Cocaine Use Among Teens
Cocaine is a powerful drug that can be snorted, injected when dissolved in water, ingested, or smoked as crack. It is often referred to as coke, snow, flake, blow, or other terms. Cocaine is highly addictive and dangerous. According to the NIDA about eight percent of high-school seniors have used cocaine.
What are the signs of Cocaine abuse?
• Immediate signs include increased energy and mental alertness, dilated pupils, decreased appetite, increased heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature, as well as fast speech.
• Users often have a runny nose or frequent bloody noses.
• Paranoia, restlessness, and panic can be a response to the drug.
• Drastic weight loss and not sleeping regularly are signs of cocaine use.
• Depression caused by stopping use of the drug.
• Drug paraphernalia such as mirrors and razor blades, rolled money bills, small bottles with lids, small plastic packets, small spoon-like items.
• Losing interest in activities and withdrawal from or change in friends.
• Frequently needing or stealing money.
Why do teenagers abuse cocaine?
Cocaine affects that brain chemicals that create pleasure and usually increases the sensations of sight, sound, and touch. Users often claim that cocaine helps them perform physical and mental tasks quicker and easier, although it can also have the opposite effect. Cocaine users usually find that they need to take more of the drug to produce the same effect or even just feel normal. So cocaine use often leads to addiction replacing school, friends, and family.
What are the health hazards associated with cocaine use?
• Those who snort cocaine suffer nasal problems such as loss of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, and chronic runny nose.
• Ingested cocaine reduces blood flow and causes bowel gangrene in which the tissue inside dies.
• People who inject cocaine have puncture marks, can have allergic reactions, and suffer the risks of getting STD’s by sharing needles.
• For all users cocaine can cause heart attacks, strokes, seizures, abdominal pain and nausea, malnourishment, muscle spasms, and respiratory failure.
• Frequent users often suffer increased irritability, restlessness, and paranoia. They also suffer the risk of full-blown paranoid psychosis in which the user loses touch with reality and suffers hallucinations.
What about mixing cocaine with other substances?
Many cocaine users are mixing cocaine with alcohol because the combination intensifies the drugs euphoric effects. The human liver combines the cocaine and alcohol and creates cocaethylene. Mixing alcohol and cocaine significantly increases the risks and according to the NIDA “is the most common two-drug combination that results in drug-related death.”
Cocaine is often mixed with other substances during processing. These substances are often unknown to the user and can be harmful to the body.
Written by Teresa McEntire