The National Institute on Drug Abuse revealed that over 35 million Americans have reported using cocaine or crack recreationally. Many of these individuals are children and teenagers who risk long-term addiction issues that can affect their mental and physical health. This means that parents need to recognize the signs of cocaine abuse in their children to prevent serious ramifications such as:
- Increases heart rate
- Itchy skin
- Sore throat
- Coughing up blood
The effects of using cocaine can last as long as one hour, but in many cases, users only get a high for 15 minutes. Drug users have devised numerous ways to ingest cocaine or crack such as melting it to inject with a needled syringe or smoking small pieces that are called rocks. One of the most popular ways to use this drug is by breathing its fine powder into the nose in a snorting process. When someone uses cocaine, only 30 to 60 percent of the substance actually enters the bloodstream and that is the reason why the effects last a different amount of time.
Loss of Weight
Despite the short-term effects from using cocaine, it is a highly addictive substance because it changes the chemicals in the brain, creating an intense feeling of superiority and euphoria. The aftereffects of this drug are a higher energy level that many users enjoy to avoid needing to sleep. For many addicts, their appetite is reduced, leading to weight loss or control. This side effect has led many individuals in industries such as entertainment and modeling to use cocaine to maintain their weight.
Destruction of Teeth
Tooth decay is a common occurrence when someone abuses cocaine because many addicts rub the drug on their gums to experience slow absorption while at work or school. The chemicals in cocaine are acidic and will destroy dental enamel and soft oral cavity tissues. The damage to an addictâ€™s gums cause tissue to recede, leading to exposed teeth roots that become infected with bacteria. Dentists often recognize the signs of cocaine abuse because addictâ€™s teeth are discolored and have cracked enamel.
Risks of Overdose
There is a high risk of overdose when using crack or cocaine because addicts are unable to determine the strength of the item before its use. Dealers use different recipes or formulas to package cocaine, and it is often mixed with various amounts of inexpensive substances such as baking soda. An addict may buy a stronger than usual mixture of cocaine and suffer from serious side effects such as respiratory distress, heart failure or stroke. Without immediate intervention, a drug addict will die due to an overdose. In the United States, there are approximately 5,000 deaths each year caused by cocaine overdose according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you or someone you know is addicted to cocaine or any of derivatives, then it is time to contact a professional rehabilitation program that offers individualized treatment plans. Inpatient rehabilitation in a residential program for 30 to 90 days is recommended by experts in order to prevent dangerous relapses.