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When you think about cocaine, what comes to mind? Maybe you remember your high school friends sneaking it out of their parent’s medicine cabinets, or maybe you think of the wild parties you’ve heard about from distant relatives.
But what if I told you that nearly 15% of Americans have used cocaine at least once in their lives? What if I told you that around 2% of Americans say they used it in the past year?
Cocaine is a drug that has been manufactured outside of the United States for decades and smuggled into the country by organized crime groups. In 2020 alone, U.S. authorities seized more than 42,000 tons of cocaine trying to enter the country!
Cocaine is a very expensive drug that can cost users close to $50,000 a year alone. Something around 1.3 million people are dealing with cocaine use disorder (CUD), which is the medical term for cocaine abuse addiction. Annually, these users go to the hospital more than 350,000 times and account for 54% of drug-related incarcerations in federal jails and prisons. (*FHEHealth Statistics 2022)
It’s a very powerful stimulant drug usually in the form of a white powder commonly snorted, smoked, & injected. Its popularity as a recreational substance is mostly because of its perceived positive effects on mood, motivation, and energy—increasing concentration, leveling up sociability, decreasing shyness, and more.
Cocaine works by blocking the reuptake of dopamine into the neurons that release it. Dopamine (the neurotransmitter) regulates the pleasure & reward centers of the brain. When cocaine blocks dopamine reuptake and floods the brain with dopamine, users experience short-term euphoria and heightened energy levels. However, repeated use leads to tolerance and dependence on the drug which can cause severe health complications like stroke or cardiac arrest even after just one use.
Cocaine works by increasing the dopamine amount released by the brain’s nerve endings. Dopamine is a chemical “messenger” which sends signals between nerve cells or so-called neurons. The body uses dopamine for signaling reward & pleasure. This is why cocaine causes euphoria when it enters the brain—it increases the amount of dopamine available to bind to receptors on neurons.
When someone uses cocaine regularly over time, they develop tolerance to it (they need more& more of it to achieve the same effect). Tolerance leads to dependence on cocaine—meaning that addicts need it just to feel normal rather than high.
New Dawn offers Medically Supervised Detox and 30 – 90 day Residential Cocaine Rehab Sacramento for those who are ready to stop using and start working on getting their life back. We have over 30 years of experience helping people to get and stay sober.