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For many centuries people have used different drugs for various reasons. Depending on which decade you are in there are particular drugs of preference and abundant usage. Cocaine is most commonly used among 18-25 year olds rather then other age groups. I chose cocaine because it is what effects people my age most commonly.

Cocaine was first used in the late 1800's as a local anesthetic during surgeries. Cocaine is considered the most potent stimulant of natural origin. Cocaine can be used in many different ways. Snorting cocaine is the quickest way to use the drug. The drug is snorted through the nose and absorbed by the nasal tissues and spread through the blood stream. The quickest way to feel the impact of the drug is through injection. The drug is directly injected into the bloodstream causing immediate effects. The last way is inhalation. Cocaine can also be smoked by which it is inhaled into the lungs then into the bloodstream. Inhalation can be as rapid as injection. Another form of cocaine is known as crack. Crack is processed with ammonia or baking soda and water; it is then heated to a smoke able consistency.

According to Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in 2002 there were an estimated 1,059,000 new cocaine users in the United States. The average age of those who first used cocaine during the year was 20.3 years. Sadly in 2003-2004 approximately 34.9 million Americans over age 12 had tried cocaine at least once. The numbers are sad and shocking but amazingly continue to increase throughout the years.

Many health factors and risks arise with the use of cocaine. Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant. Physical effects of cocaine use include constricted blood vessels and increased temperature, heart rate, dilated pupils, increased energy and increased blood pressure. Cocaine use in its early stages is often hard to detect. Some of the signs of possible cocaine use are, nosebleeds, lose of appetite, stealing from loved ones for money, and lying. A cocaine user, once dependant, will experience stomach cramps, increased heart rate and random cold sweats. Some other long-term effects of the use of cocaine are paranoia, irritability, restlessness, auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances and many others. Users may also experience feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety (NIDA).

Many people who inhale the drug may suffer from acute respiratory problems including coughing, shortness of breath, and severe chest pains with lung trauma and bleeding. On the other spectrum of this, people who inject themselves run the risk of transmitting diseases intravenously. When death occurs due to cocaine use most often the person goes into cardiac arrest or seizes and then goes into respiratory arrest causing sudden death.

The treatment process for a cocaine addict is a long strenuous process. Treatment centers address numerous areas of the "self" in the process of treatment. The process involves treatment of the mental, emotional and physical aspects of individuals. The initial step in the process is called detox. ,"The detox takes place in a controlled environment and should be closely supervised by medical professionals. Although the detoxification process is uncomfortable because the body is still craving more drugs, it is essential and extremely beneficial in the long run. Beginning the cocaine treatment process with a medical detox has proved to be the most effective first



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