Teen Cocaine Abuse

Teen cocaine abuse is a very serious problem. Learn the street terms associated with cocaine and crack cocaine, the effects and signs of teen cocaine use to look for, and drug treatment options available to teenagers who are using cocaine.

Cocaine is one of the most powerful stimulants with a natural origin. It was originally used as an anesthetic in the late 1800s for surgery on the nose, throat and eyes. Cocaine limits bleeding by constricting the blood vessels. However, cocaine is no longer used in that manner, and is instead often used as an illegal substance. It is refined into a powder form, in which it can be inhaled (“snorted”) or injected. It can also be smoked.

Crack cocaine is a specific version of the drug that has not gone through a neutralization process. Crack comes in the form of a crystal and is smoked. As it is heated, the rock cocaine makes the crackling sound that gives the drug its name.

The National Survey on Drug Use estimates that about 35.9 million Americans over the age of 12 have tried cocaine at least once. About 5.7 million have used cocaine in the last year. About 2,500 people try cocaine each day. Amongst teenagers, the percentages of lifetime cocaine use is lower than in the general population:

  • 3.1%
  • 5.3%
  • 7.8%

Additionally, teenagers clearly believe that using cocaine poses a risk. Amongst 12th graders, 59.9 percent believe that even occasional use of cocaine offers a great risk. And when used regularly, 82 percent of 12th graders think that cocaine is a great risk. However, fewer students (47.3 percent) think that trying cocaine once poses a danger. It is obvious, though, that teenagers view cocaine as much more dangerous than marijuana.

Some of the street terms associated with crack cocaine and cocaine use include:

  • Blow
  • Horn
  • Bingers
  • Oolies
  • Tornado
  • Nose candy
  • Snowball
  • Wicky stick
  • C

Effects of teen cocaine use

Cocaine can have some fairly dramatic health effects, especially if it is abused regularly. Injection and smoking has the potential to cause even greater harm to a user than snorting cocaine.

One of the most dangerous effects of teen cocaine use is the potential for tolerance and addiction. Tolerance is when the body begins to get used to the drug. As the body adapts to the drug, more and more is required to get the same effects as before. This can lead to overdose as the user attempts to get more of the drug into his or her system. Addiction can also result - meaning that the teenager does not feel as though he or she is functioning at a normal level unless the drug is in the system. Some of the other effects of cocaine use include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Trouble sleeping and restlessness.
  • Higher temperature or fever.
  • Elevated heart rate.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Lung trauma.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Heart problems.
  • Diseases acquired from using a needle to inject.
  • Collapsed veins from repeated injections.

Cocaine can also result in overdoses that can lead to serious health conditions and even death. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, cocaine overdose is present in about 30 percent of emergency room episodes involving drugs.

Treating teen cocaine use

Cocaine is a very dangerous drug. It is considered “hard” for a reason. It is important to get help for a teenager that has been abusing cocaine so that the damage to the person’s health can be limited as much as possible.

In many cases, residential treatment facilities are preferred for cocaine users. This is because residential facilities offer a range of supportive services that can help the teen overcome withdrawal, deal with the mental aspects of the addiction and have medical staff on hand for physical and medical problems. Additionally, a residential treatment facility has the added advantage of getting a teenager away from the environment in which he or she has had access to drugs.

The best treatment programs are careful to combine the use of behavior modification with cognitive techniques. In some cases, adding a pharmacological element can also help. But no matter the treatment program, it is vital that the drug user have a support system to help him or her through the troubles that are bound to come. Try to be understanding and helpful, and available when possible.

Cocaine is a dangerous and addicting drug. Once teen cocaine use is begun, it can be very difficult to stop. This is why it is important to catch cocaine use as early as possible, and start a treatment regimen that will help the teenager overcome its use.

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