Do You Know? – Cocaine

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug. Once having tried it, an individual cannot predict or control the extent to which he or she will continue to use it. It was my drug of choice when I was away from the Lord.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: This article was originally published in Issue #1 January/February 2006 of the RU-N-Touch Magazine.

The Effects of Cocaine Use

Cocaine produces a brief, but intense euphoria followed by severe depression. The empty feeling that follows the euphoria leaves many users wanting to regain the high. There is great risk of addiction regardless of whether it is inhaled, injected or smoked. Addiction may develop more rapidly if it is smoked rather than snorted. Smoking allows extremely high doses of cocaine to reach the brain very quickly and brings an intense and immediate high.

It is a strong central nervous system stimulant that interferes with the absorption of dopamine, a chemical messenger associated with pleasure and movement. When injected, it quickly travels to the brain, which in response, releases dopamine. Unlike the natural release of dopamine, it prevents the brain from reabsorbing the dopamine, causing extreme euphoria. The brain is depleted of dopamine, which causes the severe depression after the drug has dissipated.

The immediate euphoric effects are hyper-stimulation, reduced fatigue, and mental clarity. Physical effects of cocaine use include constricted peripheral blood vessels, dilated pupils, and increased temperature, heat rate and blood pressure. Some users report feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. In rare instances, sudden death can occur the first time cocaine is used. You may be its next victim.

High doses can trigger paranoia. Smoking crack cocaine can produce a particularly aggressive paranoid behavior in users. When addicted individuals stop using, they often become depressed. This also may lead to further use to alleviate depression. Prolonged cocaine snorting can result in ulceration of the mucous membrane of the nose and can damage the nasal septum enough to cause it to collapse. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest.

Abusers believe they can hide their addiction. However, physical signs soon become noticeable. Users typically have runny noses, frequent upper respiratory infections and severe mood swings. When ingesting cocaine, individuals may stay awake for hours or even days. Some users spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on cocaine and crack each week and will do anything to support their habit. Many turn to drug selling, prostitution or other crimes. It becomes the most important thing in their lives. This obsession overrides everything—family, friends, career, everything, but perhaps, the money they need to buy more cocaine.

The Cure for Addiction

There is only one sure Way for a addict to rid themselves of this horrible addiction. It is this: Only the Truth makes free. You’ve got the truth. Now what are you going to do with it?

Facts and figures for this article were compiled by Bro. Curington from various periodicals and publications. Please email weneedu@reformu.com for a list of study materials on various addictive drugs.

Sharing is Caring

Steve Curington grew up in a Christian home and graduated from North Love Christian School in 1984. After high school, Steve started a 10-year addiction to alcoholism and cocaine. After a serious car accident, Steve found complete sobriety through his relationship with Jesus Christ. After his recovery in 1996, Steve began Reformers Unanimous, a faith-based addiction ministry. What started as a humble, Friday night addiction class with four regular attendees in Rockford, Illinois, grew to a class of more than 300 people from the community and then spread to other churches across the country and around the world. The founder of Reformers Unanimous International (RU) died suddenly on October 30, 2010. Mr. Curington, a husband and father of five children, was only 45, but he accomplished more in his 15 years of ministry than many do in a lifetime. We know his work, his writing, his voice, and his reach will live on.

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