Understanding Cocaine Addiction

While cocaine addiction currently impacts many regions of the United States, many individuals are unaware of the full scope of the problem. This lack of accessible information can make it difficult for loved ones to recognize when a friend or family member is struggling with cocaine addiction. In reality, cocaine addiction comes in many forms and has severe consequences for those who continue abusing the substance.

Types of Cocaine Abuse to Be Aware Of

One of the reasons that cocaine addiction can be difficult to understand is because the drug can be administered and ingested in a variety of ways. Cocaine users may use one or multiple administration strategies, based on the individual’s tolerance levels and history with the drug:

  • Insufflation: Individuals most commonly ingest cocaine in its powder form by snorting it into the nasal cavity. Once snorted, the powder is naturally absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • Consumption: It is common for those abusing cocaine in its powder form to consume the substance orally. Users will rub cocaine directly onto their gums to experience its effects more rapidly.
  • Inhalation: Cocaine is commonly processed into a rock crystal, colloquially referred to as “crack” or “crack rocks,” to streamline sale and distribution. Crack is ingested by burning the crystal and inhaling the subsequent vapors.

Short- and Long-term Effects of Cocaine Use

Cocaine is especially dangerous compared to other commonly abused illegal drugs because of its deadly combination of short- and long-term health impacts. The rapid onset of physical dependency and severe withdrawal symptoms that characterize cocaine abuse make it very difficult to convince an individual to stop taking the drug after unhealthy patterns have already begun.

Short-term effects of cocaine abuse include, but are not limited to:

  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Elevated heartbeat
  • Constricted blood vessels

Long-term consequences of cocaine abuse include:

  • Loss of sensory function
  • Life-threatening changes to blood flow
  • Increased exposure to blood-borne diseases
  • Parkinson’s disease
1.5 Million Americans Used Cocaine In 2014 – Maryland Recovery