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Cocaine addiction has become an infinite black hole for a major part of the population in the UK. Being a drug that induces alertness, sharpness, and heightened levels of confidence, cocaine has become a personal favourite of 70% of the United Kingdom’s drug-abusing population, while marijuana stands still at the 80% mark. The behaviour of someone on coke is identifiable if you know how to look out for the signs. There is a myriad of ways to tell if someone is sniffing coke.  

If you are wondering “how bad is cocaine actually?” To answer your question, let’s just say that it is an illicit drug. So, it is obviously pretty bad. How do people act on cocaine? How addictive is cocaine? What are the long-term effects of cocaine use? 

According to a massive study conducted in the UK, cocaine is the second most used and “preferred” drug among frequent drug abusers. 

So much so that 7 in 10 frequent drug abusers engage in cocaine abuse in the UK. Typically, these are the people who suffer from polysubstance abuse. 

Did you know that only 14% of coke abusers seek professional medical treatment and psychotherapies? This proportion is negligible in comparison with the total number of the UK cocaine abusers. 

During the same survey, 90% of the cocaine abusing population in the UK turned out to be between the ages 15-35. This implies that most of the individuals in England and Wales –  who have been submerged into an ocean of disasters due to cocaine addiction – are either employed or in the midst of their academic life. 

Why are the statistics for cocaine abuse and addiction from the UK blasting through the sky? 

You see, cocaine is a party drug in the UK. Moreover, there is a stigma that constantly revolves around it. 

Whether it is due to peer pressure or a personal inclination towards consumption, the verdict is that cocaine abuse and dependence has already taken a foothold in the UK by now. 

It is for this reason that cocaine addiction has become an open secret in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland to some extent. 

As Sky News says, “Everyone knows about it. But, nobody does anything to counter it.” 

The question mark looming over our heads asks “how to beat cocaine addiction when it has been spreading like an epidemic among us?” 

To be fair, the first step that you can personally take in this direction is to educate yourself about it. Awareness begins with you. 

How about we take it a step further? Let’s start with cocaine abuse and traverse all the way through to cocaine overdose. 

There are three major classes of drugs in the UK. Known as “Controlled Drugs,” these classes are demarcated as:

  • Class A – Extremely harmful drugs. 
  • Class B – Moderately harmful drugs.
  • Class C – Least harmful substances. 

Cocaine, having extreme addictive potential, belongs to Class A drugs and happens to share the room with heroin, ecstasy, methadone, magic mushrooms, and crystal meth. 

Coke comes from a plant called “Coca.” Because it is a stimulant drug, it can create an immense, overwhelming feeling of euphoria, while increasing your energy levels. 

Users of cocaine become liable to dependence and its addiction. For this reason, the UK has declared coke to be an illicit drug. 

When found in possession, cocaine can lead to a severe sentence. The penalties in the UK are extremely harsh in this case. 

A TV show released all over the UK, called “Why Women Kill,” proceeds to show the story of a struggling writer as he finds a way to prevent relapses after undergoing an expensive program of cocaine addiction rehabilitation. 

As the story progresses, Eli – the character in context – tries to come up with a storyline to sell. But, no matter how hard an effort he makes, he cannot write a book even with the publishers stressing upon it. 

Spoiler alert: Eli relapses. He sniffs cocaine once again and his level of alertness climbs up several levels as his fingers click and clack across the keyboard. That is when he finally comes up with a mind-blowing story for the publishers. 

You see, the show depicts how easily people tend to fall for a drug like cocaine, only to indulge in its abuse. 

Like Eli, coke addicts might believe that the only way they can function is with the cocaine in their systems. Otherwise, they are useless. 

Long story short, cocaine abuse can be rooted in a myriad of reasons. Most often, however, it is for recreational purposes. In different contexts, coke addicts also believe that cocaine is “food” for their thoughts. 

For this specific reason, the highly alert minds of people with cocaine addictions can come up with different ways to abuse cocaine. 

Typically, the following ways are used for coke abuse:

  • Sniffing or snorting the fine, white powder form of cocaine. 
  • Rubbing the powder on the gums. 
  • Dissolving the powder in a liquid (most commonly, water) to inject directly into the veins. 
  • Heating up the rock crystal form (crack cocaine) to smoke it with the use of a pipe. 

Remember: Crack is a faint pink coloured, crystallized form of cocaine. It can be smoked on its own, as well as along with marijuana or tobacco. It has the highest addiction potential and possesses maximum potency. 

As far as cocaine abuse with multiple drug combinations is concerned, the act is fairly common in the UK. 

Abusing cocaine with alcohol is like trying to make two parallel universes meet. Alcohol is a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant, while cocaine is a CNS stimulant. Both of them counter the effect of each other. 

