The Social Consequences of Cocaine Overdose
Drug overdose deaths skyrocketed in 2020. Cocaine overdose deaths have risen in a short time. Over a period of 5 years (2013 – 2018), cocaine overdoses tripled. Cocaine overdose deaths continue to increase across all age groups. In 2020, 4.1% of 12th graders said they had used cocaine at some point during their lives. 2.9% of that group admitted to consuming cocaine within the last month.
Cocaine overdose brings consequences both to society and to the individual. As members of that society, we must equip ourselves. We owe ourselves such preparation. And we likewise owe it to those around us.
In this article, Recovery By The Sea examines the following:
- What exactly is cocaine and where does it come from?
- How does cocaine effect the body?
- What are the signs of a cocaine overdose?
- How can long-term cocaine use effect one’s life?
- What if I want help for cocaine use?
What Exactly Is Cocaine And Where Does It Come From?
We can trace cocaine’s historical origins to the Incan people of South America. These ancient peoples chewed the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine as we know it came about in 1860. German chemist Albert Niemann gave us the synthetic form in use today. After Niemann, scientists continued to experiment with cocaine. Eventually, they introduced it into the field of medicine.
One form of cocaine looks like a white powder. Consumers of this form will inhale or snort it. Or, they might rub it into their gums. Another form of cocaine, referred to as “crack,” gets heated and then smoked. Crack purports to be even more potent than powder cocaine.
How Does Cocaine Effect The Mind?
We classify cocaine as a stimulant. This means that it acts on the processes of the brain. Cocaine makes these processes run faster. Our brains create a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine helps us feel good when we get something we want. Our bodies may make it when we eat, when we achieve a goal, or when someone praises us. Cocaine causes us to retain too much dopamine in our brains at one time.
A cocaine high makes a person more awake and aware. They may feel a surge of confidence. Alternatively, they may also experience heightened senses of fear and hypervigilance. Cocaine increases anxiety.
How Does Cocaine Effect the Body?
In addition to the mind, cocaine also wreaks havoc on the body. It causes the blood pressure to rise. Cocaine also raises the body temperature and heart rate. For these reasons, cocaine can cause lasting damage to the heart and lungs. It can even induce a heart attack.
What Are the Signs of A Cocaine Overdose?
Most cocaine overdose symptoms will likely originate in the heart. Cocaine interferes with proper oxygen flow in the heart and lungs. It also disrupts proper blood circulation. Someone experiencing an overdose may complain of tightness or pain in the chest. Their breathing may appear shallow, quick, and ragged. Likewise, look for dizziness, vomiting, and tremors.
In extreme cases, someone overdosing may experience a condition called cocaine-induced agitated delirium. This phenomenon remains rare, but it happens very quickly. Cocaine-induced agitated delirium causes the heart to beat erratically (or not at all). An extremely high fever, called hyperthermia, can become fatal if not addressed properly.
What Should I Do If I Believe Someone Has Overdosed On Cocaine?
If you believe that someone near you has overdosed on cocaine, remain calm. First and foremost, you must steady yourself. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance. Make sure you know the address of your location. If not, provide the 911 dispatcher with the nearest intersection.
If the overdosing person remains conscious, do your best to keep them calm. An overdosing person may panic. Do not attempt to restrain them. Doing so may put you in harm’s way. When paramedics arrive, recount everything you saw the person do prior to the overdose.
How Can Long-Term Cocaine Use Effect One’s Life?
Cocaine interrupts how our brains experience stress. When faced with stress, long-term consumers tend to retreat to it. Long-term use of cocaine also short-circuits our prefrontal cortex. This part of our brain governs our decisions and our ability to change our behavior. Consumers of cocaine experience severe anxiety. Cardiovascular problems tend to develop as use continues.
Prolonged cocaine use damages the mouth and nose. Nosebleeds become common. The inner tissue of the nasal passages deteriorates over time. Long-term consumers of cocaine may have trouble tasting or smelling.
What If I Want Help For Cocaine Use?
As we have observed, cocaine can have debilitating effects on the body and the mind. Together, we can prevent cocaine overdoses and deaths. Recovery By The Sea exists to see people liberated from addiction.
If you or someone that you love struggles with cocaine addiction, act now. Pick up the phone and call us. Or, send us a quick email.