Many drugs that currently are illegal and carry criminal penalties began as useful medicinal therapies, such as opiates, cocaine, MDMA, and amphetamines. They were legal and were often available over the counter at pharmacies or through licensed sellers.
Besides being legal, some drugs were even in our food products such as cocaine. The definition of cocaine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), states that cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America.
Cocaine Was Legal in the Early 20th Century
For a long time, cocaine was a legally distributed drug and an active ingredient in several products. Sigmund Freud used to take it himself and give it to his close friends for depression and sexual impotence. The drug was first labeled as a pharmaceutical for those with low energy and as an energy-boosting supplement for athletes. By the turn of the 20th century, cocaine could be found in many products, including Coca-Cola and even margarine, and was regularly prescribed as a cure-all for ailments ranging from morphine addiction to asthma to tuberculosis and hay fever.
Cocaine Use Leads to Addiction and Abuse
Eventually, reports were popping up of cocaine addiction that sparked concern that the drug posed a serious threat to the health and safety of its users. Local and state lawmakers began to restrict cocaine use, and eventually, the federal government stepped in to try to stop the drug abuse, including cocaine, with the passage of the Harrison Act of 1914. The law banned non-medical uses of the drug. Although health care providers can use it for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, recreational cocaine use is illegal and is no longer prescribed.
On the street, cocaine looks like a fine, white, crystal powder. Dealers often mix it with things like cornstarch, talcum powder, or flour to increase profits. They may also mix it with other drugs such as the stimulant amphetamine, or synthetic opioids, including fentanyl. Adding synthetic opioids to cocaine is especially risky when people using cocaine don’t realize it contains this dangerous additive. Increasing numbers of overdose deaths among cocaine users might be related to this tampered cocaine.
How Cocaine is Used Now to Get High
Even though it is illegal, users still crave the euphoric stimulant high it creates. There are many ways that cocaine can be used. One popular method is by snorting cocaine powder through the nose. Another is by dissolving the cocaine into a liquid and injecting it intravenously. Combining cocaine with heroin, called a Speedball, is another way.
Another cheaper and most popular way of using cocaine is by smoking it. The powder form is processed and concentrated to form a rock crystal (known as a crack rock or rock cocaine). The rock is heated up to the point of releasing vapors, which are then inhaled into the lungs (known as freebasing).
Cocaine is very easy to overdose from. It is commonly used, simultaneously, with other drugs and/or alcohol, which are deadly combinations and can lead to accidental overdoses.
Treatment for Cocaine Abuse and Dependence
If you or a loved one think they may be addicted to cocaine and want help, Garden State Treatment Center can get you on the right track. Our customized and personalized drug addiction treatment programs are guided by individual treatment plans that tackle co-occurring disorders. These include disorders such as ADD/ ADHD, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.
Psychological or emotional distress often leads to self-medication and drug abuse and is a big contributing factor to chemical dependency. Treating drug addiction without tackling these underlying psychological problems is not effective, that’s why we have a dual diagnosis treatment program. Start living today!