It’s a popular drug. Addiction is associated with having good times with your friends, having money and power. They write songs about it. They glamorize it.
But it’s a lie!
Let’s take a closer look at Crack Addiction and see if it’s as desirable after the facts are presented. Knowing the facts about cocaine, the truth, might save someone’s life, maybe your own.
Other names for cocaine include, but are not limited to coke, snow, lady, flake, gold dust, freebase and crack.
Cocaine is derived from the leaves of the coca plant, found in South America. The leaves are mashed, much like grapes are for making wine, then are treated with sulfuric acid. During this process, the active drug is released, as a paste is formed. The paste is then further refined and the end result is cocaine hydrochloride, a fine, white powder. It looks like powdered sugar.
Cocaine became popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s and since that time the medical community has learned much about the highly addictive nature of this drug.
Dr. Nora D. Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Addiction, explaining the serious increase in the use and addiction to cocaine and she wrote:
“One of NIDA’s most important goals is to translate what scientists learn from research, in order to help the public better understand drug abuse and addiction, and to develop more effective strategies for their prevention and treatment.”
Volkow explains that scientists can actually observe the “dynamic changes” in the brain as a person uses this drug. They can see the “rush” and the “high” and actually see when a person is “craving” cocaine.
How does Cocaine work in the body?
Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. The drug causes the user to experience euphoria, a feeling of well-being beyond what you would regularly encounter. People who use the drug regularly do it for that “rush” they get. They want to feel good.
Side-effects of Crack Addiction
Users who chose to snort the drug, often develop nasal congestion and damage the mucous membrane of the nose and have bleeding cartilage. Users coming down from a cocaine high might get depressed, or experience insomnia. Common for cocaine users is a decrease in appetite, accompanied by weight loss.
Use of cocaine causes blood vessels to constrict, leading to an increase in blood pressure, heart rate and heart attacks are common. Cocaine can lead to irregular heart beat, lung disease and irreversible brain damage.
Body temperature and blood sugar rise. Respiratory failure, strokes and seizures are also possibilities. In rare cases, first time users have been known to die from the effects of the drug. Crack Addiction also contributes to dramatic changes in behavior, as some users are known to display bizarre actions, or become violent.
Cocaine users have been known to contract HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Blurred vision is a common side effect. Women users are susceptible to miscarriage, or if they carry to term, serious birth defects often occur.How can I naturally and permanently get over my cravings for alcohol or drugs?
Crack Addiction and Alcohol: A dangerous mix
When cocaine and alcohol are used together, another dangerous physical situation occurs. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse research:the liver combines cocaine and alcohol, producing a new substance, cocathylene
This third player intensifies the high, but at the same time increases the risk of sudden death.
Cocaine is highly addictive and one of the most rapidly addictive drugs used. While it became popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s, it is hardly new and is one of the oldest drugs known. Crack Addiction has been abused for over 100 years.
Crack Addiction creates a tolerance to the drug, as more drug is needed more often to achieve the same results. However, cocaine is so powerfully addictive that even a first-time user can gets a Crack Addiction. The craving for the drug can come after the first hit of a crack pipe, or the first snort. People lose control and “need” the drug to feel good.
Users will start to withdraw from the drug sometimes as soon as six hours after taking cocaine. The withdrawal can last up to two weeks. Users can experience depression, insomnia, paranoia, restlessness, and crying spells. Addicts have had cravings for the drug for a month or more.
Forms of Cocaine -- Cocaine Hydrochloride
There are a couple forms of cocaine that are most common, cocaine hydrochloride (powder) and “freebase.” The powder can be mixed with water and injected, or snorted through the nose. Most commonly, cocaine on the street is a white powder, diluted by street dealers with talcum powder, mixed with sugar, cornstarch and oftentimes with other stimulants.
The term “crack” comes from the street and refers to the cracking sound the drug makes when it is smoked. Crack Addiction is made by combining the powder form of the drug with ammonia or baking soda and water, then heating the mixture to remove the hydrochloride. The drug produces an almost immediate high, usually within 10 seconds. It became popular in the 1980’s for its quick effect and for the fact that it is inexpensive. The combination of these two factors have made crack a huge problem, as users number close to 600,000.
Scope of Crack Addiction
According to a 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), some 35.3 million Americans (14.3%) age 12 and older have tried cocaine at least once. The most likely age group to use cocaine is adults 18-25, and use among men is slightly higher than women. Five years ago, the estimated number of cocaine-dependent users was 1.5 million. That 2006 study showed that approximately 6.1 million people used cocaine in the previous 12 months and that 2.4 million had used during the last month.
Cocaine may be fashionable, but it kills. Cocaine may be popular, but only because people aren’t thinking of it as an enemy. Cocaine may be celebrated, but it is not worthy of its praise. People don't know the truth, either because they have never been told or because they have chosen not to listen. Cocaine is a lie. It represents the dark side of the human experience, the desire to feel good now and have it all now. For a fleeting moment of euphoria, it robs the human soul of purpose, meaning and the gift of relationship. It takes over and becomes lord and god to whomever uses it.
If you are using, seek help. If someone you know or love is using, get them help. Nothing cocaine provides is worth having.
Did cocaine cause George Carlin's early death? We may never know...
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- Matthew 7:7-8
Joe Herzanek discusses the importance of Step 6 in a successful 12-Step recovery, this week on Recovery Now!