: U.S. Rates Drop, But the Drug is Still a Problem
Trend Shifts since the 1980s
While cocaine use has decreased in the U.S. since the heyday of the 1980s and early 1990s, the related drug abuse still affects a significant portion of the national population. Cocaine abuse as of 2011, per the federal government statistics, measured 1.4 million users. While this only represents less than a half percent of the total population, it still includes enough people to make up a large city in most states.
First-time users measured 670,000 in 2011, and those known to be addicted to cocaine represent approximately 800,000 in the same year. Further, 25 people out 10,000 tested still show positive for cocaine use at work site testing. And overdose deaths are almost 4,200 in 2010. While these figures are lower than previous years, caveats are also included noting that the numbers are likely understated as some users are just not yet known in the system but still abuse cocaine on a regular basis. Further, the data doesn’t include incarcerated addicts as well as homeless.
Part of the reduction in cocaine abuse today has been credited with a generational shift away from the drug. Many in normal circles used cocaine on a regular basis to facilitate their fast-paced lifestyle and demands of working incredibly hard in the day and then socializing at night to stay networked. That lifestyle faded as many of those involved moved on in life from the crazy singles lifestyle in their 20s and 30s.
The the other main push reducing the supply of cocaine and making it hard to find been a partnership between the federal government and that of Columbia. This alliance has finally figured out a way to block and reduce the amount of cocaine shipping out of South America and into the U.S. Instead of focusing on farmers, the Columbian government shifted tactics and began focusing on the drug middleman and suppliers. So, in the aggregate, far less supply has made it to American streets. That makes it harder, in turn, to even find cocaine illegally. Demand measured in 2011 is down 40 percent versus previous years, notably reducing efforts of law enforcement chasing drug abusers and dealers as well. Where in some years Chicago law enforcement, for example, where dealing with almost 1 out of 2 suspects being related to cocaine somehow, the figure had now dropped to less than 19 percent in 2011.
Personal and Societal Impacts
Cocaine abuse still causes significant damage on those who habitually use the drug and become addicted. It affects health, social relationships, home relationships, marriage, work, the ability to function properly in activities, and one’s primary health. Over time, the stimulant also results in a significant restructure of brain activity and processing, affecting everything from how a person behaves to how he thinks and cognitively approaches issues. These effects vary depending on the type of cocaine, how it is ingested or taken in, and the amounts. While the withdrawal phase from cocaine abuse only takes a few weeks, the addiction stays latent. And many former users have noted an intense desired for the drug can be felt again years after going clean. As a result, treatment for cocaine abuse can often be a long-term medical process versus a simple outpatient procedure.
The societal costs of cocaine abuse are significant as well. While the U.S. level of cocaine abuse is dropping, Australia is rising, making it a good microcosm of cocaine impacts in 2013. Australian law enforcement, particularly coastal customs, have intercepted as much as 2 tons of illegal cocaine shipments from 2010 to date. That only includes the drug shipments stopped versus what has made it through to users. There was a time when the U.S. spending on cocaine reached as much as $38 billion in 1996. Now the country’s cocaine abuse puts us in sixth or fifth place, well behind the skyrocketing level of demand going on in Australia. That said, the U.S. still faces impacts of drug abuse every day.
In reaction to the 1980s and 1990s substance abuse, the federal government, as well as states, pushed for harsh criminal and legal penalties on abusers and dealers. As a result, prisons have now been stuffed to the gills with cocaine and other drug users and traffickers with hefty sentences at the federal level. The issue is so compacted now in the prisons, even the federal Department of Justice has now had to issue new guidelines on prosecution sentencing requests, reducing the number of years of prison asked for from the courts as punishment for drug-related crimes. The current 2013 Attorney General, Eric Holder, issued sentencing reform guidelines to Justice offices nationwide in August, to reduce “draconian mandatory minimum sentences” overcrowding the federal prisons.
Cocaine abuse, despite the overall drop in cases, still exists and, for those suffer from the addiction, the damage is real and ongoing. Treatment is available, but because of the nature of the addiction being long-term, in-patient treatment on a regular, scheduled basis is truly the most efficient way to get a grip on the problem for a patient. Outpatient approaches just don’t provide the platform consistently needed month after month to keep a patient from relapsing into addiction again. The U.S. law enforcement and court system are realizing that mere incarceration doesn’t solve the problem either. Long-term medical treatment is one of the few tools that efficiently works on cocaine abuse and will continue to be.
Don’t Wait Any Longer to Get Help
If you are suffering from addiction, call today and get on the road to recovery at a cocaine rehab.