Cocaine is one of the most addictive and destructive illicit substances known today. Of all illicit substances out there in our world, cocaine causes the most emergency room visits across the United States. People die from cocaine overdoses all of the time, because the power of cocaine has the ability to make the heart suddenly stop beating.
An addiction to cocaine is not one that is apparent to the user, at least at first. As addictions go, they start small and infrequent, masking themselves as something "recreational" and "harmless", something that is just from time to time and for fun. But as time progresses, people's dependence on cocaine becomes more and more. The body grows a tolerance to the effects of cocaine, so someone needs to take more and more in order to get the same high that they had when they first started using it. This is commonly referred to as "chasing the dragon". And as more and more is used, the higher the risks become.
Over time, profuse cocaine usage starts to deteriorate the tissue in the brain and will lead to the user developing mental problems. Such problems are auditory and tactile (feeling) hallucinations, wherein the persons starts to hear things or feel things that are not really there. People can also suffer from delirium, wherein they start to think things are going on or going to happen that are not true, such as conspiracies against them, like people out to hurt them, and so on- paranoia, basically. If gone untreated, these things can completely take over the mind of someone and become permanent, leading to the need for them to become institutionalized in a mental hospital.
2. Decay to the Body
Depending on how the cocaine is taken into the body, be it sniffed, injected or smoked (otherwise known as crack cocaine), the parts of the body where the taking-in happens start to degrade and fall apart. If inhaled through the nose, the nose tissue starts to dissolve under the constant presence of the cocaine powder. Also, the teeth start to take a nasty hit, degrading under the presence of the powder coming down through the nasal cavity into the mouth. If it is injected via a syringe, then the area where the injecting is occurring starts to degrade, the blood vessels start to fall apart, and abscesses can occur, leading to the possibility of infection.
3. Heart Problems
The heart takes one of the biggest hits from cocaine usage. Even after one use, someone who uses cocaine is at a strong risk for having heart problems, even cardiac arrest, otherwise known as a heart attack. The power of cocaine increases the heart rate drastically, sometimes beyond its normal capacity, and puts the heart under a serious strain. Even after someone has quit using cocaine, even years later, heart problems still can arise.
4. Emotional Issues
Seeing as cocaine gives such a rush to the mind and to the body, users get used to it and start to gain a disinterest in normal life, life without the rush of cocaine. They start to gain an apathy towards their well being and others, not caring what is going on around them. They would prefer to be, as some have described it, "going 90 miles an hour sitting still". Sometimes they try to chase the rush, or become addicted to it, partaking in risky and dangerous behavior while sober. And over time, due to the lack of a constant high, a severe depression can settle in.
5. The Body Starts to Shut Down
People who have had lots of cocaine in their life find it difficult to partake in normal activities. Sometimes, a sexual and reproductive impotence can occur, wherein the user finds themselves unable to have sex or achieve orgasm. At the same time, users will find they are unable to get someone pregnant or become pregnant themselves.
Weight loss and malnutrition start to occur as well, because of a lack of appetite that cocaine usage can instill in someone.
If the drug is sniffed, the lungs and the rest of the respiratory system start to break down, leading to the dangerous possibility of the lungs simply stopping their work, otherwise known as respiratory failure, and this leads to death.