Monday, 9 March 2015


Peter is an enthusiastic young man from a very privileged family. He is a common face in the eyes of many students at the university. This is probably because he is known to occasionally spend money that can significantly change the lifestyle of a less privileged family. Many students want to identify with him because he is quite generous. He has recently joined this clique of “cool’ boys that are all about “swag.” He is totally unaware that the cohesion of the members in this clique is strengthened by regular drug use. Peter is introduced to marijuana as a group initiation norm. A few weeks after, he is convinced to try cocaine because it fits his status since it is more expensive and stylish to use. Unfortunately in just two weeks of using cocaine, he is highly addicted and constantly demands for more money from his parents to feed his addiction. 

Cocaine is a white powder extracted out of the leaves of the coca plant which is usually grown in South America. Its street names include coke, blow and snow. It is the most powerful central nervous stimulant in the world though not a drug many “users” get to access because it is very expensive so just the rich individuals get to use it often. Due to the high demand of cocaine among less fortunate “users,” crack, a base of cocaine was introduced. Crack is way cheaper but just as addictive and destructive as is cocaine but worse because of affordability. The United Nations drug report 2014 estimates that 14-21 million people in 2012 reported using cocaine in the past year.

Unlike other drugs, cocaine takes a couple of minutes for a person to get the “rush” which hardly lasts an hour and it is followed by a depression which creates a craving for more of the drug to evade the severe withdrawal symptoms. The intensity and duration of its effects depend on the route of administration and mood a person has been in before taking the drug. Absorption is much higher for people that inject the drug into their veins though it can also be sniffed. Cocaine can make a happy person extremely talkative and at the same time make an angry person violent and extremely dangerous. 

The effects of using cocaine include, euphoria, hyperactivity, paranoia and nose bleeding. Unfortunately using cocaine causes severe damage to the body including grave dependence, perforation of the septum, cardiac arrest and death due to overdose. Cocaine users are synonymous with criminality including rape, theft or even murder to get their next “fix.” Cocaine usage has affected many families, marriages, businesses and economies because it robs many people of their identity, creativity, income and productivity.

Fortunately, a cocaine addiction can be broken despite the intensity of the craving experienced by a person dependent on cocaine. The most important decision one has to make is to decide that they no longer want to be controlled by the drug. Creating that mindset allows a person to gain the strength to resist taking the drug even if initially it may be quite difficult, it gets better with time. The second step is to seek professional help or therapy to break the addiction. Finally, one has to change the environment to reduce interactions with people, places and situations that can cause a relapse.
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