Updated: Mar 1
Cocaine is one of Portland drug rehab’s biggest enemies when it comes to mental health. According to a report in 2017, 966,000 people with an age as young 12 years old have been reported for cocaine use in the US alone. And, that number isn’t dwindling down. In fact, that number has been steadily rising over the course of the decade.
What is Cocaine?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse defined cocaine as a stimulant drug created using the leaves of a coca plant which is native to South America. Cocaine is not completely illegal. In medicine, cocaine is approved for use for some purposes. It is one of the components of local anesthesia used in some surgeries.
Using cocaine for recreation is illegal. In the streets, it comes in the form of fine crystal-like powder. To maximize its effects, dealers usually combine it with other stimulants like amphetamine. It is also combined with a dangerous synthetic opioid called fentanyl.
Deaths due to an overdose of cocaine can be attributed to these additives.
What is Cocaine Called in the Streets?
Some of the most popular nicknames of cocaine include:
Bolivian Marching Powder
Fast White Lady
How is Recreational Cocaine Consumed?
Since it comes in the form of powder, you snort it through their noses. However, it can also be injected or dissolved in water. When it is snorted, cocaine takes effect in about 3 to 5 minutes. Injecting it brings high quicker with the effect being felt in just around 30 seconds. In some cases, it is smoked as with crack cocaine.
What Does it Feel Like to Be High in Cocaine?
Once taken, you will immediately feel a sense of ‘rush’ which is then followed by alertness. Cocaine triggers the production of dopamine, a hormone responsible for the feel of pleasure. After the effects wear off, you enter a state of depression, even more than before using it.
Many users say that there is nothing like the first high they got from cocaine. Even after consistent use after, they can’t achieve the same level of euphoria they felt during the first time. Prolonged use of cocaine can lead to anxiety, restlessness, and irritability.
Why Do People Use Cocaine?
Cocaine gives the feeling that everybody wants and that is euphoria. We sometimes see cocaine users in a happy trance like they don’t have a single problem at all. It stimulates extreme pleasure and suppresses the appetite.
Because of this, you will crave to feel more of the ‘good feeling’ brought by cocaine; thus, leading to cocaine drug addiction. You will also grow tolerant of the drug and you will need more doses of cocaine in order to get high.
What are the Effects of Cocaine on the Brain?
As we have mentioned earlier, cocaine triggers the production of dopamine. Naturally, dopamine goes back to the cells that released it. Cocaine prevents that from happening. It blocks dopamine from returning to the cells, causing a build-up between nerve cells. The brain soon gets used to the excess amount of dopamine and grows tolerant. This results in higher doses of cocaine to achieve the same high.
Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Cocaine
Cocaine might make you feel good at the moment but the effects after are destructive. After using it, you may immediately feel the following:
Anger or irritability
Extreme sensitivity to sound, sight, and touch
Prolonged use will have the following effects:
Convulsions and seizures
HIV (usually when cocaine is injected)
Loss of senses
Heart diseases and stroke
How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?
Unfortunately, cocaine isn’t easily eliminated in your system. While it just shows up on a saliva or blood test for 2 days or a urine test for 3 days, traces can still be found for months and even years with a hair test.
The heavier you use cocaine, the longer it stays in your body. On a urine test, cocaine can be detected even after 2 weeks. There are also many factors that affect the duration of cocaine traces in your system.
Factors Affecting the Duration of Cocaine Traces in Your Body
Cocaine is typically flushed out of your system after a few days, but it can stay longer with the following factors involved:
Frequency of use
pH of the urine
Liver or kidney impairment
Cocaine and Alcohol
Many users like to combine cocaine and alcohol for maximum effects. However, it can cause many problems including:
Cocaine and alcohol together can increase the heart rate.
It can worsen the learning impairments and deficits in psychomotor performance.
Alcohol can increase the cocaine levels in your blood by up to 30%.
The mix also produces cocaethylene, a metabolite that enhances the cardiotoxic effects of both substances
Research also shows that cocaine traces are harder to eliminate from your system when combined with alcohol:
An experiment in humans concluded that cocaethylene stays in the system longer than cocaine.
Another study done on dogs found out that cocaine was flushed out of the body system 20% slower when it was combined with alcohol.
Lastly, an experiment with rats found results that even after taking cocaine once, consuming alcohol repeatedly slows down the elimination process.
Cocaine Drug Addiction Treatment
Cocaine itself isn’t the problem here. The substance will definitely stay in your body. What really needs to be treated is the addiction and dependence on this drug.
Counseling and rehabilitation are the most common treatment methods for cocaine drug addicts. Rehabilitation centers offer programs and sessions to help you get back to your normal state. Talking with a therapist can help in adjusting your thought processes and behavior. Additionally, medical detox can be done so your body can adjust to the treatment.