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Recognizing the Need for Cocaine Overdose Treatment

Drug overdose deaths have steadily risen in the United States since 1970, (38,329 in 2010) with 102% increase from 1999 to 2010. According to the Center for Disease Control, the leading cause of these deaths involved the use of opioids such as prescriptions painkillers, but, the second most common drug causing accidental overdose deaths was cocaine. In July of 2013, the White House issued a news release that cocaine related overdose deaths had declined in recent years as cocaine production around the world declined, less cocaine was reaching the United States, and the purity of the powder cocaine being purchased had dropped by 28 percent.

In some parts of the United States, the number of cocaine related deaths has actually increased and this may be because more addicts are choosing to inject the drug or smoke it as crack to obtain a more intense high. Crack cocaine is powerfully addictive and can be deadly from the first time it is used. There were 4,183 cocaine overdose deaths in 2010, and in 2008, there were more than 482,000 cocaine related emergency department visits making this is a currently, monumental problem.

Recognizing the Need for Cocaine Overdose Treatment

Cocaine overdose treatment is most effective when protective measures are taken to avoid using the drug. Cocaine is not dose specific, so limiting the number of times it is used or the amounts used is not helpful. An overdose can happen in an instant, and with any dose! Even the most experienced cocaine users are at risk and are unable to predict when an overdose will occur.

cocaine overdose

Treatment is needed to help prevent death by cocaine overdose.

It may be that the purity percentage of the dose is higher, there may be other toxic chemicals included in the batch, there may be other drugs involved, or another condition may have an adverse effect on the individual causing them to overdose. Once the overdose occurs, only the symptoms can be treated to minimize the patient’s risk of further health complications or death. Recognizing the various symptoms of overdose is important.

The major warning signs include seizures, stroke, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, hyperthermia or increased body temperature, kidney failure and hallucinations with many more symptoms that may be apparent after someone has used cocaine.

If any of these symptoms are being experienced by someone, after using cocaine, emergency medical professionals should be contacted and advised of the need for cocaine overdose treatment. The longer the person suffers from adverse conditions resulting from a cocaine overdose, the more at risk they become for fatality or other medical complications. The emergency responders (911) may be able to advise first aid options, but it is necessary to go to the emergency department for help in lowering temperature or blood pressure, preventing or treating seizures, heart attacks, strokes, organ damage, or other serious health complications.

Medical professionals may be able to assist in breathing complications, or treat severe psychological reactions and they are the best equipped people to manage other complications that may arise. It is important to advise the medical treatment professional of the cocaine use and although there is no antidote, the cocaine overdose will be treated as a poisoning and the other presenting symptoms will be better managed. Cocaine overdose can be fatal, despite these medical interventions, so immediately seeking help is vital. Following the immediate overdose treatment needs and the patient is stabilized; the first consideration should be to seek help in preventing any future cocaine overdoses. Cocaine overdose treatment programs can help the addict to conquer the addiction and regain their life.

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