During the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s, cocaine was a drug that was widely available and used by many. It was considered a miracle drug and used to treat and cure many ailments and diseases. It could be found in drug stores being sold alone or in combinations with other drugs. One well known item that contained cocaine as a main ingredient is the first formula for Coca Cola. This is a fact that remained true from 1886 to 1903. The Harrison Act of 1914 put restrictions on how the drug could be used. Physicians were no longer allowed to prescribe cocaine or any drug containing cocaine. It was the Narcotic Drugs Import and Export Act of 1922 that officially made the use of cocaine illegal.
There was a surge of increased use of the drug in the 1970’s. Cocaine was often used in it’s powder form despite it being illegal. The cheaper version of cocaine that is smoked is called crack cocaine, or simply crack. It became widely available and abused in the 1980’s. The use of crack cocaine peaked during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Since 2000, it’s use has declined, but it is still the second most popular illicit recreational drug being used today. Number 1 is marijuana.
Cocaine is a Class or Schedule II drug according to the guidelines of the United States Controlled Substance Act. Drugs in this category include Codeine, Morphine, Oxycodone, and Hydrocodone. Drugs in this classification have a high potential for abuse. Abuse of these drugs may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Many of the drugs do have acceptable treatment uses, but they also have strict restrictions on their use. Using the drugs without being under a doctor’s supervision means putting your health and life in danger.
Cocaine is a very addictive stimulant drug. Signs of use include increased energy, exaggerated behavior, reduced fatigue, mental alertness, as well as sensitivity to light, sound, and touch. Paranoia, restlessness, irritability, increased heart rate, increased body temperature, nausea, tremors, muscle twitches, and increased sweating are short term effects of cocaine use. Long term effects will differ due to the user’s method of use. Nose bleeds, lose of the sense of smell, and frequent a frequent runny nose are associated with snorting cocaine. Severe bowel decay may occur when drug is taken by mouth. Injecting the drug by needle has an increased amount of long term side effects and possible consequences including an increased risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C, and other blood borne diseases. Cocaine effects the body’s nervous, circulatory, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal systems.
Cocaine works fast, by increasing dopamine levels, and it’s effects can be felt quickly. These effects do not last long,though, and unfortunately, users often build up tolerance towards the drug. As a result, the user may require an increased amount of the drug to feel the effect that they desire.
Cocaine addiction affects men and women, young and old. It can ultimately lead to one’s death.