Between 1984 and the early 1990s there was an epidemic of crack cocaine that swept the country. It decimated cities and lives, bulldozing through the fabric of most major cities in America. The cities that had the worst cocaine problem included Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. There were a string of events that caused this terrible occurrence, such as the price of cocaine dropping because of its wide availability. But, only recently has another reason been discovered: cocaine can cause addiction after one use. Particularly to people prone to addiction, cocaine is an extremely dangerous drug to use recreationally.
Cocaine Cause More Fatalities Than Any Other Illegal Drug
Cocaine is a stimulant that has a powerful effect on the user. It’s singularly responsible for the most fatalities of any illegal drug, and causes scary mood and behavioral changes. The signs that someone is using cocaine includes:
- Decreased impulse control
- Ceasing to care about work or family
- Dilated pupils
- Violent behavior
The immediate impact cocaine has on the brain has recently been studied. After only one-time use it has been discovered that it rewired the brain. A series of test were done on rats, and noted changes in the brain were observed. The brain activity of the rats closely mirrored the brain activity of humans. The more someone used cocaine, the more his brain changed over time. Long-term use has potentially debilitating effects on a person’s ability to reason and on the relationships with those close to him.
Why Is Cocaine So Dangerous?
Crack is the street name of cocaine, and due the distribution being unregulated, a user will never know how potent the drugs they’re receiving are. Someone may overdose on the same amount of drugs that they have previously taken before. Cocaine can be snorted, injected, or smoked. It has a variety of scary side-effects, such as:
- Heart failure
- Brain hemorrhages
Cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs. Part of the reason is that when ingested, it takes effect quickly, but then the high quickly wears off. So the addict is constantly seeking to re-live that thrill over and over again. Cocaine has been proven to activate the reward center of the brain. This results in raised levels of dopamine, which rises as a result of pleasurable activities, such as eating. The increased levels of dopamine give the user almost super-human levels of confidence. However, after an addict has been using cocaine long-term, the reward system in the brain undergoes drastic changes. This results in the addict needing greater amounts of cocaine to achieve the same results. This means an increased risk of overdosing.
Cocaine Addicts Are More Likely To Have Low Self Esteem
People with low self-esteem are more likely to develop addictions to cocaine. Because of their initial low self-image, they crave cocaine on a regular basis to feel better about themselves. This is another reason why cocaine is so addictive. Chronic cocaine users have been revealed to have a predisposition to getting addicted to cocaine.
But the good news is that once someone stops using cocaine, the brain eventually can return to its normal state. This means that no matter how long someone’s being using cocaine, their brain can still revert back to the state it was in pre-addiction.
The lure of cocaine has been felt since the eighties, and now there is scientific proof of how incredibly addictive it is. Proven to cause addiction after only one use, people need to realize how dangerous of a drug cocaine can be. Cocaine lay waste to many major cities back in the eighties, and it still is ruining peoples lives’ today.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.