Increased sweating, restlessness, blurred vision, inability to form coherent sentences, and impaired judgement are just a few of the many side effects of cocaine and alcohol co-abuse. 

Similar to this, cocaine can be consumed with heroin (another depressant). The phenomenon is often referred to as the “speedball” effect. 

Cocaine is also laced with fentanyl (an opioid) at times. Fentanyl is known to have 50 times higher potency than heroin and 100 times greater potency than morphine. Can you guess what the effects are? One word: Disastrous. 

Not only can the deadly combination of fentanyl and cocaine lead to overdose, but it can also cause immediate brain damage and cardiac arrest. 

Moving on, cocaine abuse signs are immensely ostensible if a person knows how to look for them. 

Here are a few typical tell-tale signs of cocaine abuse:

  1. The presence of drug paraphernalia. This can include bongs, pipes, paper rolls, spoons, razor blades, small plastic bags, and so on. 
  2. White powder residue found on different surfaces. 
  3. White residue found on clothes. 
  4. A faint scent of salt and acetone. 

The physical cocaine abuse symptoms, which also fall in the cocaine addiction category, include:

  1. Bloodshot eyes
  2. The residue of powder on the nose (“Sugar Spots”) 
  3. Runny nose
  4. Sores in the nose
  5. “Coke bloat” – puffiness over the cheeks
  6. Marks of needles on the hands 
  7. Dilated pupils causing coke addicts to wear sunglasses because of extreme sensitivity to sunlight. 

Note: Cocaine addiction and abuse are different stages of the same journey. You cannot crossover into the territory of Cocaine Use Disorder without abusing the drug first. For this reason, some cocaine abuse symptoms are also synonymous with cocaine addiction symptoms. 

Cocaine abuse leads to physical addiction (dependence), which later on leads to a compelling, chemical, full-fledged addiction to cocaine. 

There is one main difference between a coke addict and an abuser: The discrepancies in their behaviour. 

How do people act on cocaine? Continue exploring further. 

Generally speaking, our nervous system is a complex arena of functions. To manage those functions, human beings have been awarded with neurotransmitters. 

Note: Neurotransmitters, in easy terms, are chemical substances that form the communication system between different areas of the brain and the body. 

Three of these neurotransmitters are crucial to maintaining the general well-being of a person. These are:

  • Serotonin – Uplifts the mood.
  • Norepinephrine – Prevents depressive thoughts and stimulates the brain. 
  • Dopamine – Accentuates the feeling of being rewarded and the happiness connected with it. 

Now, how does cocaine come to play a part in this? 

Well, whenever an abuser snorts, injects or smokes coke, the chemicals within the drug penetrate the nervous system and prevent the aforementioned neurotransmitters from going back into their respective “houses” where they are naturally stored. 

In other words, cocaine causes serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine to sit within the brain so that they keep stimulating and altering the communication system travelling to the rest of the body. 

Over time, when the brain is continually exposed to coke, the receptors within the nervous system become accustomed to the presence of cocaine. The result? They fail to function without the drug. 

It is for this reason that repeated cocaine abuse often leads to the destruction of normal brain function, initiating physical dependence. 

So much so that it causes you to enter a state of emotions that you never knew existed. 

For instance, “My boyfriend was asleep in bed, I was using cocaine at about 4 am. I had work the next day and I wanted to die,” said Wendy, a former cocaine addict from the UK. 

But, after you have become physically dependent and addicted to coke, what happens if you do not consume the drug? 

You go into a state of withdrawal. You experience the way your body denies your well-being and puts you into an undeniable hunger for cocaine. 

The symptoms of withdrawal from cocaine include:

  • Cravings for coke
  • Increased appetite
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness even as you sleep
  • Exhaustion
  • Anger and stress
  • The inability to witness the mere concept of pleasure

Note: Cocaine withdrawal is a medical condition and requires medications and effective therapy for proper treatment. 

After you have witnessed the phase of abuse and dependence, cocaine addiction will definitely coat you with its effects. 

Before you know it, you will be seeking out the drug compulsively, while possibly selling all your assets to fund your addiction financially. 

Because it does not take a long while to cross the boundary from abuse to addiction due to the potential for dependence, cocaine can lead to some immensely destructive effects in a fairly short period of time. 

Nonetheless, there are a few risk factors for cocaine addiction that you should be familiar with. Even if it is for the sake of your loved ones, let’s take a peek.

  1. A toxic environment: At times, a high crime rate in the area where you reside, the rate of unemployment, or the mere party culture in the UK can lead to cocaine addiction. 
  2. Minority: Discrimination and microaggressions against the minorities in the UK become a cause for coke addiction. 
  3. Behavioural risk factors: Low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and a deficiency of faith in yourself can also incline people toward cocaine abuse. 
  4. Mental health disorders: People who tend to suffer from PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, and so forth often engage in cocaine abuse to “take a break” from their feelings. 
  5. The role of family: Negligence of the parents or cocaine abusing parents often give rise to circumstances that further facilitate coke abuse. 

