Cocaine Destroys Lives


In its September 8-15, 2014 issue, TIME magazine compiled the latest statistics from government organizations and cited addiction experts David Nutt and Lawrence D. Phillips to reveal these facts: although other drugs, such as heroin and LSD, have gained prominence of growth in number of users over the last decade, cocaine and crack cocaine still account for more emergency room visits than any other drug, and crack cocaine leads even heroin as the most psychologically addictive illegal drug.

Both cocaine and crack can kill or disable users on the first use or any use thereafter, not only via overdose, but also via a seizure. According to doctors at Duke University Medical Center, seizures are so common with cocaine use that if a young person arrives in the emergency room due to a seizure and has no prior history of seizures, the doctors automatically order a cocaine screening.

Added to the dangers of overdose and seizure, cocaine and crack cocaine can destroy one’s life gradually through common consequences of cocaine addiction: heart problems, bleeding in the lungs, malnutrition, and problems related to mental illnesses and drug-influenced behavior, including sexually transmitted diseases, violence, and suicide.

A study conducted this year by the Carlos III Health Institute found that cocaine users are about five times more likely to die in a given year than a non-user, and users of both cocaine and heroin are about fourteen times more likely to die.

But there are other victims of cocaine and crack cocaine besides users: their family, friends, and children often suffer abuse from their desperate, addiction-controlled behavior; and the host of victims of drug cartel violence in Mexico and Central America live in grief and terror while roughly seventy-five percent of the cocaine market flows into the U.S. through this violence-torn area.

Cocaine addiction is truly something to be feared and by all means not something to be played around with. Addiction cannot be controlled—it is a natural reaction of the brain to an unnatural and powerful drug—but it can be stopped and avoided in the future, through total abstinence from the drug.

Recovery can begin when, and only when, access to the drug is removed. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction to cocaine or crack cocaine, we encourage you to intervene and make for the nearest hospital, where detox and then recovery can begin. It is possible to recover—but it’s not easy. That is why we focus on education efforts to help prevent people from ever using cocaine and other drugs in the first place.

Sarrah J. Woods is a writer for Charleston-based Drug and Alcohol Presentations,Inc., on whose website the full version of this presentation (including fact sources) can be ordered: