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Cocaine Abuse and Addiction

Made popular in the late 1970's and early 1980's, cocaine continues to wreak havoc on the United States.

It is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, increasing crime rates, packed prisons, wrecked families, and the degradation of everything that is good and lovely about the human experience.

If you or someone you love is abusing cocaine, you're in for a fight.

This addiction is a very serious disease that requires ongoing treatment and strong support. Make no mistake about it, cocaine addiction is a very difficult habit to kick. People who get hooked on coke typically struggle with their addiction for years and experience devastating consequences before they get help for their problem.

Cocaine abuse and deception go hand in hand. To fight the good fight, you need to be armed with the truth. Knowing what you're up against is important if you want to experience victory over a substance many people refer to as the work of the devil.

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Street Names of Cocaine

On the streets, cocaine goes by many names. Depending on where you live, cocaine can also be referred to as:

  • Kokain
  • Bazooka
  • Bernice
  • Blizzard
  • Caviar
  • Cecil
  • Charlie
  • Cocaina
  • Coke
  • Cola
  • Dama blanca
  • Flake
  • Freezer
  • Girl
  • Heaven
  • Hell
  • Nose candy
  • Rock
  • Sleighride
  • Star-spangled powder
  • Stardust
  • Snow
  • Toot
  • Toke
  • White girl or lady
  • Yeyo 

To stay under the radar, the street names of cocaine are constantly changing. Many of these changes also come from popular songs and movies.

There are two types of cocaine. There is the white powered substance also known as white, powder, coke, or blow. Powered cocaine is either snorted up the nose or diluted with water and injected with a needle. There is also crack. This is the rocked, smokeable form of cocaine, also known as rock, hard, dope, or work. 

Coke is a highly addictive substance that affects millions of people in the United States and around the world. Many people liken cocaine addiction as a scenic tour of hell on earth. It is an expensive habit that always ends in devastation. White destroys the life of the person abusing it. It rips families apart. It causes societal disruption by inciting crime and violence. Cocaine addiction always ends badly. 

To put things into perspective, here are some alarming statistics about cocaine addiction in the United States: 

  • Cocaine is the second most trafficked drug in the world. Marijuana is the first.
  • The United States is the number one importer of powder.
  • Blow is the most frequently reported illegal drug by hospital emergency departments with more than 25 percent of all drug-related ER visits resulting from cocaine use.
  • Experts suggest that children are now beginning to experiment with cocaine as early as age 12.
  • Reports indicate that about 25 percent of American adults age 26-34 have tried white at least once.
  • Cocaine is a 35 billion a year industry for the country of Columbia, where most cocaine is cultivated.
  • About 1.5 million Americans use powder or crack at least once a month.
  • Approximately 15,000 Americans die every year from cocaine-related deaths.

The Ugly Truth About Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is the most addictive substance known to man. When it comes to this addiction, Rick James said it best, "Cocaine is a hell of a drug." Many people compare being addicted to powder or crack with demonic possession. It's as if the drug grabs you by the soul, takes hold, and causes you to do things you would never do if you weren't under its control. Whether you believe in demons or not, if you're a cocaine addict, you know what it means to be powerless. 

A research study conducted in the 1990's reported everything you need to know about an addiction to blow. Of course - as most research studies do - it involved the use of lab rats. The rats were placed in cages with three feeding tubes made available to them. One contained food, one contained water, and one contained diluted cocaine. The rats would self-administer the drug until they died, never once touching their food or water. Every single rat. Every single time. 

This is the ugly truth about cocaine addiction.

Why is Cocaine So Addictive?

When someone uses white, here is what happens: the brain is flooded with feel-good chemicals. This causes the cocaine high, which is described as an extreme sense of euphoria. This high is unlike the high experienced from any other drug. People high on crack or powder believe they can do anything. More than one person has plummeted to their untimely death because they jumped off a building believing they could fly while high on rock or powdered cocaine.

