Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is very hazardous to one’s health. 14% of adults in the United States have tried cocaine and statistics show that in 2011 there were an estimated 3,628,000 Americans aged 12 or older that had used cocaine. Adults between the ages of 18 to 25 have a higher rate of cocaine use than any other group and men are said to use cocaine more than women.
Other names for cocaine are blow, bump, C, candy, charlie, coke, and snow. Side effects of coke include an increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils, and increased body temperature. Sometimes seizures, cardiac arrest and even death are associated with cocaine use. Prolonged use of cocaine intranasally can cause scabs to form on the mucus membranes; which in turn damages the nasal septum which is the thin wall that separates the left and right nostrils. This eventually makes the users nose collapse. When cocaine is combined with alcohol the risk of sudden death is even greater.
Cocaine is responsible for many drug related emergency room visits. Coke acts very quickly on the brain; it targets as well as over-stimulates the brain’s natural way of perceiving pleasure. Cocaine blocks the chemicals serotonin and dopamine from being properly absorbed in the brain, which leads to the pleasurable, euphoric or high feeling users describe. When using cocaine most describe feeling high energy, feelings of supremacy, and an elevated mood. Cocaine use also decreases the need for sleep and food and can cause irritability, anxiety, panic paranoia, temporary states of paranoid psychosis and restlessness when users are going through withdrawal. If withdrawal occurs it is considered a “crash” which can last or hours or days. The user experiencing this “crash” may lose the ability to feel pleasure but eventually with the proper care this will come back.