The coca leaf is naturally found in South America. The local population would chew the leaves to gain extra energy and to overcome the effects of living high up in the mountains. From this plant, cocaine was created in the late 1800s. However, cocaine only became popular in the early 20th Century before World War II. Cocaine became a glamour drug during the late 1970s through the 1980s, due to the production and exportation of the drug by the Colombian drug cartels. Cocaine’s popularity peaked in the mid-1980s, but use has declined. The 2009 Monitoring the Future survey annually survey teenagers about their drug use. The survey reported cocaine usage by teenagers has been down over the past few years (see chart below).
Although cocaine use has dropped significantly from its heyday in the 1980s, there are many people who are still addicted to the drug. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant which is addictive because it causes the user to feel energetic, happy, and talkative. Cocaine also changes the chemicals in the brain, requiring the cocaine user to use more and more to get the same effects. Eventually, the cocaine user will become a cocaine addict. The negative side effects of cocaine include increased body temperature, irregular or rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and even sudden death from cardiac arrest.
Although cocaine use peaked over 20 years ago, there are still millions of regular users in the Europe, Asia, and the USA. Cocaine is still viewed as the “vogue” drug for the sophisticated, but the horrifying side effects have not diminished and the drug is still readily available. Status and money do not allow people to remain immune to addiction when they are abusing drugs. Portrayal of cocaine usage might not be as prevalent in the mainstream media, but the drug continues to cause problems for many. If you or someone you love is abusing cocaine, please call us at Inspirations for Youth and Families today.