Cocaine Addiction Resouces

The thing is, the cocaine high is short-lived. It isn't long before these feel-good chemicals become depleted.

This is the crash. The crash makes the user feel extremely depressed, even suicidal. The solution? More cocaine! This cycle continues. It is known as the disease of addiction. 

The disease of addiction is characterized by a brain that has become dependent on a mind or mood-altering substance. Cocaine has devastating consequences for the brain.When the disease of addiction is present, the brain cannot operate at its normal, healthy state without the presence of the drug. The brain and the body are dependent on the drug to function. This induces the addictive cycle. 

There was an anti-drug commercial put out in the early 1990's that explains the cycle of cocaine addiction. It goes a little something like this: I need to do more coke, so I can work harder, so I can make more money, so I can do more coke. On and on it goes. This is how the cycle of addiction operates. 

Without an intervention of some kind, cocaine addiction will continue. There is no known cure for addiction.Coke and crack addicts cannot stop using this drug on sheer willpower, but recovery is possible with treatment and ongoing support.

Signs You Might Be Abusing Crack or Addicted to Powdered Cocaine

If you are using blow or crack at least once a month, you are abusing this substance. Of course, you are probably telling yourself otherwise. "I can handle it." "It's not a problem." "I have it under control." "I only use it on the weekends." Sound familiar? 

You need only look at the relationship between cocaine and every human being who has ever used it to understand how this addiction develops. It happens with recreational use, which develops into dependence, which becomes addiction. 

Denial is a powerful thing. You may be lying to yourself about your use and not even realize it. Here's a dose of reality to help get your mind right. 

Signs you may be abusing white or crack: 

  • You use it even though you planned not to.
  • You go on binges, using blow or dope for several days at a time without food or sleep.
  • You spend a lot of money on coke.
  • You place your safety and your freedom in jeopardy to get the drug.
  • You sniff, smoke, or shoot cocaine alone.
  • You have extreme cravings for coke, which drives you to go buy more.
  • You have stopped hanging around friends and family to use the drug.
  • You feel regret and remorse after using cocaine.
  • You want to stop using coke, but you find that you cannot do it alone.

The Chemical Makeup of Cocaine

Cocaine is a solid benzoid acid ester that is also a local anesthetic. It’s usually colorless or comes in the form of white crystals or powder. This crystal has potent addictive qualities, which is why it is no longer used in medical settings. 

Cocaine attaches to dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine receptors in the central nervous system (CNS). This activity causes cocaine to not only have an anesthetic effect, but also a euphoric effect. The drug works by attaching to voltage-gated sodium channels in the neuronal membrane. This inhibits nerve impulses, which causes a reversible loss of sensation.

Cocaine is made from coca leaves. The active ingredient is extracted from the leaves using one of two methods: solvent extraction or acid extraction. 

To put it simply, the coca leaves are picked and processed into a paste. The paste is then purified in order to produce a type of paste which can be turned into cocaine hydrochloride. This is the powdered form of cocaine. 

Here’s a basic gist of how cocaine is made: 

  1. Coca leaves are plucked and dried. The leaves are ready when they become brittle. This is important because the leaves will rot if they are not completely dry. The leaves are then ground down and processed until they become a crude paste.
  2. The active ingredient in the coca paste is then extracted through one of the following techniques: 

Solvent extraction process

Ground coca leaves are dusted with an inorganic base like carbonate salt or lime. Water is then added to the process, along with an organic solvent like gasoline or kerosene. This will turn the coca paste into a slurry. This solution will separate cocaine from the leaves. To extract cocaine from the slurry, the slurry is heated before going through an entire process that involves filtering, pressing or siphoning the cocaine from the mixture. This mixture is then mixed with dilute sulfuric acid. This separates the organic solvent and leaves behind a solution with cocaine sulfate. Cocaine sulfate is then further processed until it becomes coca paste.

The efficiency of this stage will depend on:

  • How fine the coca leaves have been chopped
  • The length of time that the slurry has been left to sit

Acid extraction process

Dried coca leaves are mixed with dilute sulfuric acid. This mixture is then stomped on for 1 to 2 hours. The sulfuric acid will actually convert coca leaves to cocaine sulfate. This mixture is then heated and filtered. The acid extraction process involves 3 to 5 stages. More dilute sulfuric acid will need to be mixed into the solution, which needs to be stomped again. At the final stage, lime or carbonate is added into the acid. This creates a mixture that has a paste-like consistency, which will be mixed with kerosene and allowed to sit for some time. The final product is then filtered to create a paste.

Coca paste is transformed into a powder, which is also known as cocaine hydrochloride. This form of cocaine is what drug dealers sell. This purification process involves dilute sulfuric acid and potassium permanganate. 

Coca farmers will usually receive anywhere from $1.30 to $3.00 per kilogram of coca leaves. In general, 1 kilogram of cocaine base takes 450 to 600 kilograms of coca leaves to make. A brick of coke will cost about $1,800.

To make more money, most drug dealers will buff cocaine with other mixing agents. With each hand that the coke passes through, more and more mixing agents will be added to the coke. Buffing the product stretches profit. 

For example, if your dealer was to purchase a brick of pure coke for $18,000, he may buff it with equal parts of another agent. This means that he’ll end up with 2 bricks, which has a value of $36,000. The buffing agent may cost him only $1,000 or $2,000. Your dealer effectively doubled his profits. 

Some popular ingredients that cocaine is mixed with include:

  • Benzocaine
  • Boric acid
  • Caffeine
  • Creatine
  • Fentanyl
  • Laxatives
  • Levamisole
  • Lidocaine
  • Mannitol
  • Novocaine 

Some of these mixing agents will magnify the effects of cocaine. As a result, they can increase the drug user’s risk of overdosing. The drug interactions may also cause significant damage to your internal organs.

It’s almost impossible to figure out what buffing agents are added to cocaine. As coke is not regulated by the government, this makes abusing this substance even more dangerous. 

How Is Cocaine Metabolized

Regardless of how cocaine is introduced into your body, your liver will be the primary organ that metabolizes it. Your liver is responsible for metabolizing most substances that you ingest. It’s also one of the primary organs responsible for metabolizing alcohol

Your liver will break down cocaine into smaller compounds that can be easily transported and excreted. Once cocaine is broken down into smaller metabolites, these metabolites will exit the body via urination. 

Cocaine metabolizes into two main forms: benzoylecogonine and ecgonine methyl ester. It also breaks down into some smaller compounds, which include meta-hydroxy-benzoylecgonine, para-hydroxy-benzoylecgonine and nor-benzoylecgonine.

Benzoylecogonine is the main metabolite of cocaine, and has a molecular formula of C16H19NO4. Most cocaine drug tests will look for this compound, as it has a considerably longer half-life than cocaine. The liver metabolizes cocaine into benzolyecogonine via a catalytic reaction using carboxylesterases.

Ecgonine methyl ester, also known as methyl ecgonine, is a major metabolite of cocaine. This substance is an opioid analgesic that can produce analgesic effects. It can also cause users to feel drowsy or moody. This metabolite, in its active form, can also relieve pain without the loss of consciousness.

Drug Interactions

Mixing cocaine and various other drugs and substances is never a good idea. The two substances can magnify the effects of one another. This means that a lower dosage can have a tremendous impact on the body and mind. 

Some substances can also mask the effects of the other. This can cause a drug user to take more of each substance, which increases their risk of overdosing. 

Different drugs will interact in unique ways with cocaine. Below we’ll explore some common combinations.

It’s not a secret that cocaine is a popular party drug. You can easily find it at raves, clubs and bars. Many people do a line of coke when they drink because it helps them drink more. Mixing cocaine and alcohol will also produce more pronounced effects for both substances. 

