Cocaine is one of the most used drugs throughout history. In the US, 35.3 million+ Americans report using cocaine in 2018. In years prior 8.5% of high school seniors surveyed reported having used cocaine. So what is cocaine and what are cocaine use symptoms?
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a stimulant made from leaves of the coca plant. These leaves grow native in South America and were used for centuries as a natural stimulant. There are medical uses for the drug, but it has become a powerful and deadly street drug. It is a fine white powder that resembles crystals. As with any street drug one cannot know the purity of what is bought. Often cocaine is mixed with cornstarch, flour, or talcum powder. The higher the mix of these substances the more profit the drug dealer receives. Often, the drug is mixed with other drugs making it more dangerous to use. It’s important to watch for cocaine use symptoms and severe reactions.
The Brief History of Cocaine
- The first record of coca leaves used as a stimulate dates to 3000 BC when the Incas used it to increase respiration while living high in the mountains.
- Peruvians used the coca leaves in religious ceremonies dating back to the 1500s.
- German chemist Albert Niemann extracted cocaine from the coca leaves in 1859.
“This original version of Coca-Cola contained a small amount of coca extract and therefore a trace of cocaine. (It was eliminated early in the twentieth century, though other extracts derived from coca leaves remain part of the drink to this day.) Its creation was not the accidental concoction of an amateur experimenting in his garden, but the deliberate and painstaking culmination of months of work by an experienced maker of quack remedies.”
― Tom Standage, A History of the World in 6 Glasses
- In 1884 Sigmund Freud claimed cocaine was a wonder drug and prescribed it liberally.
- Also during the 1800s cocaine was used in the soft drink aptly named Coca-Cola.
- By the 1900s cocaine addictions claimed 5,000 lives per year.
- In 1903 cocaine was removed from the Coca-Cola recipe.
- By 1922 cocaine was illegal to buy or use.
- Cocaine reemerged as an illegal energy stimulant in the 1970s.
Medicinal Benefits of Cocaine
Medical cocaine is a topical solution to numb areas or reduce blood flow and bleeding. Although rarely used, cocaine’s available for surgeries in the nose or mouth. Today, less dangerous topical anesthetics are used for oral surgeries.
Cocaine Use Symptoms
Cocaine use symptoms may include:
- Increased energy
- Increased mental alertness
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced fatigue
- Weight loss
Upon use of cocaine; blood vessels constrict, pupils dilate, and temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate increases. As a result, the person using cocaine may suffer from heart attacks, stroke, seizures, and other complications.
Help for Cocaine Use Symptoms and Complications
If you or a loved one are showing severe cocaine use symptoms, call 911 right away.