Cocaine is derived from the Coca plant in South America. Most of the cocaine in the U.S. originates from South and Central America, though some come in through the Caribbean as well. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug.
Cocaine comes in a powder or rock form that can be snorted or smoked. It gives an immediate and robust high of euphoria that can leave a user shaking for more.
Buying cocaine on the street means the cocaine you use is probably not pure. It is mixed with many other things to help spread out the drug and make money. It can be mixed with stuff like talc, anesthetics, sugar, or other cheap drugs.
1.4 million Americans over the age of 11 reported cocaine abuse in 2011, according to the National Survey On Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Cocaine is the third most abused drug in the United States. Marijuana and prescription pain killers came first.
Why Is Cocaine Such An Addictive Drug?
Your central nervous system is affected directly by cocaine use. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that your brain produces naturally. It ties into everything you enjoy and like about the world.
What cocaine does – it affect the production of dopamine in your brain. It causes this crazy rush of dopamine that just doesn’t come naturally. It’s a euphoric high that can leave you crashing afterward. A crash is a kind of like a come down that makes you feel depressed. It makes the intensity of the high feel all the more magical.
People end up bingeing and abusing cocaine because of these crashes. They want the high to feel “normal,” and the depressive state pushes them to use again.
Cocaine also changes how your cells deal with the dopamine. Instead of absorbing right back into your cells it sticks around in your neurotransmitters. That makes the highs even stronger. But of course, then you grow tolerant.
Tolerance is your brain, or body, growing used to the drug over time. This means eventually you need more and more drugs to feel the way you desire. This is how people end up overdosing when chasing a high.
Cocaine can also really affect your heart. It increases your heart rate and can make you feel a lot more energetic. That is the stimulant effect of the drug. Of course, this has adverse effects like increasing your chances for heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes.
Cocaine Addiction Can Be Hard To Treat
It’s true that cocaine addiction is one of the harder drugs to treat. This is because it changes so many important parts of the brain. It affects parts of your brain that control motor activities, memory, and learning. So treatment has to be careful.
Cocaine addiction also has one of the most reliable symptoms of drug cravings. It actually changes the way your brain acts when it comes to pleasure. So you end up craving cocaine even when you really want to quit the drug.