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3 Ways Cocaine Can Ruin Your Life

3 ways

3 ways Cocaine can Ruin Your Life

The effects of cocaine on the body can be devastating, leading to serious health problems, social dysfunction, mental instability, legal prosecution and exorbitant costs. Cocaine use has been recognized as one of the most dangerous drugs in the black market drug trade today, responsible for thousands of fatalities and destroyed lives. Cocaine use can negatively impact major areas of one’s lifestyle and it is important to know the downsides of its use, or more importantly, its abuse.

Cocaine comes from the leaves of the Erythroxylum coca bush as a purified extract. The plant originates from the South American Andes region. Two main forms of cocaine are distinguished: the powdered, water-solvable variety can be injected by use of a hypodermic needle or it can be snorted; while crack or rock cocaine, manufactured by a chemical process, is typically smoked or freebased. Both variations are highly addictive, causing the user to ingest more frequent amounts as the addiction term lengthens.

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that cocaine abuse has risen to epidemic proportions, resulting in 34.9 million Americans over the age of 12 having used cocaine in their life.
  • Reports also indicate that 7.9 million persons have used crack.
  • Approximately 2.3 million persons confessed to using cocaine during the previous 30 days, with more than half a million reporting crack usage.
  • Some users may inject up to 30 times a day, unlike heroine which might require only 2 doses a day to satiate the craving.

Way 1: Health and Physiological Downsides

Whether cocaine is injected or snorted, the results are almost instantaneous. The chemical enters directly into the bloodstream or through the nasal passages. Cocaine travels quickly to the brain and produces a feeling of euphoria by short-circuiting the neurotransmitters which are the brain nerves that communicate with each other. Frequent use can cause the following risks:

  • Damage to the sensitive inner lining of the nasal passage, causing hemorrhaging, acute sinus irritation, perforation of the nasal cavities and scaring. The use of intravenous injections poses the risk of Hepatitis C and HIV transmitted infections, leading to bacterial propagation of the musculature and skin. Injections frequently causes deep bruising and abscess to the tissue which cause an unsightly and unhealthy combination.
  • Cocaine directly stimulates the heart by raising the blood pressure and increasing its rate. The arteries undergo a restriction, robbing the heart of the blood supply and elevating the blood pressure to dangerous levels. Depending upon the chemical additives to cocaine, commonly called the “cut”, or the amount or potency of the drug, the end result can lead to a heart attack. The heart rhythm becomes abnormal, causing arrhythmia which disrupts the timing of the heart valves. Fatality via cocaine is commonly caused by overdose or a mixture and reaction to other drugs or alcohol in the system. Young persons in perfect health and with no history of heart problems can succumb to a heart attack within seconds or minutes of ingestion.
  • Like the arteries and blood vessels in the cardiovascular system, the circulatory system in the brain can also become restricted from cocaine use, cutting off the blood flow to important areas of brain function. Any blockage or collapse of a blood vessel or artery that supplies the brain, coupled with high blood pressure, can cause a fatal stroke. At the very least, it can induce seizures and promote violent behavior. Prolonged use can trigger paranoia and hallucinations, bouts of illogical thinking and other abnormal mental behavior.
  • Smoking cocaine, typical of crack abuse, directly affects the health and condition of the respiratory system and lungs. The combustion products of cocaine when inhaled include particles that may become lodged in the alveolar area of the lungs, destroying the tissue. Symptoms of cocaine inhalation can produced acute coughing spells, wheezing, the acceleration of asthma, chest pain, hemoptysis and dyspnea. Large quantities of carbon pigment often accumulate in the bronchial passages of persons who have a long history of crack abuse. Excessive amounts of scared or destroyed tissue in the lungs and pulmonary system accelerate the possibility of cancer.
  • The gastrointestinal tract can suffer from the abuse of cocaine by severe blood vessel constriction in the gut. This cuts off oxygen to the tissue, resulting in ulcerations that damage the stomach lining or produce perforations that may induce uncontrolled bleeding. Lesser symptoms include cramps, indigestion, loss of appetite, vomiting and nausea. The damage to the gastrointestinal tract is accelerated with the additional use of alcohol and tobacco smoking.
  • The adverse effects of cocaine on the kidneys (renal system) can be severe and sudden. The rise in blood pressure coupled with the lack of blood circulation to the kidneys can result in rhabdomyolysis, a condition that breaks down the tissue and produces toxic byproducts. Once the toxic byproducts reach the kidneys, they can cause immediate failure of the organs. Persons suffering from diabetes and use cocaine can suffer acute toxic shock, requiring immediate medical attention and dialysis.
  • Although cocaine has been popularly tagged as an aphrodisiac, its effect on sexual function can be impacted negatively in both men and women. It can prolong the act, making the love session frustrating and unfulfilled. Men can suffer impaired or delayed ejaculation.

Way 2: Legal Issues

The use of cocaine is illegal and falls under the Controlled Substances Act which prohibits its use and distribution. Although instances of teen arrests can be handled more leniently by the court system, adults can face up to 2 to 3 years in prison, a fine and probation. It is considered a felony in almost all cases of arrest and conviction. Depending upon the circumstances and the amount found on a person, the jail term can even extend up to 10 years in special cases. Serving any amount of time in a county or state prison can disrupt one’s lifestyle, putting homes, jobs and marriages at risk. Once a felony conviction has been decided by the court, the charge stays on the criminal record history of the individual.

The process for getting cocaine conviction expunged from the record can be a time-consuming and costly venture, requiring lawyers and multiple court appearances. Such a conviction will severely limit job opportunities with corporations and companies that perform criminal history background checks. Top secret clearance and working in city, state or government security-related fields may be impossible.

Way 3: Social Negatives

The stigma that follows cocaine use or abuse can be negative, impacting all walks of life. Persons suspected of cocaine use or possession may not need a conviction for an employer to suddenly dismiss them from their job for illegal conduct and behavior. The addictive qualities of cocaine often lead the user to lie, cheat and steal to support the habit, either landing them in legal problems or alienating family, friends and relatives. Such behavior forces the user to avoid normal social contacts in favor of mingling with other drug users who continue to use and sell the drug.

The cost of even a mediocre addiction can be staggering since users become obsessed with the next dose. The sacrifice in procuring cocaine can lead to aggressive, antisocial behavior in all of their personal associations. Cocaine users can fail to meet deadlines from lack of sleep, use illogical judgment in normal, simple every-day applications. A user’s appearance can suffer, resulting in long bouts without bathing and regular hygiene. They often succumb to malnutrition and contract serious dental diseases from calcium deficiency brought on by cocaine use. Bills can pile up. Lawsuits can be levied against them for ignoring credit card debt and other legal commitments.

All in all, cocaine use produces a never-ending downward spiral in every facet of life. The destructive consequences can take years or decades to overcome. It is strongly advised that anyone who suffers from the use or addiction to cocaine contact and enroll in a professional rehab program where they can obtain the help and guidance they need.

Sources

  1. Livestrong.com: Dangers of Crack Cocaine
  2. WebMD: Cocaine Use and Its Effects