What is cocaine? The definition of cocaine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), states that it’s a powerful and addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. Although health care providers can use it for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, recreational cocaine use is illegal. As a street drug, cocaine looks like a fine, white, crystal powder. Street dealers often mix it with things like cornstarch, talcum powder, or flour to increase profits. They may also mix it with other drugs such as the stimulant amphetamine, or synthetic opioids, including fentanyl. Adding synthetic opioids to cocaine is especially risky when people using cocaine don’t realize it contains this dangerous additive. Increasing numbers of overdose deaths among cocaine users might be related to this tampered cocaine.
How is Cocaine Abused?
There are many ways that cocaine can be used. One popular method is by snorting cocaine powder through the nose. Another is by dissolving the cocaine into a liquid and injecting it intravenously. Combining the cocaine with heroin, called a Speedball, is another way.
Another cheaper and most popular way of using cocaine is by smoking it. The powder form is processed and concentrated to form a rock crystal (known as a crack rock or rock cocaine). The rock is heated up to the point of releasing vapors which are then inhaled into the lungs (known as freebasing).
Cocaine is very easy to overdose from. It is commonly used, simultaneously, with other drugs and/or alcohol, which are deadly combinations and can lead to accidental overdoses.
Cocaine used repeatedly, like any other drug, can lead to an addiction. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can change the chemical makeup of a person’s brain with regular use, making it challenging to quit using the drug without help. Early intervention and recognition of the signs of use or abuse of cocaine can be essential to getting someone on the right path toward recovery. In order to prevent a potentially tragic outcome, it is beneficial to recognize the warning signs that a loved one or family member may be abusing cocaine.
Here Are 5 Signs of a Cocaine Addiction:
- Runny nose and/or frequent nosebleeds – snorting cocaine causes the nasal blood vessels to constrict, meaning that they carry less blood. However, the tissues in the nose rely on this blood flow to stay healthy. Without enough blood, the tissue may become unhealthy or die. Therefore, snorting cocaine can damage the skin, bones, and tissues in the nose. In severe cases, the entire nose can collapse.
- Needle marks from injecting (track marks) – track marks are areas of discoloration along a vein which was damaged due to injecting drugs intravenously. Track marks are often noticeable along the forearms, where visible veins are present, although they can be anywhere on the body that has been used as an injection site. Track marks can appear as puncture wounds or as discolored and scarred veins.
- Burned marks on hands and lips – a crack cocaine user commonly burns these areas when the pipe that they are smoking the crack in gets hot and causes burns.
- Weight loss – cocaine is an appetite suppressant, therefore the addicts eat less resulting in weight loss.
- Financial troubles – when a person become addicted to a substance such as cocaine, they continuously need to use. The more they use, the more they need. Which then leads to more spending of money and the user only has so much money resulting in financial troubles.
Those are only a few signs of addiction but if you feel, at any time, that you or a loved one may have a substance abuse problem, that’s where Allure Detox can help. We are a comfortable and evidence-based drug and alcohol detox in West Palm Beach, Florida. Allure Detox can free you or your loved one from the physical symptoms of addiction and start you or your loved one on the path to recovery. We offer detox from drugs and alcohol on a medical basis so that you can safely resume the life you once lived, the life you thought was lost forever. Addicts emerge from Allure Detox healthy, sane, and prepared for a lifetime of recovery.