Can you become addicted to cocaine?
A study on the drug affinity of adolescents on behalf of the Federal Center for Health Education found in 2011 that 7.2% of children and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 had already had experience with illegal drugs. 0.2% of 12 to 17 year olds and 0.9% of 18 to 25 year olds had used cocaine at least once within the twelve months prior to the survey. The use of cocaine is therefore less important than cannabis for adolescents and young adults. In 2013, the number of first-time users recorded by the police fell by 3% compared to the previous year.
Type of ingestion
- sniffing, also called snuffing, snorting or "drawing a line"
- smoking (with tobacco) or inhaling the heated powder
- inject (dissolved cocaine)
- chew the coca leaves
- drink as tea
- eat (baked as a cake with water and baking powder)
When cocaine is consumed, the re-absorption of the messenger substances in their stores is inhibited in the brain. This extends their effect. This stimulates the psyche more and narrows the blood vessels. Cocaine has a local anesthetic effect on the mucous membranes.
The onset of action and the duration of action depend on the one hand on the active ingredient content of the drug ingested, but also on the type of consumption. In addition, there are particular risks associated with the form of consumption.
o Onset of action within minutes
o Intoxication lasts 1-3 hours
- Smoking and spraying
o Onset of action within seconds
o Intoxication lasts 5-10 minutes
Cocaine intoxication can be divided into three phases:
- 1st phase euphoric stage
Duration 20-60 minutes
o euphoric stimulation with well-being, euphoria, initially increasing potency
o increase of
- Drive & physical resilience
- Sensory perception with hallucinations or pseudo-hallucinations when seeing, hearing, feeling
- Libido with sexual disinhibition
o attenuation of
- feeling hungry
- Sheep need
- 2nd phase intoxication stage
o additional hallucinative-paranoid perceptions
- mostly optical and acoustic perceptions
- also visual, acoustic and tactile hallucinations
- 3rd phase: depressive phase
o Depressed state after being inebriated with
- tiredness and exhaustion
- feelings of guilt
- Thoughts of suicide
According to the ESPAD study (European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs), the risk of suicide in connection with the use of illegal drugs, with the exception of cannabis, is 2.4 times higher. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people in Europe. 189 adolescents and young adults committed suicide in 2010 in Germany.
Cocaine use also leads to physical changes:
Accelerated pulse and breathing
- Increase in blood pressure
- Increase in body temperature
Cocaine shock is a hypersensitivity reaction that can occur the first time you use it:
- cold sweat
- Shortness of breath
- Circulatory failure
The risk of a life-threatening overdose exists especially when injecting and smoking cocaine, as the drug gets into the brain very quickly when used in this way:
- Disturbances in consciousness up to a coma
- High blood pressure, heart attack
- Overheating of the body up to 42 ° Celsius
- Respiratory / circulatory failure
Use with other drugs
If cocaine is used together with other drugs, the effects can be mutually reinforcing:
- Cocaine and Nicotine:Both drugs constrict blood vessels, increasing the risk of stroke.
- Kokain and alcohol, ecstasy or LSD: Loss of control to the point of collapse
- Cocaine and Heroin: Risk of heroin addiction with additional physical dependence
- Cocaine and Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines are used by cocaine users to counter the anxiety caused by their drug addiction. In addition to the side effects of benzodiazepines, addiction to both substances can increase.
Every additional substance consumed doubles the risk of suicide!
Effects of Regular Consumption
In the case of regular use of cocaine, a distinction must be made between whether the person concerned only consumes the drug on certain occasions (episodic use) or (almost) daily (continuous use).
Episodic users obtain a dose that is below high and continue to take it until they have used up all of their drug supply. Usually they are completely exhausted afterwards. Continuous consumers, on the other hand, consume constant amounts more or less daily, which they increase over time due to the habituation that occurs.
Both forms of consumption lead to addiction, with psychological addiction predominating.
- psychological addiction
- Personality changes with a tendency to withdraw and the danger of isolation through breaking off all social ties
- inner unrest
- Lack of concentration and drive
- Irritability to aggressiveness
- Confusion up to delusions with loss of reality and hallucinations
The so-called "cocaine beetle" - the feeling of having small animals under your skin - is typical. This is associated with unpredictable reactions such as violence and self-mutilation - e.g. slitting one's own skin.
- sexual disinterest, impotence
- Eating and sleeping disorders
- increasing weakness with decreasing physical resilience
- Weight loss
- Damage to the liver, heart, kidneys and blood vessels
- Cocaine smoking damages the airways, causing deterioration in oxygen supply to the body and bleeding in the lungs
- When spraying, impurities can get into the body with considerable side effects
- the runny nose damages the mucous membranes of the nose and sinuses. This can cause nosebleeds and loss of taste and smell.
The following withdrawal symptoms can persist for several weeks:
- Tiredness and exhaustion
- Upset with lack of energy and sexual listlessness
- strong need for sleep (crash)
- strong craving for the drug with great risk of relapse
Cocaine is broken down in the body within 6 hours and excreted in the urine within 2-4 days. It can only be detected in the blood for 24 hours, but longer in the hair. However, in people who use cocaine regularly, elimination is delayed. Proof of this may still be possible after three weeks.
Addresses & links
Federal Center for Health Education
Ostmerheimer Str. 220
Tel. 0221 / 8992-0
Advice line: 0221 / 8920-31
Fax 0221 / 8992-300
Email: [email protected]
Information page of the Federal Center for Health Education
German Central Office for Addiction Issues (DHS) e.V.
West Wall 4
59065 Hamm, Germany
Phone: +49 2381 9015-0
Fax: +49 2381 9015-30
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet from the German Central Office for Addiction Issues V. to cocaine
The drug commissioner of the federal government
in the Federal Ministry of Health
Email: [email protected]
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