The reason why mixing alcohol and cocaine is dangerous is because they have different effects. Alcohol is a depressant. It relaxes the central nervous system (CNS). On the other hand, cocaine is a stimulant that kicks the CNS into high gear. When mixed together, each substance will suppress the effects of the other. This will cause a person to drink more and do more cocaine. This increases one’s risk of overdosing. 

Alcohol also slows down cocaine metabolization by about 20%. This means that it’ll stay in the body for a much longer period of time. It also causes the liver to produce a dangerous byproduct that is damaging to the body.  

If you drink alcohol while taking cocaine, your liver will also produce a substance known as cocaethylene. This psychoactive substance has chemical and pharmacological properties that are similar to cocaine. The difference is that cocaethylene has a plasma half-life that is three to five times that of cocaine

Cocaethylene is incredibly dangerous. Not only is this compound linked with seizures, liver damage and a weakened immune system, but it also carries an 18- to 25- fold increase in risk for immediate death.   

When alcohol is consumed at the same time as cocaine, approximately 20% of cocaine will not get properly metabolized. After two hours, the liver will start to produce cocaethylene. This compound will then be released into the bloodstream where it can then travel to the brain. This substance has an increased toxicity than alcohol or cocaine.

Another popular combination is marijuana and cocaine. Some drug users think that mixing the two can lead to either a better high or fewer side effects. This is, unfortunately, not true. Those who mix cocaine and marijuana together are much more likely to experience dangerous side effects. 

Marijuana can mask the effects of cocaine causing substance users to take more of the drug. Due to this reason, those who mix cocaine and marijuana together are much more likely to overdose. They are also more likely to experience a cardiac arrest, as they will damage their cardiovascular system much more easily.

It’s also important to note that mixing marijuana and cocaine will lower your inhibitions and impair your judgment. This may cause you to feel more confident in doing more weed or cocaine. Another thing to note is that marijuana can change your perception of time, so you might do more coke over a short period of time.

Drug addicts have mixed heroin and cocaine for years. This concoction is also known as a “speedball”. Both of these substances have opposite effects on one another. Cocaine is a stimulant, while heroin is a depressant. Most drug addicts will take a speedball in order to get a more intense high. The contrasting effects of both substances will also reduce the negative effects associated with each drug.   

Unfortunately, mixing heroin and cocaine together is especially dangerous. In fact, it’s responsible for an increasing amount of overdoses. Combining heroin and cocaine can lead to incoherence, confusion, blurred vision, stupor and paranoia, It can also increase the drug user’s risk of experiencing respiratory failure. Cocaine will wear off much more quickly. As a reason, the drug abuser may then feel the full effects of the heroin that they took. This can result in an overdose. 

Nowadays, heroin is often being replaced by fentanyl, which is a potent prescription opiate. Fentanyl is much more potent than heroin, so it can lead to even more devastating effects. It is a much cheaper alternative. However, since it is still an opioid, many drug users don’t notice that they’re getting heroin.

Cocaine in the News

Being one of the most popular drugs out there, it's no surprise and wonder that cocaine is a hot topic. This drug is constantly on the news. We always hear about people trying to smuggle or traffick this drug in large quantities. Most cocaine in America comes from South America. It slowly gets smuggled into the US by drug mules. 

Cocaine use is becoming an epidemic in not only America, but in almost every major city in the world. It’s a fairly hot topic. Everyone is still trying to figure out what they can do to stop this drug epidemic from continuing to grow. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent US headlines that feature cocaine.

Most criminals and smugglers try to smuggle cocaine into the country by sea. In recent news, a Miami-Dade man was caught with $312,000 worth of cocaine, or 12 kilograms. Eugene Russell, a 51-year old man living in Hialeah and Homestead, was convicted for importing and possessing with intent to distribute more than five kilos of cocaine. 

How was he caught? 

