You must have heard it; cocaine will take you to heaven. With the euphoric sensation offered by a single taste of cocaine, cocaine continues to be a temptress irresistible to many. It is as if this coke can live up to the slogan “Taste the feeling” more than the Coke beverage. Sadly, cocaine addiction is not purely about sheer joy. Cocaine addiction has consequences.
Heroin Statistics and Quick Facts
- Second, only to cannabis, cocaine is the most used illegal drug globally.
- Between 14 million to 21 million people at least used the drug each year and is highest in North America, Europe and South America in descending order.
- In 2013 alone, Cocaine use directly caused 4,300 deaths, a significant increase from 2,400 in 1990.
- The estimated U.S. cocaine market exceeded US$70 billion in street value for the year 2005
Truly, these numbers prove how cocaine is a tool for the decimation of entire humanity. If you feel you or your loved one is one of those million people who suffer from addiction daily, you should go ahead and read this article. If not, I still encourage you to do so for the sake of awareness.
Originally, coca (Erythroxylon coca) leaves have been chewed by different South American indigenous tribes, a practice still observed today. It was chewed to give strength and energy. Some evidence also suggests that it was mixed with saliva as an anesthetic when boring holes in the skull as treatment (a process known as trepanning). The strength-and-energy claims were first rejected by the Spanish colonialists, perceiving it as a work of the devil, until they discovered themselves and taxed the crop with 10% of the income.
The cocaine alkaloid in coca leaves was first extracted by the German scientist Friedrich Gaedcke who called the extract erythroxyline. This new alkaloid quickly garnered attention in the medical world. Various western scientists conducted studies including experiments about cocaine medical properties such as analgesic, respiratory anesthetic and many others, including an ophthalmic experiment by Karl Koller who applied a cocaine solution in his own eyes and pricked it with pins.
In 1859, cocaine was popularized and started an economic boom being sold as different products such as cocawine, cocaine dental drops, cocaine cigars and many others.
Apparently, by late Victorian Era, cocaine use was already viewed as a vice given the fact that it appeared in various literature as a vice (such as Sherlock Holmes’ use of cocaine to offset boredom).
Since 1961, recreational use of cocaine became a crime in many countries because of Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
Yea. Cocaine has a long history. What now?
“I use it for medical purposes”. That is what you will commonly hear from a person who suffered from cocaine addiction. While the history of cocaine is filled with medical wonders, most of these proclaimed medical purposes are not yet fully proven. Hence, abusing Cocaine for medical purposes is not enough excuse to shove into the face of addiction and say “I’m no addict. I use it for my health.” No matter your purpose, misuse of cocaine is addictive, harmful and can even be fatal. Laws such as Harrison Narcotics Tax Act did not exist for nothing.
Effects of Cocaine
“. . . supply the place of food, make the coward brave, the silent eloquent and render the sufferer insensitive to pain”
Parke-Davis Cocaine Manufacturer, 1885
Cocaine gives a person euphoria, confidence from somewhat illusionary competence, increased energy and motor activity alertness, perceived well-being and altered sexual desire. Depending on the way of administration and dosage, effects will typically last from fifteen minutes to an hour. With such pleasure-inducing and character-changing effects, an abuser will crave for more as the effects wear off thus leading to abuse. Sometimes, a person can become addicted unintentionally if they take cocaine medications with the wrong concentration of cocaine. Hence, it is vital to avoid buying medications with cocaine as active ingredients from shady dealers.
Adverse Effects of Cocaine Abuse and Overdose
Cocaine intoxication is characterized by itching, palpitation and hallucinations. Once cocaine effects wear off, it is also possible to experience anxiety and paranoia. The worst cases also manifested tremors, convulsion and increased body temperature.
Fatal Cocaine Effects
Cocaine has a cardiac sodium channel blocking effect which can cause cardiac death. In addition, it can cause hyperthermia, blood pressure elevation and arrhythmias which can be fatal.
Long-term Cocaine Abuse
Cocaine causes extreme disturbance to various neurotransmitters. Thus, it causes transmitters and receptors to come and go, appearing in cell surfaces then disappearing. Thus, this can wreak havoc in bodily functions relying on transmitters and hormones. For instance, it can cause insomnia, lethargy and runny nose which will never stop running. In fact, even depression may develop.
As the cell damages stack up, the abuser will develop tolerance therefore requiring higher doses of cocaine. In addition, signal-dependent functions start to become very damaging. Functions such as vasoconstriction, pupil dilation, body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate all becomes abnormal thus leading to deadly physical manifestations such as coughing up blood, bronchospasm, itching, fever, pulmonary eosinophilia, systemic eosinophilia, chest pain, lung trauma, sore throat, asthma, hoarse voice, dyspnea, and hemorrhagic and ischemic strokes. Worst, cocaine drastically increases the chance of autoimmune diseases such as vasculitis and Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a disease that will literally cause your skin to detach.
If diseases that will kill a person will not stop them, how about conditions that will ruin their aesthetics? Cocaine can degrade the cartilage between the nostrils if inhaled. It can degrade the enamel of the teeth if chewed. Wherever you put cocaine, misusing it is a surefire way to make yourself ugly and a likely target of the grim reaper.