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Cocaine Side Effects that are Dangerous

Cocaine causes many side effects, most of which are dangerous. Whether a person takes cocaine once or whether he or she has been abusing it for years, cocaine is a very addictive drug that causes many problems for users. Consider the following dangerous side effects of cocaine abuse.

Cravings, Dependence, and Tolerance

Drug abuse can often lead to addiction, as well as dependence and tolerance. Cocaine is no exception. These conditions can be highly dangerous to the individual abusing cocaine.

  • Cravings
    • CESAR states that cocaine use over time can cause “an intense craving for the drug,” one that is not easily fought. According to the NIDA, “recent studies have shown that during periods of abstinence, the memory of cocaine experience or exposure to cues associate with drug use can trigger tremendous craving and relapse to drug use.” This is dangerous because someone who is recovering from cocaine addiction could suddenly become triggered and relapse, possibly leading to overdose and death.
  • Dependence
    • Dependence on cocaine can be highly dangerous because a person might exhibit drug-seeking behavior as a result and attempt to obtain more of the drug no matter how dangerous it may be for him or her to do so. Dependence also causes withdrawal from cocaine which results in:
      • “Agitation and restless behavior” (NLM)
      • Malaise
      • Depression (highly dangerous and may lead to suicidal thoughts)
  • Tolerance
    • Tolerance causes a cocaine users to take more of the drug in order to feel the high he or she first felt. Many cocaine users chase that original high which can lead them to dangerous consequences like overdose.

Dangerous Short-term Effects of Cocaine

cocaine abuse

Cocaine damages cardiovascular and respiratory function.

Cocaine has many short-term effects that can be dangerous to the individual even the first time he or she takes the drug. They are:

  • High body temperature
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Constriction of blood vessels
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

Cocaine-related heart attacks and strokes “may cause sudden death” (NIDA). These short-term effects are common and highly dangerous. May cocaine users also abuse the drug along with another drug or alcohol. One of the most dangerous combinations is called a speed-ball. It is cocaine and heroin mixed together, and it “carries a particularly high risk of fatal overdose.”

Another short-term effect is the “increased possibility of risky behaviors” which can cause:

  • A person to contract sexually transmitted illnesses
  • HIV or Hepatitis from the sharing of needles (CESAR)

Dangerous Long-term Effects of Cocaine

Prolonged use of cocaine can cause many dangers for the users, such as:

  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Heart disease
  • Hallucinations
    • These hallucinations are called “coke bugs,” and they are a tactile hallucination that causes people to feel as if bugs are burrowing under their skin.
  • Damage to the reproductive system and infertility
  • Mood disturbances
  • Psychosis
  • Severe nasal septum damage

Cocaine abuse is highly dangerous and can lead to many problems both after short-term and long-term use. As stated by CESAR, “even one use can cause overdose or death.” While many people do not consider the dangers of cocaine, it is important to know the effects of the drug and how harmful they can be.

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