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In Drugs & Addictions

What to Expect with a Cocaine Overdose

cocaine overdose

Years ago the public did not hear of many cocaine overdoses, and the reason was because cocaine was typically considered “the rich man’s drug” in the U.S., and it was kept quiet. As of 2008, cocaine has become the second most trafficked illegal drug in the world and is used at every economic and social level.

Where Does Cocaine Come from and Can You Overdose on It?

Cocaine was first extracted from coca leaves in 1859 by Albert Niemann, a German chemist. By the 1880s, the drug became popular in the medical community, and Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud became the first physician to use cocaine to cure depression and sexual impotence. Freud used it as a tonic and found it so impressive that he used it himself, and often!

The popularity of the drug got a further boost for those who could afford it, when, in 1886, John Pemberton developed a fantastic new soft drink using coca leaves as a major ingredient. The name of the soft drink was Coca-Cola, and Pemberton found that his tonic produced euphoric effect as it energized the consumer. This addition of cocaine skyrocketed the popularity of Coca-Cola with millions of happy customers into the 20th century. In 1929, the FDA required the Coca-Cola Company to remove the coca leaves from the soft drink.

In the following years, cocaine became a substance used by musicians and high rating sales people who relied on the energy boost of the drug. It was used behind the scenes; it was trendy, and quickly and quietly shared among the more elite. In the 1970s, cocaine emerged as the fashionable new drug for all types of entertainers and business people, and those who considered themselves living in the fast lane. It provided the energetic edge that helped people stay “up.”

During this time, the public did not see cocaine overdose symptoms too often because coke was used “behind closed doors,” so the drug acquired a rather “good” reputation. Between the years of 1970 to 1985, the cocaine overdose amount remained hidden. It was during these years that the students at American universities began to experiment with the drug, and the numbers of users increased tenfold.

During the 1990s, the use of cocaine exploded because Colombian drug traffickers made it so available to the U.S. and Canada. Over 800 tons of cocaine a year were produced and exported from South America, and this also increased crime on the streets.

Cocaine Overdose Reaches the Public

Cocaine has caused addiction and death for hundreds of years; it is just as fatal as synthetic drugs today, and is available everywhere. Cocaine is no longer known as the rich man’s drug, it is a common illegal drug in the middle class, and has been reprocessed as “crack or rock” for lower and lower middle classes. Serious heart problems are the most common cocaine overdose symptoms, but there are several overdose signs that identify every serious user. Everyone who uses cocaine should be aware of these signs as should everyone with a friend that is a user.

Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature
  • Contracted blood vessels
  • Increased breathing
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Hyperstimulation
  • Bizarre, erratic, and often violent behavior
  • Irritability, hallucinations and hyperexcitability
  • Hallucination that creates the illusion of bugs burrowing under the skin
  • Intense euphoria
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Intense drug craving
  • Panic, tremors and psychosis

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant and is extremely addictive. Addiction can happen quickly with an overdose coming unexpectedly with the first use. Both cocaine and crack cocaine produce euphoria, added energy and talkativeness, and it must be used over and over again to retain the high. This creates addiction, and the repetition, often leads to accidental overdose.

One who uses cocaine should be aware of cocaine overdose. Every individual is unique, so the cocaine overdose amount will vary between users. How much cocaine to overdose depends on the physical attributes of the user as well as other factors, such as the quantity of the cocaine injected, did they have food in their system, etc.

Learn about heroin overdose too.

How is Cocaine Used?

Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, therefore it can be used for medicinal purposes by a physician. When this white powder is used to “get high,” it is smoked, snorted or injected, and it is easier to overdose on cocaine when it is injected because it goes straight into the blood system.

Crack cocaine is processed into a rock crystal, so the user can “freebase” or smoke the rock in a pipe. The name “crack” was given this form of cocaine because of the crackling sound it makes when it is heated. Crack produces an almost instant high that is typically smoked repeatedly. Crack can be sold in small $10.00 packages to accommodate the need to repeat for the user and to keep the prices lower on the streets.

People who are accustomed to using cocaine will take the powder in increasing doses within a short period of time to maintain the high. Typically, the high from snorting will last up to 30 minutes and smoking only 5-10 minutes. Injecting with a needle goes straight into the bloodstream for a quick, longer-lasting affect.
Many cocaine users have a mentality that “nothing bad will happen to me.” The reality is that cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs in the world, and a person who snorts, smokes or injects too much cocaine can suffer from a cocaine overdose even if it’s the first time. Some users who have survived this life-threatening event find it so traumatizing that it actually gives them the push they need to kick the habit.

How Does Cocaine Work in the Brain When a Cocaine Overdose Occurs?

Cocaine concentrates on the central nervous system and increases the level of dopamine. Dopamine is the major regulator of the pleasure sections of the brain, so the euphoric feeling that is immediately produced is directly related to the brain. The term “sudden death” is often referred to a cardiac arrest that occurs from a cocaine overdose. Below are other reactions that occur in the brain and nervous system.

  • With the reactions of increased dopamine, there is a release of inhabitations. Sexual activity is typically high with cocaine users, and HIV is common, not only because of the needles, but because of the high level of sexual activity.
  • Regular snorting of cocaine can lead to loss of the sense of smell, nosebleeds, problems with swallowing, hoarseness, and a chronically runny nose.
  • Ingesting cocaine by the mouth can cause severe bowel gangrene from the reduced blood flow.
  • Injecting cocaine can bring about severe allergic reactions and increased risk for contracting HIV, Hepatitis C, and other blood-borne diseases.
  • Cocaine abusers can also experience severe paranoia, which is a temporary state of full-blown paranoid psychosis where the user loses touch with reality and experiences auditory hallucinations. The brain is seriously affected by this drug.

Cocaine Overdose Treatment

Cocaine is the second most trafficked illegal drug in the world, and the most recent statistics show that international seizures of cocaine have increased to over 750 tons annually. North America reportedly has the second largest quantities intercepted, and today an estimated 7.5 million young people between the ages of 15-34 claim to have used cocaine at least once in their life. This means 3.5 million young people in the past year have tried the drug, and 1.5 million in the past month.

Cocaine is extremely inviting to teens and 75 percent of all people who try it will become addicted.

Cocaine shatters families and destroys lives. Don’t let it put your loved one in the hospital, in jail or worse scenario yet, ending up in the county morgue; there is a substance abuse center in your county. Consider cocaine overdose treatment with professionals, so the addict will receive top medical care and counseling. No one is expected to handle their addiction on their own.

If an individual survives a cocaine overdose, their health may be affected forever. They may have severe damage to major organs such as the heart, liver, lungs, brain and kidneys. Extensive damage can also occur to the intestines, bladder and reproductive organs, so the sooner they receive cocaine overdose treatment the better.

Cocaine is a serious drug, and an overdose can alter the way a person thinks and feels even after they have quit using it. It is important to seek cocaine overdose treatment as soon as possible. Take control of life again. It will take some time to be relieved of the symptoms and the addiction, and to regain your health back again. Call American Addiction Centers at 855-806-4272 for immediate attention on cocaine abuse treatment.

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