On June 2, US Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Branch witnessed two boats near Concrete Barge in Bimini Bahamas. It appeared like one of the boats was fueling the other. When a Customs and Border agent stopped Russell’s boat, they found Russell with one fishing rod. He claimed that he boated out from Miami and was going fishing. 

His story was too fishy. All Russell had was a fishing rod. There was no hook or bait attached. The agents found a cooler with large amounts of fish, bottles of water and ice. When they tore down the walls of the cooler, they found 12 brick-like packages hidden in the walls. These packages were all stuffed with cocaine.

It’s hard to stop the drug epidemic. Every day, there’s always someone trying to either smuggle in or move large quantities of cocaine. A Texan man was arrested at a Mississippi traffic stop for possessing more than $1 million in cocaine! That’s no small amount.

$1 million of cocaine is over 75 pounds of it. The driver was a 46-year-old man. He has since been booked into Rankin County jail in Brandon. He doesn’t appear to have an attorney yet, and he also has not appeared in court yet.

Surprisingly, this is not the only Texan to get busted with trafficking cocaine. In November 2018, South Texas border entry agents seized more than $2 million worth of cocaine from a truck. That’s 240 pounds of coke!

Celebrities who Have Used Cocaine

Cocaine is a drug that can be abused by everyone and anyone. If you’ve ever watched The Wolf of Wall Street, then you’ll know that this drug can be abused by even the most successful people in America. Businessmen, politicians and even celebrities have been known to misuse and abuse this drug.

Let’s take a look at some popular celebrities who have been busted for using or possessing cocaine.

Artie Lange is a rising star in the comedy world. He’s incredibly popular for his act and jokes. Recently, Artie Lange was booked into Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, N.J. for cocaine possession. He was not arrested, but was held in jail for a few days before he would be relocated to a long-term treatment program. 

Lange, who is on a four-year probation, tested positive for cocaine and opioids not once, but twice. He had even recently shared a photo of his nose, which has become badly damaged after years of cocaine misuse. In Lange’s mugshot, his nose is even bleeding.

Surprisingly, one of America’s favorite singers, Lady Gaga, had once abused cocaine. Her road to fame had not been an easy one. She was once signed to Hip Hop label Def Jam Recordings, who also promptly dropped her. She even had to work in a strip club to help fund her career. As her hopes started to shatter, she turned to cocaine to help her through soulless nights. 

Fortunately, Lady Gaga was saved by her father. He helped her get clean and get her career back on the right track.

Netflix Shows Featuring Cocaine

It appears that America and the rest of the world are obsessed with learning more and more about cocaine. Many Netflix shows, like El Chapo, highlight cocaine use, abuse and trafficking. If you have some time on your hands and would like to binge through some shows with cocaine, here are some selections to consider.

Cocaine Coast is a conventional tale of cops and robbers. It has some historical truth to it, as the show is based in the 1980s of the Galician coastline. Almost 80% of all cocaine that reached Europe during this time arrived through this coastline. 

The story follows a young fisherman’s prosperous journey as he started to smuggle cocaine into the country. This wasn’t uncommon during this time. Galicia was struggling with an economic downturn. Many unemployed fishermen were turning to drug smuggling in order to put food on the table. Many of these fishermen would quickly realize just how profitable this operation could become.

This drama series has caught a lot of attention, and is one of the most highly watched series on Netflix. It features the chronicles of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. There are currently 3 seasons to this show, with the latest season released just recently. 

This show looks at El Chapo’s entire career. It starts off with his early days in the 1980s working for the Guadalajara Cartel. It then follows him as he rises to power during the 90s and even features his downfall in 2016.

If you’re looking for another dramatic television show, then you can’t go wrong with Narcos. This Netflix series produced is set and filmed in Colombia. It follows the true story of another well-known cocaine drug lord, Pablo Escobar. Escobar became a billionaire by producing and distributing cocaine. This Netflix series follows Escobar’s life and his interactions with other cartels, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and more.

