Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug that is often abused by being snorted, injected, inhaled or smoked. It is a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States and is often sold illegally on the streets. Because it is so commonly used, it is important to be aware of its top risks.

1. Mental Health Issues

Mood problems are closely linked to substance abuse in general. Cocaine is no different. Because of cocaine’s effects on the brain’s reward center, cocaine can temporarily lead to feeling pleasant effects like:

  • Euphoria
  • Increased alertness
  • Being self-assured

However, continued cocaine use can also lead to feeling:

  • Anxious
  • Paranoid
  • Delusions
  • Uneasy or dissatisfied

Mental health issues related to cocaine also include depression, not only during use but especially during withdrawal. Doctors think the more a person is addicted to cocaine, the worse their depression may be when they stop using it. Many suicides or suicide attempts involve cocaine use.

2. Death

Because cocaine is a stimulant, it can easily supercharge the central nervous system. Therefore, overdose is very common. A common cause of overdose from cocaine is sudden death from an irregular heartbeat from the drug. Cocaine can also cause a heart attack or a stroke, which can be fatal.

3. Money

Cocaine costs a lot of money. The average price for a gram of cocaine in the United States in 2016 was $93. Even people without a lot of money who struggle with cocaine use will spend much of their money on cocaine. One study found that even homeless cocaine users would spend about $400 a month on cocaine.

Cocaine use is also linked to other behaviors that may cost someone a lot of money, like gambling can.

Lastly, using cocaine can also put people into legal trouble. Besides the risk of jail time, legal problems with cocaine can cost a person hefty fees, both for a lawyer and to pay fines related to the cocaine possession.

4. Health Issues

Cocaine use can lead to a variety of side effects, including an overdose. Drug dealers often cut cocaine with other substances to give it bulk or give it extra potency. For this reason, if a person uses cocaine, they can never be entirely sure what exactly is in the drug and what its exact short-term effects will be. There are also drug interactions between cocaine and drugs including:

Cocaine can also lead to long-term health issues like:

5. Addiction

Cocaine can result in addiction because it triggers the brain’s reward circuit. When a person uses cocaine, their brain floods with the feel-good chemical dopamine, which makes them want more. Over time, the brain becomes tolerant to cocaine, which makes people need larger and larger amounts to experience the original high. When the person doesn’t continue using the drug, they can start having very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, some people keep using cocaine to avoid withdrawal. This cycle can cause addiction and can lead to overdose.

If you or a loved one live with a cocaine addiction, call The Recovery Village to speak with a representative who can explain how individualized treatment programs are the best way to achieve long-term sobriety. You deserve a healthier future, call today.