Cocaine most frequently used drug after Cannabis


When people think of drug addictions, they think of the big ones: heroin, meth, and cocaine. Depending on the study, after cannabis, cocaine is the most frequently used illegal drug globally. Between 14 and 21 million people use the drug each year. Use is highest in North America followed by Europe and South America. Between one and three percent of people in the developed world use cocaine at some point in their life. In 2013 cocaine use directly resulted in 4,300 deaths, up from 2,400 in 1993.

Known by its street names: powder, snow, and blow, it is most commonly presented as a white powder. It is either snorted, injected, or smoked as crack. It is typically thought of as “the caviar of street drugs” due to its expensive price tag and class-heavy status.

Derived from the coca plant in South America, cocaine was originally used as a natural stimulant, much in the same sense that we think of caffeine today. This is often best seen in the fact that there used to be cocaine in Coca-Cola when it first came out. Doctors also came to realize that it could be used as an anesthetic in surgery. It was through this use that the medical community became aware of its addictive nature and safer anesthetics were developed. Now, cocaine is a highly abuse, illicit drug.

Short-Term Effects

Depending on how the addict takes it, high only lasts for about five to thirty minutes, giving the user a sense of confidence, well-being, alertness, and heightened sexuality. The negative effects of the drug last a lot longer however; here are some of the most common side effects:

  • Your heart and pulse rate speed up suddenly
  • Hyperactivity, dilated pupils, dry mouth, sweating and loss of appetite
  • Higher doses can make you feel very anxious and panicky
  • Increased sex drive

Long-Term Effects

Because cocaine severely decreases appetite, many addicts are severely malnourished, leading to even more health problems than the drug already causes. Here are some of the other long-term effects:

  • Tightness in chest, insomnia, exhaustion and unable to relax
  • Dry mouth, sweating and mood swings
  • Aggressive or even violent outbursts
  • Depression
  • Damage to nose tissue
  • Kidney damage
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Injecting may cause abscesses
  • Anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations
  • Restlessness, nausea, hyperactivity and insomnia

 Other Dangers

  • Overdose can cause epileptic fit, stroke, breathing problems and heart attack
  • Damage to veins if injected
  • Risk of HIV and hepatitis if needles are shared
  • When cocaine and alcohol are mixed, they combine to produce cocaethylene, which increases the risks of damage to the heart or heart attack
  • Extremely dangerous if injected with heroin, known as a ‘speedball’
  • Increased sex drive can lead to unsafe sex, with the risk of unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or HIV
  • Debt – cocaine is an expensive habit

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Those who smoke crack-cocaine are the ones most likely to have the hardest time breaking their addiction. This is because they receive the largest doses and the effect is immediate. However, all forms of addiction need to be taken seriously because cocaine fundamentally changes the brain’s system of reward, causing people to need the drug to feel fulfilled and happy. Ultimately, this leads to a psychological addiction.

Because withdrawal can cause suicidal thoughts in some users, doctors often recommend inpatient treatment programs so that they can be monitored twenty-four hours a day and given plenty of therapy to help work through the depression and anxiety.

Because cocaine is not a poor man’s drug, many addicts undergo counseling not only for mental addiction, but also for financial and relational problems due to the fact that many users let the drug destroy every aspect of their lives. A substantial number incur massive debt and destroy relationships due to their addiction. After treatment we recommend the recovering addict join a support-services because cocaine can cause random, intense cravings even years after last use.

Get Help at Tabor Group

If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to cocaine, get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our counselors today at +353 (21) 488 7110 or email us at Info@taborgroup.ie and we can help you.