Cocaine’s image is the drug of the rich and successful. While a layman might think of a heroin user as a grungy, homeless junkie, they’ll think of a Wall Street professional when thinking of cocaine. Despite its glamorous image, cocaine is an extremely dangerous drug that requires treatment from a drug addiction rehab facility. Every time cocaine is used, it puts the body at risk to a host of dangers, and not many of its users are fully aware of how perilous the substance is.
Did you know that according to a study by SAMHSA, cocaine is responsible for more emergency room visits than any other illicit drug? Nearly half of all drug-related emergency room visits are due to cocaine, in fact. The drug doesn’t just harm one part of the body, but exposes all vital systems to heightened risk.
Cocaine is a stimulant, and therefore it’s not surprising that it increases heart rate. It also constricts blood vessels, which will increase blood pressure. Sometimes, the constriction is so severe that the heart doesn’t receive a sufficient amount of blood. The result is grim, indeed—a heart attack. This can happen to anyone trying cocaine, not just people with poor cardiovascular health or a family history of heart disease.
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Constricted blood vessels don’t just pose a problem for the heart. Every organ needs blood in order to function, and no organ’s function is more essential than the brain. If the brain’s not getting enough blood, a stroke can follow. Even in young, healthy people, this is a possibility. Even if strokes do not occur, cocaine has been known to cause seizures or erratic, bizarre behavior in users.
Even the stomach isn’t immune to the dangers of artificially constricted blood vessels. If the gut doesn’t get enough blood, it doesn’t get enough oxygen. If this happens, the stomach can develop extremely painful ulcers. If the oxygen starvation is truly severe, it can lead to perforation of the intestines or stomach.
Kidneys already suffer when people have high blood pressure. The condition weakens the kidneys and contributes to their failure. The artificially raised blood pressure brought about by cocaine accelerates the damage being done to the kidneys.
Of course, it’s not as if these effects occur every time someone uses cocaine, and some people can be addicted for years without suffering these effects. Still, there is a significant risk factor that comes with using the drug, and there are enough ER visits and deaths from the drug that the dangers are certainly not negligible. Cocaine might be seen as a high-class drug, but it’s just as deadly as any other, requiring focused treatment from a qualified drug addiction rehab center for full recovery.