Despite the fact that the risk factors can vary drastically from person to person, coke addict symptoms and signs often remain the same. 

Cocaine Addiction Symptoms

Not every person who abuses cocaine will react in the same manner physically or behaviourally. But, there are always a few tell-tale, trademark signs that are pivotal for coke addicts only. 

The physical coke addict symptoms include:

  • Twitching continuously
  • Shaking limbs
  • Sniffing 
  • Hoarseness in the voice
  • Increased temperature
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Stomach pain
  • Deep, dark circles surrounding the eyes
  • Impotence
  • Severe headaches
  • Bloody nose
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fever
  • Watery eyes
  • Sore throat 

The behaviour of someone on coke is often easy to recognize. Here are a few warning signs to observe:

  1. Lying about the use of coke
  2. Hiding a stash for urgent use
  3. Going bankrupt because of purchasing too much cocaine
  4. Becoming angry when they feel like they are being confronted
  5. Leaving or getting fired from the job
  6. Quitting school
  7. Becoming averted from friendships and close relatives
  8. Displaying the symptoms of anxiety 

Cocaine often shreds the general well-being of a person into pieces. 

Note: Make sure that you look out for the aforementioned behavioral coke addict signs to ensure that your loved ones are encouraged to seek treatment while they have the chance. 

Cocaine has short-term, as well as long-term effects associated with its abuse and addiction. Generally, in the short term, cocaine has some negative consequences that you might have to battle as you are stepping down from the journey of cocaine abuse onto the path of coke addiction.

Let’s take a look at the short-term effects of cocaine abuse:

  • Mood changes
  • Depression after coming down from a high
  • Sleep problems
  • Hygienic issues
  • Disrupted interpersonal relationships
  • Not feeling interested in your hobbies 

In the long term, however, the negativity concerned with cocaine abuse and addiction engorges and enlarges itself till it becomes impossible to reverse the long-term effects of cocaine use. 

It is for this reason that specialists often seek support from doctors when a coke addict is admitted to an inpatient rehab. 

In the UK, there is an unfortunate number of people who observe the following long-term effects of cocaine use and abuse:

  • Impotence
  • Infertility
  • Breathing difficulties and lung damage
  • A myriad of reproductive side effects
  • Damage to the airways and nose mucosa
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of basic nutrients
  • Seizures
  • Chronic nosebleeds (epistaxis) 
  • Susceptibility to disorders like Parkinson’s 

If you happen to consume cocaine while you are pregnant, it is likely that you will expose your infant to thousands of health deficits. This is because cocaine can cross the placenta. 

Some babies often experience withdrawal symptoms after they are born, given that the mother was abusing cocaine while pregnant. 

Cocaine abuse in the long term can also lead to paranoia, hallucinations, and psychosis. Cognitive deficits and memory problems are also fairly common. 

In fact, if a person misusing cocaine consumes a larger amount of the drug while trying to immerse themselves in a mind-altering high, overdose can occur. 

Alcohol and cocaine are a part of the culture of the UK. For this reason, long-term abuse of cocaine with alcohol leads to more than 700 coke overdose-triggered deaths per year. 

The symptoms of cocaine overdose are denoted by: A bluish tint to the skin, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, seizures, and high body temperature. 

In several severe cases, delirium and death can occur. 

Note: The symptoms of cocaine overdose are an alarming sign to opt for immediate medical attention. Do not waste a moment before calling an ambulance if you observe the aforementioned coke overdose signs. 

Now, how about we take a look at each component we have explored? 

First off, the reasons for cocaine abuse can vary from person to person. But, the ways of abuse revolve around snorting, dissolving, injecting, and smoking crack. 

Cocaine is physically addictive. For this reason, the journey from abuse to dependence, and then to addiction is pretty short. Even if you pay attention and control your doses for the “high” that you crave, you will still not be able to prevent yourself from becoming a coke addict. 

The behaviour of people on coke is a tell-tale sign of addiction. The anger, the frustration, the outbursts, the lying, the denial; every single one of these traits are differential to coke addicts. 

Look out for the warning signs of cocaine addiction if you suspect your loved ones. In the beginning, cocaine addicts often display characteristic features of denial and recklessness. 

Do not confront them. Instead, sit beside them and let them know that you support them. Help them realize the importance of seeking treatment. 

After all, it is fairly easy for people in the UK to become ingrained within the toxic drug and party culture. 

It is for this reason that these people suffer from overdoses. Know the typical signs of overdose and opt for immediate medical attention.

Cocaine addiction is not a way to die. Help your loved ones out of the bottomless pit of coke abuse. 



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