Blow, Coke, Crack, Rock, Snow…and yes, even Bolivian Marching Powder, are common names for cocaine–a powerfully addictive stimulant drug that looks like a fine, white crystal powder. Once a popular club drug in the 1980’s, it has made a comeback in today’s society. While the drug itself is made from the leaves of the South American coca plant, street dealers may mix it with amphetamine or synthetic opioids, including fentanyl. The frightening aspect is that the user may not be aware just how risky and dangerous it is to their life, thus increasing the possibility of overdose deaths among cocaine users.
How is cocaine used? People snort cocaine powder through their nose while some dissolve the powder and inject it into their bloodstream because smoking or injecting cocaine can produce a stronger and quicker high than snorting. There are even those who inject a combination of cocaine and heroin, commonly known as a ‘speed-ball’. So why would someone take the risk of using this powerful and dangerous drug? People have reported that when they use this drug, they feel short-term effects of “extreme happiness, energy and mental alertness.” Some find that it increases performance with simple mental and physical tasks. At the same time, there are others that experience exactly the opposite effect such as violent and unpredictable behavior. Why the stark differences? It is all dependent on the method and amount used.
What are some signs of cocaine abuse? First of all, you know your loved one and their normal behaviors. Keep an eye out for signs of abuse that include, but are not limited to: excitability, weight loss, mood swings, risky behavior, runny nose, changes in patterns of sleeping and eating, and isolation. Don’t be surprised to find drug paraphernalia such as razor blades, spoons, and/or plastic baggies on that person or in there room.
Withdrawal from cocaine is typically one to two weeks with length with its intensity dependent on the length of time and amount used. For example, a person with a moderate use pattern, symptoms of withdrawal vanish in less than 18 hours. People with a heavy use pattern, withdrawal symptoms typically peak within four days. However, it is not uncommon for symptoms such as cravings and the emotional toll that depression causes can last up to a week and has been known to linger in some people for months.
There is treatment for cocaine addiction and many other substances. While the majority of people who seek treatment for cocaine use also smoke crack, increasing the likeliness of using more than one substance. So if you suspect a loved one is using cocaine, keep an eye out for any of the signs noted. Reach out to TruVida Recovery and speak to one of our experts in the field. We pride ourselves on providing the best care available with a host of licensed and certified staff skilled in addressing the underlying issues that led to the addiction. Your loved one will receive treatment offered with compassion and empathy while, first and foremost, treating the addict as a human being.
Paige Chastain, BA, CADC-II