The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports these statistics about cocaine use in the U.S.:
- 4.8 million people reported using cocaine sometime during 2015.
- Nearly 39 million people reported using cocaine sometime in their lifetime.
- Twice as many men as women reported having used cocaine in the last month.
However, the Monitoring the Future Survey that polls Americas Youth on drug and alcohol trends has shown a continual decline in the use and abuse of cocaine. Significant declines have happened from 2008 to the current year.
Are crack and cocaine the same thing? Crack is a form of cocaine which is combined with other ingredients to create a crystalized form of the drug, which is smoked. You can read additional information on crack addiction here.
Cocaine abuse can frequently lead to cardiovascular (heart problems) and brain effects such as a stroke, seizures and in some case coma.
There are a number of long-term effects that can be attributed to cocaine abuse, physically and psychologically. The biggest long term concern is that of drug addiction.
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug with intensified cravings. Studies have shown that even after periods of abstinence that the triggers to abuse cocaine can still be overwhelmingly intense.
Addicts to this specific drug have a high tendency of relapse. Drug rehab programs can be a start to getting the individual off of the drug. From there long-term treatment and programs should be utilized to maintain abstinence.
Long-term abuse does its damage. In the brain, a tolerance to drug is developed. More cocaine is needed to experience the fleeting amount of pleasure.
Over time, the dopamine system of the brain is also affected and damaged by this abuse, due to the growingly high levels of toxicity in the brain. These high levels of toxicity can also lead to developing psychological complications. Common complications include anxiety, violent behaviors and paranoia.
The methods of abusing cocaine also do their own damage to the body. This is what cocaine does to the body when snorted:
- Irritations to the nasal cavities and the lungs
- Damage to heart muscles, including cell death in the heart muscles, resulting in serious heart conditions or heart failure
- Destruction of the olfactory sensors in the nasal passages resulting in loss of the sense of smells
- Greater number of intestinal and bowel problems, which may include gangrene the digestive tract
- Changes to brain chemistry associated with psychotic symptoms and new-onset Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Those who inject this drug run the risks that come from intravenous drug abuse.