Teen cocaine abuse is a surprisingly common problem in Western society. While there are dozens of drugs that teenagers and adults abuse, few destroy lives as quickly as cocaine. Indeed, only heroin is rated as being more harmful than cocaine.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a stimulant that often comes in the form of a white powder. It is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant, which is where its name comes from. Although it is a natural product, it is incredibly potent. It comes in three principle forms: salt, freebase and crack.
- Salt: Cocaine is typically combined with an acid to form a salt. This salt is easily dissolved in water. Consequently, it can be injected or dissolved in alcohol.
- Freebase: This is the powered form that has not been combined with an acid. It does not dissolve in water, but it is a lot more toxic than the salt when smoked.
- Crack: This is produced by combining the dissolved salt with baking soda. This creates a sandy-colored solid that vaporizes very cleanly at much lower temperatures, making it easier than the other two forms to inhale. However, it produces a very intense high that can be instantly addictive.
The effects of cocaine vary depending on the method of delivery – whether it is injected, smoked or combined with other substances – the purity, and the type of cocaine it is. As cocaine is a stimulant, it produces a strong feeling of euphoria, but the intensity and duration are different; chewing, swallowing or rubbing it on your gums produces a less intense but longer sense of euphoria that may last for up to 60 minutes. Snorting it gives a more intense high that lasts for 15 to 30 minutes. Smoking crack produces very rapid results lasting for as little as five minutes.
The Dangers of Cocaine Use
As with any central nervous system stimulant, cocaine puts a lot of pressure on the heart. Overdosing results in heart failure as the heart cannot compensate for the elevated levels of hormones rushing through the bloodstream. Even at less intense doses, teen cocaine use results in anxiety, aggressiveness and confusion. It stimulates your body, so you do not have to sleep as often. However, this means the body is not getting the rest it needs, so it starts to slowly shut down. Regular cocaine use may lead to severe lung problems, including bronchospasm, asthma, hemoptysis and dyspnea, along with pruritus and an increased risk of stroke, embolisms and myocardial infarction, which frequently leads to a heart attack.
Polydrug use refers to taking multiple drugs at a time. When cocaine is used, there are two substances that are often used with it: alcohol and heroin. When alcohol is used, this combines with the cocaine in the liver, and it turns into cocaethylene. This highly dangerous substance creates a much more intense high, but it also severely increases the risk of death or permanent injury.
Injecting a mix of heroin and cocaine together is known as speedballing or powerballing. The idea is to mitigate the sedative effects of heroin while reducing the anxiety caused by cocaine. However, this usually results in a much more pronounced depression and loss of control. It increases the risk of accidentally overdosing on heroin, and it also increases the likelihood of dying. Is a chemical rush really worth risking death?
The Other Dangers of Cocaine
As cocaine is relatively expensive – a gram of pure cocaine costs approximately $120 according to the DEA – it is often mixed with other drugs and filler materials. The same source estimates that the purity of cocaine has reached an all-time low of 59 percent. This means 39 percent of the substance you are taking could be anything. Common added ingredients include tablets, including acetaminophen, caffeine pills and even tranquilizers; fertilizer and other random chemicals; icing sugar; and even cheap drugs such as methamphetamine or ketamine.
You really do not know what you are getting. If you use cocaine use and want help, please call us on today. Our trained advisors can help you to start on the path to becoming free of cocaine.
Unfortunately, teens tend to be affected severely by drugs, whereas adults tend to be less susceptible. This includes the side effects and the damage to the body as well as the overall rush. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately eight percent of all drug-related emergency-room admissions involve teenagers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states there were around 4,000 deaths involving cocaine in 2009.
Where Can I Go if I Need Help?
You can start by calling us on today. We can discuss your options with you, suggest strategies to bring up the issue with your parents and provide you with possible rehab solutions that meet your needs. At some point, though, you will need to talk to your parents about your addiction. Although it will be an emotional time for everyone, your parents will be relieved that you have asked for help.
Cocaine rehab normally involves getting you off the drug, providing counseling that focuses on why you took the drug and under what circumstances, and setting up a support network for when you leave formal treatment.
While there are no drugs that deal specifically with the effects of cocaine and its withdrawal symptoms like naltrexone does for alcohol and opiates, your withdrawal process will be managed, and you will be made as comfortable as possible. If you employ regular polydrug use, a combination of treatments may be used.
Counseling may involve cognitive behavioral therapy and other behavioral interventions to support you through this. The actual mode that counseling takes will depend on the nature of the rehab center.
Finally, setting up support networks may involve joining a local support group to meet people who have been through similar experiences. You may also join other groups and be encouraged to continue or learn activities you enjoy to help you focus on what is important: your success in life.
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Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. This evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are designed to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result. Please be aware that this evaluation is not a substitute for advice from a medical doctor.