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:
- 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
How Cocaine Addiction Impacts America
Those who begin experimenting with cocaine do so for the substance’s short-term benefits. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much before this pattern of behavior becomes addictive. Even worse, long-term abuse of cocaine carries with it multiple debilitating health risks, ranging from a loss of sense of smell to life-threatening bowel decay.
The substantial dangers associated with cocaine use make the scope of the national problem all the more disturbing:
- More than 1.5 million Americans aged 12 or older used cocaine in 2014 alone, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).
- Cocaine overdose deaths across the nation saw a significant increase from 2010 to 2015, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
- The 2011 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report noted that 1 in 3 illicit drug-related emergency department visits nationwide involved cocaine.
- A 2016 NIDA study found that nearly 4 percent of high school seniors reported using cocaine at least once in their lives.
How Cocaine Addiction Impacts Maryland
While addiction poses a major threat to public health nationwide, each state has its own unique challenges when it comes to substance abuse. Cocaine abuse in particular is on the rise in Maryland, as is the number of deaths related to cocaine overdose.
It is also important to recognize that the demographics for cocaine use in Maryland are evolving. Relevant strategies for treating cocaine addiction will be necessary to combat these shifts in drug abuse occurring across the state.
The following stats and facts give you an idea of the cocaine abuse landscape in Maryland:
- Roughly 3 percent of high school students in Maryland have used cocaine one or more times, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Statewide cocaine-related deaths have increased annually since 2014, reports the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
- Cocaine deaths among Marylanders aged 45 to 54 years old are on the rise, especially among men.
Effective Cocaine Treatment at Maryland Recovery
Maryland Recovery’s approach to addiction recovery focuses on making sure that clients are fully prepared to return to their daily lives following treatment. In Bel Air, Maryland, we specialize in providing the highest level of “residential outpatient” care to our clients, including the use of unique holistic therapies.
By combining the structure and accountability of inpatient therapy with the long-term goals of outpatient treatment, we offer our clients a unique opportunity to end their battle with cocaine addiction for good.