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Cocaine is an illegal substance that has been around for hundreds of years. People have used and abused the drug causing many health problems and long term addiction. Since the beginning of cocaine abuse, people have been researching and finding more information about the side effects on every sense in the body. Cocaine is known for messing with the sense of smell, taste, and touch. Cocaine, also known as bump or yeyo,  is still a prominent drug in the United States even though it is illegal in every state. There is new research coming out everyday trying to discover new things about the highly addictive drug.   It all began in 1859 when a chemist named, Albert Niemann, extracted the cocaine from Erythroxylon coca (E. coca), also known as the coca plant. Another man named, Sigmund Freud, was a believer that cocaine helped heal and was very beneficial as a medicine. In “Cocaine- a short story”, it states, “In 1884, he published an article entitled “Über Coca” (About Coke) which promoted the “benefits” of cocaine, calling it a “magical” substance. Freud, however, was not an objective observer. He used cocaine regularly, prescribed it to his girlfriend and his best friend and recommended it for general use,” (The Foundation for a Drug-Free World). Due to Freud prescribing cocaine to his close friends and family, he had a friend suffer from hallucinations claiming he had “white snakes creeping over his skin.” He also overdosed another patient because he believed the lethal dosage of cocaine was very high. As the years went by cocaine kept growing more and more popular, especially among the higher social classes. “From the 1850s to the early 1900s, cocaine and opium-laced elixirs (magical or medicinal potions), tonics and wines were broadly used by people of all social classes. Notable figures who promoted the “miraculous” effects of cocaine tonics and elixirs included inventor Thomas Edison and actress Sarah Bernhardt,” (Foundation for a Drug-Free World). Because of the popularity with the drug, it was finally banned in 1922. As of 2008, cocaine had became the second most trafficked illegal substance in the world. What made cocaine so popular was the fun adrenaline giving ability, but while cocaine was giving great highs to people, they were becoming addicted without even noticing. Unlike other drugs such as weed or ecstasy, people can become addicted after just one use. Once people start using cocaine, their body almost becomes completely independent on it. Its something their body always wants and feels as if it needs. According to American Addiction Centers, “Both cocaine and crack cocaine can cause brain damage, even when used only a few times. Damage to brain structures can trigger addiction, which is a disease involving the reward circuits and dopamine systems,” (What Are the Effects of Cocaine on the Brain?). The chemicals in the drug alter your brain and the way you think after only one time of using the substance. People believe cocaine helps them get things done and keeps them awake, which, for some, is how the addiction starts. It stimulates the key receptors in people’s brains that turn into a kind of euphoria feeling. In order to get the same feeling, people need to take heavier dosages, due to tolerance build up. In order to reach the fastest high, people inject it directly into their bloodstream, but you can also snort, smoke, or rub it onto your gums. As people’s tolerance builds, the more they need, hence the more addicted they become. Cocaine has caused many short-term effects and long-term effects people must live with for the rest of their lives. While people are enjoying their high, they do not normally realize all the things that are happening to their body because of the drug. Some short-term effects of cocaine can include: increased heart rate, paranoia, hostility, anger, and anxiousness. According to “The Truth About Crack Cocaine”, Regardless of how much of the drug is used or how frequently, crack cocaine increases the risk that the user will experience a heart attack, stroke, seizure or respiratory (breathing) failure, any of which can result in sudden death,” (Foundation For a Drug-Free World). Even trying this drug once makes your chances of dying increase. The effects of cocaine include a short lived, intense high, followed by a bad depression, which leads to wanting more of the drug. Sleep can get messed up and eating and drinking can become difficult. Money begins to only be spent on the drug while people do not notice they have not eaten in a couple days. Addiction is a serious problem. While not on the drug people begin having nausea and severe depression because their body is fighting them for the drug to be back in it’s system. While the short-term effects are bad, the long-term effects are even worse. As tolerance to the drug increases, it becomes necessary to take greater and greater quantities to get the same high. Prolonged daily use causes sleep deprivation and loss of appetite. A person can become psychotic and begin to experience hallucinations due to lack of necessary sleep and the effects the drugs are having on the brain. Christian Nordqvist states, “Cocaine has a very powerful stimulating effect on the nervous system. It raises levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure, movement, and the brain’s reward circuit,” (Cocaine: Effects, risks, and managing addiction). Once the levels of dopamine are raised, the brain with be changed from then on out. The way people think and act start to change too. The things they once did, like hanging out with friends and family, no longer interest them and daily activities seem boring without the high. Coming down from the high leads to severe depression, that someone will do anything for the drug in order to become happy again. Along with the brain and characteristics of the individual, some senses, like smell, get disrupted as well. According to Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, a psychiatrist, ” The mucous membrane of both sides of the septum (the cartilage that separates the nostrils) can be damaged by decreased blood supply, along with drying, crusting, and nose picking. This results in a perforation or hole in the septum with more crusting, foul secretions, nosebleeds, and whistling with nasal breathing, the so-called coke nose,” (Cocaine Addiction Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, Withdrawal). Snorting the product makes addicts lose their sense of smell and can even bother with their sense of taste. Finally, most cocaine users with be left with permanent damage to blood vessels of ear and brain, high blood pressure, and severe depression. Cocaine has been an addictive drug since the 1800s, starting with one man believing it was helping him live his life better. Since then, there have many thousands of deaths and thousands of people stuck under the curse of addiction. Many people that have used the substance now suffer from depression and other health issues. This drug will probably be around for hundreds more years, but the more people learn and realize it is not something to mess around with, the more the numbers of overdoses and addicts will decrease. If additional people learn about this deadly drug, the more people could vere away from the trap of addiction. Scientists are still researching and coming if with new things all the time. Hopefully one day they will be able to help the addicts find their way back home and get rid of the deadly drug.

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