Don’t only focus on the dramas and the television shows. You should also consider watching some documentaries. Cocaine is perhaps one of the most educational and insightful documentaries that you can watch on cocaine. This documentary follows the impact of the cocaine epidemic on citizens of Peru, Brazil and Colombia. It then follows the impact higher up in the chain by featuring some powerful drug lords.

Do you want to learn more or see how America’s law enforcement agents are diligently trying to stop cocaine from entering the country? If learning more about this drug epidemic sounds interesting, then you can’t go wrong with watching Inside Cocaine Wars

This documentary follows the adventures of many DEA agents as they pursue wily drug traffickers. You also get some insider information on how they try to stop this drug from entering the country. After watching this show, you’ll find out that stopping this drug from entering America is not as easy as it seems. There are simply too many drugs being smuggled into the country on a daily basis.

When Will the Effects of Cocaine Kick In?

There are many methods of abuse when it comes to using cocaine. How quickly the cocaine will kick in will depend on its method of administration. Common methods of administration and when they will start to kick in include: 

  • Swallowing cocaine. Two inmates in Weld County jail smuggled cocaine in via their body cavities. They then sold the cocaine mixed with hot cocoa. Other inmates who purchased this mixture would drink it to get high. The onset for cocaine if it is swallowed is around 30 minutes. The effects of the cocaine will last anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes.
  • Snorting cocaine. This is, by far, the most popular method of administration. It’s often showcased by the media, like in the movie Scarface. The effects of coke will kick in within 5 to 15 minutes with this method of administration. The effects will last for anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. 
  • Smoking cocaine. This isn’t a very popular method of administration because the effects will wear off in about 5 to 10 minutes. However, it’s perfect for someone looking for a quick and intense fix.
  •  Injecting cocaine. Much like with snorting cocaine, anyone who injects cocaine will also get a quick high. The effects of the coke will kick in within several seconds, and will last for anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. 

The method of administration will also affect the intensity of the high and the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. Those who are more addicted to cocaine may want to opt for an administration method that will lead to more potent effects.

What Is the Half-Life of Cocaine?

The half-life of cocaine is one of the major contributing factors that affect how long cocaine will stay in your system for. The “half-life” of a substance is the amount of time it takes for the body to clear half of that amount. 

The half-life of cocaine will vary depending on the purity of the drug and many other factors. With that said, the half-life of cocaine is relatively short in comparison to many other drugs. It fluctuates between 30 to 90 minutes.

How Long Does It Take the Body to Get Rid of the Cocaine?

How long does it take the body to completely eliminate cocaine? How long will drug tests come up positive for cocaine? The truth is that the method of administration will have a huge influence on how long cocaine stays in your body. 

According to a recent study, cocaine is cleared from: 

  • Plasma in about 1.5 hours, plus or minus 0.1 hour
  • Saliva in about 1.2 hours plus or minus 0.2 hour
  • Urine in 4.1 hours plus or minus 0.9 hours 

Many of these tests looked for the metabolites of cocaine, rather than cocaine itself. This is because the metabolites are more likely to linger around for long periods of time in comparison to the actual drug.

Many factors are at play when it comes down to how long cocaine can stay in your system for. It really all depends on several factors. Cocaine can be cleared from some people’s systems fairly quickly. On the other hand, it can linger around for quite some time in other people’s system. The factors that affect how long cocaine may stay in a person’s system include: 

  • The amount of drugs that they use. Those who take large amounts of cocaine on a regular basis is going to have a much harder time clearing this drug from their system.
  • The user’s height, weight and body fat percentage. Depending on how large a person it, cocaine will be removed at a different rate. A smaller individual will take a longer time to fully process and eliminate cocaine than a larger individual.
  • The frequency of use. Cocaine can bind to fatty tissues and cells in the organs and tissues. Those who frequently abuse cocaine may have lingering remnants in their body.
  • The user’s health. How quickly cocaine is broken down will also depend on a person’s metabolism. A healthy liver can break cocaine down more efficiently than an unhealthy liver. 

