Cocaine Is Not As Glamourous As Many People Think

Cocaine has reputation for being a glamourous drug; the drug of choice among yuppies. It’s one of the most popular drugs on the street, with addicts ranging from school kids to successful business professionals and homeless people. It ranges from the super-expensive, very pure to the super-cheap, cut with talcum powder (and, shockingly, ashes from crematoriums). It’s been used in cough syrup for infants and even had a brief stint as an ingredient in the most well-known cola in the world. It’s the scourge of many a country, with the US engaged in a constant, epic battle against cocaine and its close relation, crack.

Why is it so popular?

Like most illegal drugs, cocaine makes people feel good. It stimulates the nervous system, producing a dopamine (and other neurotransmitter) overload so that users feel euphoric, highly energised and all-powerful.

It’s popular among certain segments of the population because it suppresses the appetite.

It’s omnipresent and easy to get hold of.

It doesn’t have the stigma of other hard drugs, like heroin and LSD.

The physical effects

The brilliant highs only last about 30 minutes (occasionally longer, depending on the size of the dose and the purity of the drug) and the body quickly develops a cocaine tolerance. So, users use more cocaine more often to maintain the good feeling. This leads to increased heart rate and high blood pressure, and can result in seizures, strokes, brain damage and heart failure.

Long-term use can lead to severe health problems on several levels:

  • People who snort cocaine suffer damage to their delicate nasal tissue; this can be annoying in the form frequent nose bleeds and constant drips or more severe, like complete nasal perforation and the degradation of the septum.
  • Chronic cocaine users and binge users increase their risk of heart attack and strokes.
  • Cocaine can cause kidney failure.
  • It can cause bowel gangrene and ulcers.
  • It can lead to paranoid psychosis.
  • As an appetite suppressant, it can lead to malnutrition and all of the problems inherent with that condition.

The cure

Like all addictions, there is no cure – not really. It’s all about management. For people to manage their addictions they need the support of friends and family and, more often than not, a stint in a rehab centre. Rehab centres provide the facilities necessary to help addicts overcome physical dependence and withdrawal. They use holistic therapies to help addicts understand the reasons behind their addiction and provide the tools necessary to help addicts find healthy coping mechanisms for life’s problems.

Many people find it relatively easy to overcome their addiction, while others will spend some time hopping in and out of rehab centres before they give their problems the boot.

The important thing to remember is that there is always hope, as long as addicts are willing to try.

This guest post was written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Ramot, an alcohol and drug rehab centre that offers group therapy and spiritual counselling in drug addiction treatment.

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