Cocaine

Last year, the CDC reported over 1 million emergency room visits by users of this substance. It is estimated that over 7 million young people have used this drug at least once. The last report was that 35.3 million Americans used it in 2013. In Canada, cocaine is the most commonly injected illegal drug followed by heroin and morphine. It is highly addictive.

Short-term effects of this drug include loss of appetite, increased rate of breathing, disturbed sleep patterns, bizarre, erratic behavior, and sometimes violent behavior. Users arrive in emergency rooms complaining of anxiety and paranoia, depression, panic and psychosis, and convulsions, seizures, and many psychiatric disorders , including bizarre , violent behavior.

Long-term effects are common and include organ dysfunction mainly due to the fact that cocaine causes reduction of blood supply to major organs. Psychiatric effects include sexual problems, disorientation, confusion, exhaustion, and death. Severe depression occurs and tolerance and addiction are very common, even after just one dose. This especially true after using it in the form of Crack.

The Truth about Crack

 

The most tragic victims of this drug are babies whose mothers are using the drug during pregnancy. In the United States alone, tens of thousands of cocaine-exposed babies are born every year. They suffer from permanent problems such as stunted growth and damage to the brain and nervous system. They are twenty times more likely to die in the first month of life. If they survive, the majority are affected with mental retardation and brain damage.

This drug has been around for millennia. In 4000 BC the ancient Incas chewed coca leaves apparently to counter the effects of living at high altitude. It was also used in religious ceremonies and after the Spanish invasion it became the drug of choice. Cocaine was first synthesized by Albert Neiman in Germany in the 18th century.

Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, promoted cocaine as a tonic to cure depression and sexual impotence. He himself used cocaine regularly. Up to the beginning of the last century the drug was used in association with opium as elixirs by all social classes and was prescribed by general physicians. Famous users included Thomas Edison and the actress Sarah Bernhardt whom, amongst others, claimed that it increased their creativity. It was stated there was no lethal dose despite the fact that one of Freud’s patients died from overdose.

Cocaine was present in the soft drink Coca-Cola when the new drink was invented by John Pemberton in 1886. The drink became very popular in the early years, however, cocaine was removed from the drink in 1903 because of increased awareness of the dangers of this drug. Remember, as with many supplements prescribed today, there were no scientific studies done on any drug at the time. In a 1912 review, there were 5000 cocaine-related deaths in one year. In 1922 the drug was withdrawn.

More recently, a study done in 1980 at some American universities found the percentage of students who experimented with this drug increased tenfold. That is an estimation!

Colombian drug Cartels exported over 1200 tons of cocaine per year to the United States, Europe, and Asia. Some of the cartels were discovered but now there are others to take their place. Mexico is now a major exporter of marijuana and other drugs.

Today, there is much speculation amongst psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers that this drug and others which we will also be discussing, are the cause not only of the violence we see today but very bizarre stories of the type of violence which include multiple knife attacks, car assassinations, suicide bombing, and mass murder!

Caveat emptor!

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