Someone who metabolizes cocaine at a much quicker rate will be able to pass a drug test more easily. Cocaine will be cleared from their system within a much shorter amount of time. As a result, they’re less likely to test positive.

Side Effects of Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine is a fairly potent drug. It causes some intense, but short-lived effects. Those who abuse the drug for long periods of time are more likely to experience more devastating and serious effects. The purity of the drug, as well as the dosage taken, can also have a huge influence on the severity of the side effects experienced. 

Take a look at the table below to learn more about the short-term and long-term side effects of abusing cocaine. 

Short-Term Side Effects

  • Appetite loss
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Contracted blood vessels
  • Convulsions and seizures
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Hallucinations
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Hyperstimulation
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Intense euphoria
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • Psychosis
  • Raiseed body temperature
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Raised heart rate
  • Tactile hallucinations, like a feeling of bugs burrowing under the skin
  • Violent and erratic behavior

Long-Term Side Effects

  • Abscesses and infectious diseases
  • Auditory and tactile hallucinations
  • Delirium or psychosis
  • Disorientation and confused exhaustion
  • Heart attacks and strokes
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver, lung and kidney damage
  • Malnutrition and weight loss
  • Mood swings and mood disturbances
  • Nasal passage damage
  • Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain
  • Respiratory failure if the substance is smoked
  • Risky behavior
  • Sexual problems, like damage to the reproductive system and infertility
  • Severe depression
  • Severe tooth decay

Those who inhale cocaine are susceptible to developing a syndrome known as “crack lung”. The symptoms of this syndrome will usually start to show approximately 1 to 48 hours after smoking cocaine. This basically happens when the cocaine damages the lung tissues. 

Crack lung syndrome comes with an assortment of symptoms. Some common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Cough with blood
  • Dyspnea
  • Bronchospasm
  • Fever 

Many coke users will also experience other respiratory issues if they smoke and inhale cocaine. Of the patients who complain about respiratory issues, 44% have a cough with black sputum. Another 38% of patients complain about chest pain.

It’s not unusual for many cocaine addicts to also struggle with respiratory issues like barotrauma, eosinophilic lung disease and alveolar hemorrhaging.

Cocaine abuse can also damage many other internal organs and systems. Cocaine can affect your respiratory system, eyes, nose, cardiac system, gastrointestinal system, neurologic system and skin. Some potential side effects include: 

  • Sores and burns to the fingers, thumbs and face if the cocaine is smoked
  • Bronchiolitis, granulomatosis, sinusitis, epiglottis and/or cellulose granulomas in the lung
  • Serotonin syndrome if cocaine is mixed with other substances
  • Dysrhythmia, vasomotor collapse, and/or high-output heart failure
  • Blurred vision, central retinal artery occlusion, and/or cocaine-associated cerebral vasculitis 

There are different side effects depending on the method of administration. Knowing what to expect is crucial and key.

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Once an addict has developed a chemical or physical dependence on cocaine, he or she will go through cocaine withdrawals when attempting to quit. The intensity of the withdrawal symptoms will vary from one individual to another. It depends on many different factors, like how long the drug abuser had been using cocaine. 

Coke addicts may experience a wide range of different cocaine withdrawal symptoms. Some common symptoms of cocaine withdrawals include:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Anhedonia, which is the inability to feel pleasure
  • Chills and tremors
  • Difficulties concentrating and thinking
  • Decreased cognitive performance
  • Intense cravings
  • Loss or decreased sexual arousal and abilities
  • Muscle aches and nerve pains
  • Physical fatigue and exhaustion
  • Restlessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Vivid and unpleasant dreams 

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be so intense that they cause an individual to relapse. Fortunately, there are many different tips out there on how you can avoid relapsing. While withdrawal symptoms for a cocaine addiction can be intense, they’re usually not life-threatening or dangerous.

