Cocaine is a drug that most adults can say that they have heard of at one point or another. Many people can also say that they have either done cocaine themselves or know of at least one person that has. However, cocaine is also one of the more misunderstood drugs available today.
Cocaine is a recreational drug. Most people associate it with clubs, parties and high-stakes atmospheres. Indeed, it causes a euphoria that keeps people coming back for more. It is often referred to as “the caviar of street drugs” because of its status among elite levels of society such as Hollywood celebrities and Wall Street types.
Cocaine itself is an extract of the coca leaf. It grows primarily in South America and thrives in the Andes mountains. After it has been processed, it primarily reaches the market in two forms: powdered cocaine or crack cocaine.
There are many things that you might have heard about cocaine. Here are 10 weird facts about cocaine addiction:
10. Sharing Straws Can Spread Blood-Borne Diseases
People who share straws when the snort cocaine share more than just germs. It is a way to spread blood-borne viruses and diseases like Hepatitis C. However, the straw does not need to have blood on it for the disease to be passed. The user’s nose does not even need to be sore or raw.
This happens because cocaine irritates the lining of your nose. This irritation can make the tissue on the inside of the nose raw. This can result in microscopic drops of blood being left on the straw. Even these unnoticeable amounts of blood can easily spread disease.
The virus known as Hepatitis C can live on hard surfaces for several days. This means that a straw that is used and carries the virus can continue carrying the virus for days afterward.
The dangerous thing about Hepatitis C is that you may not even know that you have it. A lot of people who contract the virus will not even realize it because sometimes the symptoms of Hepatitis C do not even show up for years. This means that anyone who is addicted to cocaine and shares their straw can pass the disease on to almost anyone they share straws with for years and not even realize that they were sick.
9. Cocaine Can Put a Hole in Your Nose
Some people dismiss the idea that cocaine can cause a person to have a hole in their nose as a rumor or an urban legend, but the damage that comes with cocaine addiction can cause perforations in your nose. This is technically called a septal perforation, and it is one of the biggest conditions that accompanies long-term cocaine use.
This happens because the blood supply to the nose is fragile and cocaine use can turn it off by constricting the blood vessels that feed blood and oxygen to the nose. When the nose does not get enough oxygen, the lining of your septum begins to die. Once the lining is dead, the cartilage begins to decay and die. This dead cartilage is what is known as a septal perforation. Once the damage reaches this point, the whole nose can collapse.
Cocaine addicts will begin to see signs that this is happening to them. However, these signs may look more like congestion, allergies or a sinus infection. Eventually, this just becomes a full septal perforation. The problem is that once the lining and the cartilage are dead, the injury never heals on its own.
8. Long Term Use Can Affect Users’ Sense of Smell
Understandably, a collapsed nose can impact a person’s life. One of the biggest consequences of this is the loss of your ability to smell. A lot of people take their ability to smell for granted because for most people; it is something that you are born with. Unless the problem becomes real to them, most people do not think about what it means not to be able to smell anything.
The loss of the sense of smell is known as anosmia. The effects of not being able to smell impact a lot of things. It is not just about your ability to stop and smell the roses. Not being able to smell can also affect how you taste food as well.
Losing your sense of smell is also dangerous. Without thinking about it, you rely on it for your safety. You know that when you smell smoke, there is fire. You rely on it to catch a gas leak before it becomes a dangerous situation. You also use it to smell food that has gone off.
Some types of anosmia can be treated. If it comes from having a cold or serious allergies, you do not usually need treatment. If anything, you might use a decongestant or antibiotics.
However, if you lose your sense of smell because of cocaine abuse or addiction, it may become permanent. Like having a septal perforation, if the anosmia goes too far, there is often no way for it to come back naturally.
7. Cocaine Users Are 24 Times More Likely to Have a Heart Attack an Hour After Use
Cocaine has serious effects on the health of your heart, including add serious risk of a heart attack immediately after its use.
Cocaine is hard on your entire cardiovascular system. Even recreational use often results in stiff arteries and thick heart muscle walls. When combined with the high blood pressure, cocaine wreaks havoc on your heart. A recent study by the American Heart Association found that even adults who were otherwise healthy had great risks of both heart attacks and stroke because they used cocaine.
The study was performed by Australian researchers who used MRIs to look at the effects that cocaine has on healthy adults who were addicted to cocaine. The researchers reported that they were sad to see how even young, fit people were having massive heart attacks that were directly related to their cocaine abuse. She even called it the “perfect heart attack drug.”
These spontaneous heart attacks happen because cocaine causes more blood clotting and puts real stress on the heart. It also causes the blood vessels to become constricted. This creates a perfect cardiovascular storm that results in major heart attacks or events in people who have no other major health issues.
6. Tolerance to Cocaine Develops Quickly
Unlike other drugs, a user’s tolerance to cocaine develops quickly. When combined with how addictive it is, this is one of the reasons that cocaine is so hard on a user’s body. Cocaine tolerance may even begin after using it only one time.
Being tolerant of a drug means that a user needs more and more of that drug to experience the effects that they desire. The more the cocaine is used, the more cocaine that a person needs to experience the high that they want from the drug.
Not everyone builds the same level of tolerance. Some people might have longer or shorter timelines depending on the individual’s use. Also, some people might build up what is considered to be a classic tolerance to cocaine while other people might become acutely sensitive to its effects when they use more of it.
Tolerance to cocaine is different from other drugs because some people feel the need to take more cocaine but, in reality, they do not necessarily need it to get high. They just want to recreate the euphoria of the first high. This is what is called “reverse tolerance.” They do not just experience a greater high with lower amounts. Taking huge amounts of unnecessary cocaine, which they feel that they need, results in cardiac arrest and overdoses. It can also cause respiratory failure.
Tolerance with cocaine is not as straightforward as it is with other drugs. This is mostly because cocaine has a tendency to be mixed with other drugs including heroin and alcohol. This has a profound effect on the user’s experience.