Cocaine addiction has become an epidemic in the United States and across the world. Our Colombian neighbor is the largest cocaine supplier in the world.1 Many inroads have been attempted by the United States and other countries to control the amount of cocaine flowing in and out of Columbia. However, this remains incredibly difficult due in large part to the drug dealers constantly changing and innovating the ways that they transport and sell cocaine throughout the world.
The commerce and consequence of Cocaine touch the hands of individuals spanning all socioeconomic levels. Cocaine shows no mercy and has caused the careers of prominent leaders and celebrities to crumble. While Cocaine is a serious addiction, it can be treated successfully through education, support, empowerment and faith.
Cocaine 101 – Education is Key
Nicknames for Cocaine
As is common for many drugs, cocaine has many nicknames that are popular among the drug community. While cocaine and crack are the most popular names, there are countless others that are widely popular among users and dealers. Many of these nicknames revolve around the color and appearance of the drug. Drug dealers and users are notorious for using these names on the streets to further glamorize this addictive drug.
According to Buddy T., who is in recovery from the experience of living with an alcoholic, the most popular nicknames include the following:
- Bernie’s Flakes
- Big Bloke
- Bernie’s Gold Dust
- Big Flake
- Gold Dust
- Haven Dust
- Have a Dust
- Nose Candy
- Paradise White
- Snow White
- Sleigh Ride
- White Powder
- White Mosquito
While these are some of the more popular nicknames for Cocaine, there are countless other street names for this dangerous drug.
Origin of Cocaine
Cocaine is derived from the coca plant which originated in South America. Coca leaves have been used for thousands of years to battle stress and fatigue similar to the properties obtained from chewing tobacco. It was not until 1862, that a chemist by the name of Albert Niemann extracted the pure chemical known as cocaine hydrochloride and identified the properties of cocaine which today can be linked to the incredibly addictive properties of this drug.2
How Cocaine is Consumed
Cocaine is consumed in a variety of forms. For thousands of years, the coca plant was chewed in much the same was as tobacco and this is still done to this day in South America. Cocaine is also snorted in powder form, smoked in crystal form and even taken intravenously. Users typically start their cocaine habit by snorting and then move on to smoking and taking the drug intravenously to achieve a quicker high. Any form of cocaine consumption can lead to severe consequences including addiction and even ultimately death.
Why is Cocaine Addictive?
Cocaine is widely regarded as one of the most addictive recreational drugs available today. Many studies have proven that long term exposure to cocaine can actually alter the brain. Some studies have shown that over time, habitual cocaine users have actually lost brain matter due to their continued use of this drug. These gradual changes in the brain are thought to dramatically increase the threat of addiction. Cocaine addiction can completely take over your life. Addicts have lost jobs, spouses, homes and friends over this powerful drug. Cocaine can also drastically change your appearance. Cocaine addicts tend to look tired and disheveled when they are under the influence of this terrible drug.3
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine
Cocaine has a large number of long term effects which can lead to severe health problems or even death. Cocaine disrupts the absorption of dopamine in your body which can lead to the following long term side effects, such as the list below from About.com:
- Dilated pupils
- Increased body temperature and blood pressure
- Increased or irregular heart rate
- Heart attack
- Chest pain
- Respiratory failure
Signs of Cocaine Use
According to LivingStrong, if you suspect a loved one is using cocaine, you should look for a variety of warning signs, some of which are listed below:
- Sudden weight loss due to changes in eating habits
- Dilated pupils
- New groups of friends or acquaintances
- Need for money
- Frequent nose bleeds
If you know someone who is suffering from any of the above symptoms, you may want to start to look into possible ways to help your loved one. Often times an intervention is required by loved ones to start to get help for cocaine users. Many users can not give up their cocaine addiction without help from a rehabilitation center.
Support for Cocaine Addicts
While cocaine addiction is a serious affliction, there is always a way out. Help is available from resources all around the world. There are countless examples of overcoming cocaine addiction in Hollywood. Drug abuse has always been an issue due to the huge amounts of money available to famous individuals.
Some examples of famous people that have overcome cocaine addiction are listed below:
- Dennis Quaid
- Drew Barrymore
- Robert Downey, Jr.
- Kate Moss
- Robin Williams
- Steven Tyler
If you are addicted to cocaine and are struggling, please know that there are people who want to help you right now. Your family and friends are likely already aware of your addiction. There are organizations whose sole purpose is to cure the severely addicted. There are rehab centers and clinics all across the country that help those with cocaine addiction, even if the patients are not able to pay for the programs themselves.
It is important to understand the difference between a rehab center and a clinic. The primary difference between the two, is that a clinic is meant for outpatient therapy and a rehab center is needed for inpatient treatment. Rehabilitation centers are typically needed when addicts have exercised all other options including outpatient clinic stints.
Another group of people that spend a great deal of money and resources reaching out to addicts is the Church. While not everyone is a believer, it is hard to argue that the Church has not done a world of good in terms of reaching out to drug addicted individuals who are struggling to eat or even stay alive.
If you’re not at a point where you’re ready to contact a specific rehabilitation facility, such as Prominence Treatment Center, here is a list of resources available to those struggling with cocaine addiction or those who know someone that may need help:
- Cocaine Anonymous (www.ca.org) – A support group for cocaine addicts. This program is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and subscribes to a similar 12 step program
- Daily Strength (www.dailystrength.org) – A set of online forums where cocaine addicts can reach out to others who have suffered with addiction and are willing to help in any way that they are able
- DrugFacts: Cocaine (http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine) – A resource created by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to provide factual information on cocaine and it’s addictive properties
- Cocaine on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocaine) – This is Wikipedia’s resource which offers a good deal of information on cocaine and how to help those that are addicted to this drug
Faith & Empowerment – Taking the First Step
Overcoming cocaine addiction is a very difficult task and even if you were to overcome the addiction, you will likely deal with the cravings of the drug for the rest of your life. Thousands of people have lost the fight against cocaine, and those addicted to the drug often feel as if they are alone. Many of those who were in the deepest, darkest depths of addiction have turned to a higher being to help them through these terrible times.
No matter what you believe in, having a higher being to pray to and believe in can make a difference when you are battling something as difficult as cocaine addiction. Sometimes having that belief system allows someone who is hesitant to reach out for help, take that first step. Religion can give someone struggling with addiction something to believe in and a community of believers to confide in during these trying times. Religious organizations are always open and willing to help you take that first step to freedom from this deadly disease.
Anyone who believes that cocaine addiction is not a disease is dead wrong. If you have ever spent any extended amount of time with someone who is struggling with cocaine addiction, you know that this affliction is very serious and requires assistance from others to overcome. There are many resources available to those who are struggling with this deadly disease.
To conquer cocaine addiction requires a strong drive and determination which can only be achieved through effective education, support, empowerment and faith. Even with the support of family, friends and the Church, conquering the demon of cocaine is extremely difficult. Thousands of those who have tried to beat this addiction have lost, but this should not deter others from attempting to quit this awful drug. No good has ever come from the use of cocaine, and if you are struggling please reach out to someone for help today.