When it comes to drugs, few have more profound or deleterious effects on the body than cocaine. Of all the drugs that are currently illegal, cocaine is one of the most dangerous.
Background of Cocaine
Cocaine is classified as a stimulant and is derived from the coca plant. Like many anti-depressants, cocaine has significant effects on serotonin reuptake and is considered an SSRI, which contributes greatly to its ability to provide feelings of euphoria. Although the drug may be legal in some rare medical procedures performed at hospitals, it is estimated that over six million Americans use cocaine illegally each year. The drug can be ingested through many ways, such as sniffing, snorting, injecting, or even smoking if made into solid form.
Cocaine’s Effects on the Brain
One aspect of health that can be drastically affected by the ingestion of cocaine is the brain. Cocaine affects the brain by increasing activity in the central nervous system, causing many negative effects. When cocaine is consumed, blood vessels in the brain are forced to constrict significantly, making it disturbingly common for cocaine users to suffer from strokes. Although most people associate strokes with those who are old, even very young and healthy people who are not normally at risk for strokes can suffer from this disease due to cocaine consumption. Additionally, cocaine’s effects on the brain can also cause dangerous seizures or even violent behavior.
Cocaine’s Effects on the Heart
Along with the brain, the heart is another body part that suffers significantly due to the consumption of cocaine. When cocaine is consumed, heart rate and blood pressure are both decreased while the arteries that supply blood to the heart become constricted. If this continues, it is not uncommon for cocaine use to result in a heart attack. As with strokes, these heart attacks can even occur in young people who suffer no symptoms of heart disease. Additionally, cocaine usage can also affect the heart by resulting in arrhythmia.
Cocaine’s Effects on the Respiratory System
Depending on how one ingests cocaine, the drug can also cause serious damage to the respiratory system.
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If cocaine is sniffed or snorted, the nose and sinuses can become severely damaged and cause serious nasal perforations. Conversely, those who choose to smoke the cocaine in solid form can help preserve the health of their nose and sinuses, but will instead endure permanent lung damage. Regardless of how cocaine is consumed, the effects on the respiratory system can be devastating.
Overall, cocaine is an incredibly harmful drug that can have extremely deleterious effects on the brain and the rest of the body. For those who value their health, avoiding the consumption of cocaine should be a top priority.