All drugs taken in excess can kill you. This is particularly true for illegal drugs, and cocaine is one of them.
The exceedingly addictive stimulant, cocaine can cause deadly outcomes. This drug generates euphoria, high energy, and extreme talkativeness. In higher doses, it raised heart rate and blood pressure that can result in heart attack, referring it as ‘the perfect heart attack drug’, even if taken sparingly.
According to new studies, people who use cocaine have a greater risk of cardiac arrest than to those who do not use it. Another research supports the new study, it claims that using cocaine can result to stiffer arteries, thicker heart muscle, and higher blood pressure; all conditions can eventually lead to a heart attack. Even the young, fit cocaine users can suffer a heart attack because of the drug.
The origin of Cocaine
Cocaine came from the purified extract of the Erythroxylum coca shrub leaves. A native of South America in the Andes region, the plant can produce two forms of cocaine. It comes in various forms and users commonly smoke, snort and injects it directly into the bloodstream. Depending on how it chemically processed, it can either be:
- Crack cocaine or known as the freebase cocaine, which users commonly smoke. Dealers also refer this type of cocaine as rock.
- Powdered cocaine, typically known as coke or blow is a water soluble drug. Users snort the drug or prepare it as an injectable drug.
The truth about Cocaine addiction
- In the United States, 14% Americans tried cocaine at least once.
- One in 40 adult Americans used the drug within the past year.
- Men are more prone using cocaine than women. 18% of men ages between 18 to 25 years old used cocaine in the past 12 months.
- After the last dose, users exposed themselves 24 times greater of having a heart attack.
- Mixing cocaine with other drugs like heroin is one of the deadliest forms of cocaine called a speedball.
- Today, due to the popularity and easy access to the drug, 2,500 Americans will try cocaine for the first time.
- In the US, more than 100,000 newborns are addicted to cocaine because their mothers use the drug during pregnancy.
Side effects of Cocaine
Cocaine abuse resulted in hundreds of fatalities. Ingredients used to make cocaine produces far-ranging results such as sudden death and acute mental illnesses.
The drug can cause:
- short-lived euphoria
- increased heart rate and blood pressure
- dilated pupils
- loss of appetite
- acute myocardial infarction
- dissecting aneurysm
- bowel infarction
Prolonged exposure to cocaine abuse, particularly for users who snort the drug can lead to respiratory diseases. The acute snorting of the drug can result in the collapse of the upper nasal cavity.
Serious side effects of Cocaine
In extreme cases, chronic use of cocaine can result in neurological complications, which includes:
- intracerebral hemorrhage
- brain injury due to hyperthermia and/or seizures
Along with the physiological complications, using cocaine can also damage the psychological state. It includes panic and psychosis. However, it can also lead to more devastating manifestation like:
- criminal activities
- infectious complications (unsafe sexual intercourse)
- reproductive disturbances
- societal disruption (including child neglect, domestic abuse, and productivity)
Users take cocaine in binges, where they take too much of the drug in a short period of time. Ignoring sleep and proper diet, they take only cocaine for several days. Drug overdose is a common occurrence during this time, which is proved fatal.
A cocaine overdose can cause:
- cardiac arrhythmias
- death ischemic heart conditions
- sudden cardiac arrest
The fatal signs of Cocaine Overdose
Once the signs of drug overdose became apparent on the user, it might be too late. Experts and different marketing for rehab centers consider cocaine overdose as fatal for the user since it involves major systemic effects.
These include but not limited to:
- myocardial infarction
- even multiple organ failures
Presently, there are still no known cures for these diseases. Users need to know the risk of the possibility of a cocaine overdose. They need to understand that it can happen anytime regardless of the dosage and method of use. Mixing the drug with other drugs increases the chance of an overdose. Over the years, overdose from cocaine is a common occurrence in emergency rooms.
How to prevent Cocaine Overdose
In cocaine overdose cases, doctors will monitor and measure the user’s vital signs. These include:
- breathing rate
- blood pressure
As there is still no available cure for cocaine overdose, doctors can only address symptoms as they arise. They do it like when the users show signs of rapid heartbeat and lower blood pressure. Doctors will treat the user with benzodiazepines medications to slow it down. The medications will also cure other symptoms like anxiety and agitation.
Other medications include diazepam and lorazepam, to treat other symptoms of anxiety and agitation. Fluids may also be administered through a vein for dehydration in some cases. Doctors will then treat muscle, kidney and heart complications with other medications. However, for total recovery, doctors may suggest long-term treatments with the users which involve counseling and rehabilitation.