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The Rise of Cocaine In The United States

Cocaine and money

Cocaine’s Rise in The United States

A Deadly Addiction: Cocaine in America

Cocaine has become one of the most dangerous drugs in America and the world. It is an extremely addictive drug that is extracted from the exotic coca leaves. It was originally created to serve as a painkiller. It is believed that the coca leaves have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. However, the more current form of this drug has been intensely purified, which increases its effects and causes an almost immediate addiction. This has resulted in both, social and health concerns for the people in our country.

The Effects of Cocaine

The body develops a tolerance for cocaine fairly quickly. In most cases, people become hooked after their very first time. The “high” is so intense that addicts spend a great deal of time trying to re-create that original moment. Cocaine provides a short, but intense, sense of euphoria. People have also reported a sudden boost of energy, while depriving their bodies of any traditional forms of sustenance. This drug is known for its powerful hallucinogenic properties. People have reported seeing, hearing, and even feeling things that they knew were rationally impossible. Those who abuse cocaine have also exhibited an extreme loss of inhibitions. This causes unexplained sexual arousal and risky behavior. There are also some crucial side effects that are not quite as fun or pleasing, such as insomnia, violent behavior, and paranoia.

The Rise to Popularity

Cocaine has been a part of American culture for many years. People of all ages have fallen prey to this drug. In the late 1800s, doctors and trusted leaders promoted the use of cocaine because of its pleasing effects. Famous historical leaders, such as Thomas Edison, believed cocaine was the answer to depression. At one time, it was a key ingredient in one of our nation’s most popular soft drinks.

It was not until the 1920s that society began to recognize the dangers of abusing cocaine. Unfortunately, millions of citizens had already become addicted by this time. Although the government had banned any further use of the drug, many people continued to abuse cocaine.

In the 1970s, cocaine once again became popular among entertainers and business leaders. The effects of the drug seemed ideal for their demanding lifestyles. Soon, it was a symbol of status and wealth. Its highly addictive nature made it nearly impossible for the average person to afford it. Seeing the large financial possibilities, drug cartels initiated a mass distribution of cocaine to the United States and many other countries.

By the 1990s, law enforcement agencies began a nationwide crack-down on drug abuse, possession, and trafficking. Despite their efforts, cocaine remains one of the most common drugs among traffickers. Today, the distribution of cocaine is a multi-million dollar enterprise.

Health Risks

The use of cocaine can have damaging and life-threatening effects on the human body. These effects include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney damage
  • Respiratory failure
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Depression
  • Malnutrition
  • Frequent infectious diseases
  • Convulsions or seizures

The Creation of Crack

In the 1980s, an entirely different epidemic derived from cocaine. Drug dealers discovered a way to make the drug more affordable by turning the existing cocaine powder into a more solid state. It became known as “crack” because of the sound it made while cooking. Instead of snorting this form of the drug, it is lit in a glass pipe and smoked. Crack is much more potent and addictive. While it is still quite popular, the crack epidemic reached its historical peak around the year of 1985.

Crack abuse sparked a terrifying increase in gang-related crime and violence. Rivaling gangs would start an all-out turf war over the best neighborhoods to make money. Because it is less expensive than cocaine, people in poorer communities suffered the most. Not only are these people easy targets for gang members, but in many areas, the police are not a reliable source for safety. Thanks to the tireless efforts of state and federal law enforcement agencies, crack abuse and the subsequent threats to society have decreased. However, it remains a very serious issue in this country.

Cocaine and Crime

Over the years, addiction to cocaine has caused a significant increase in crime. A large percentage of our nation’s criminal behavior stems from drug-related activities. Eventually, it becomes challenging to find ways to support their cocaine addiction. Many people struggling with cocaine addiction refer to various forms of deviant behavior to support their habit. In order to come up with some money, people have been known to rob and steal. The victims of these crimes include convenience stores, homes, and even family members. Cocaine has also contributed to the influx of reported domestic abuse cases. This is mostly due to the sudden violent outbursts caused by the drug.

One of the most devastating crimes connected to the abuse of cocaine is those against innocent unborn babies. Newborns that were exposed to cocaine suffer from low birth weight, mental disabilities, and damage to the nervous system. Although it took a while for the medical community to become aware of the dangers, it is now against the law to abuse cocaine or any recreational drugs while pregnant.

Education and Awareness

In the past thirty years, schools and community leaders have striven to educate society on the dangers of cocaine and other drugs. One respected method is the Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or DARE, program. Founded in the early 1980s, this program utilizes trained and experienced police officers to spread the importance of drug prevention throughout the community. Teachers are also encouraged to become familiar with the DARE curriculum. Its headquarters is located in Inglewood, California, a city that was once a haven for drugs and gang activity. Because of advances in the medical community, doctors are also more active about sharing the risks of cocaine abuse.

Cocaine addiction in this country traces back over a hundred years. While the intentions and implications have changed, the risks and dangers are the same. Cocaine dependence is a very powerful thing. Thankfully, there is help for people suffering from this horrible condition. Of course, the best possible solution to our nation’s battle against drugs is prevention. This goal can only be reached by learning and accepting the naked truth about cocaine.