How long will cocaine withdrawals last? The withdrawal timeline for different drugs will vary. The timeline will also largely depend on the length of the drug abuse, the severity of the addiction, among many other factors. 

Addiction experts have studied the cocaine withdrawal timeline extensively. In general, it can be broken down into three phases and stages. They include: 

  • The crash, which is phase 1. This phase usually happens on the 1st week. Cocaine addicts usually experience the most intense withdrawal symptoms during this point in time. This is because their body is just getting used to a life without the drug. The duration and intensity of this phase will also depend on the purity of the cocaine, the amount taken, as well as other factors.
  • The withdrawals, which is phase 2. This happens from week 1 to 4 after the last dosage. Common symptoms that most drug abusers experience include anxiety, lethargy and intense cravings. It’s easy for many stimuli to trigger cravings at this point, which is why many coke addicts tend to relapse. This phase is the phase that most drug abusers fail to overcome.
  • The extinction, which is phase 3. This phase happens from weeks 5 and onwards. It’s the last phase of the withdrawal timeline. Cravings typically start to die down by this time. 

Cocaine withdrawals tend to last quite a bit longer than the withdrawal symptoms of other drugs. This is why cocaine is so addictive. Many people can’t seem to withstand the cravings and symptoms that are associated with getting sober.

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

It’s possible to overdose on cocaine. In fact, studies show that the lowest amount of cocaine that can cause an overdose is about 1.2 grams. Those who rarely abuse or use cocaine are more likely to overdose on a smaller amount. Those who are frequent users will build up some sort of tolerance. 

Cocaine overdose symptoms can become dangerous. They can also become deadly, as they overwork the body. Common overdose symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pains
  • Agitation and aggression
  • An increase in body temperature
  • Chest pain
  • Delirium
  • Depression
  • Fainting
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Heart attacks
  • High energy levels
  • Impaired judgment
  • Intracranial bleeding
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoid delusions
  • Restlessness
  • Seizures and tremors
  • Severe anxiety
  • Sleeplessness 

In extreme cases, an overdose can lead to coma or death. Those who experience cocaine overdose symptoms will need to get immediate medical attention and help.

Cocaine overdoses are difficult to treat. Most emergency responders only treat overdose symptoms that are life-threatening. So far, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve any specific treatment for dealing with cocaine overdoses. If cocaine is not cleared from the body, it can do irreversible damage to the liver, brain and cardiovascular system.

“In 2011, there were 505,224 emergency room visits caused by cocaine use. These numbers have continued to rise over the years.” 

Researchers have developed and modified a treatment for cocaine overdoses. This enzyme is called CocE, or cocaine esterase. It is able to break down cocaine 1,000 times faster than the human body. 

This enzyme was first isolated from soil bacterium that was found near coca plant roots. The research was headed by Remy L. Brim at the University of Michigan. Although this enzyme is very effective, there is just one problem. It’s not stable at the normal body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius. Due to this reason, this enzyme is still being modified. 

Previous research has suggested that CocE can reverse many symptoms of a cocaine overdose. It can reverse cocaine-induced cardiovascular changes, convulsions, seizures and more.

Ashwood Recovery

What to do if You are Abusing Cocaine

If you are abusing cocaine or smoking crack, you need help. You cannot fight this battle alone. This does not make you weak or inadequate. It makes you a human being. 

You may be intimidated by the thought of checking yourself into a rehabilitation facility. Here's an idea. Why not go to a 12-step meeting? Just one. Hear what they have to say. Meet people who, like you, know what it's like to be addicted. They might have a solution is to your problem. 

Have you already tried meetings and they haven't worked for you? It may be time to consider an outpatient program or think about checking yourself into a rehabilitation facility. 

Drug rehab can get your life back on the right track. You’ll get all the support that you need to finally turn away from this substance. 

Need a nudge to get going in the right direction? Here is some recovery inspiration.

Learn More About Cocaine Addiction -Some Helpful Resources Offered by the Experts:

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