Cocaine(coke) abuse is a widespread epidemic in the United States and around the world. A 1997 study found that nearly 1.5 million people regularly abuse cocaine, and it is estimated that 10 percent of the world’s population has tried cocaine at least once in their lives. These statistics are thought to be extremely understated, as the Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates the current number of coke addicts at around 3.6 million people in the United States alone.
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that directly affects the brain. It is a stimulant, appetite suppressant and topical anesthetic. It is a very old drug and has been abused for over 100 years. Coke is made from the leaves of the coca plant but can also be made synthetically.
Cocaine is generally sold on the street as a fine, white, crystalline powder and is also known as “coke,” “snow” or “blow.” Street dealers typically dilute it with inert substances such as cornstarch, talcum powder, sugar, or with active drugs such as procaine or amphetamine. Coke can be eaten, snorted or injected, however snorting is the most common way to use the drug. Cocaine can also be processed into Crack and smoked.
Some signs of snorting coke are:
- Loss of the sense of smell
- nose bleeds
- difficulty swallowing
- chronically runny nose
Some behavioral signs that someone is addicted to cocaine are:
Serious health issues can result from dependency on cocaine. Some of these problems may include:
- respiratory effects, including respiratory failure
- nervous system problems, including strokes
- digestive problems
- contracting HIV and other diseases (by Injecting cocaine using shared needles)
- serious skin infections
- severe allergic reactions
Cocaine dependency is a very serious form of addiction, but it is entirely possible to quit abusing this drug with the proper support and treatment.