Cocaine, like meth, is another substance that used to mean a lot more to people. The name used to command a lot more power in the hierarchy of illicit drugs but because of the opioid problems that have been troubling North Dakota and the rest of the world, cocaine has slipped out of the public conversation. However, there is reason to believe that cocaine, like meth, is back and becoming yet again, a rising problem for addicts across the state.
It May Be On the Decline, But…
Cocaine addiction use has begun to show signs of going down, but if brought into perspective over a few years, it seems to go up and down like the feeling of being on the drug itself. In 2011, the crime lab reported investigating 167 cocaine-related cases. By 2012, that number had increased to 222. In 2013, it dropped lower than 2011’s cases with 123 but spiked right back up the following year in 2014 with 223. The last record available for 2015 showed the dip was far less significant with 191 cases investigated. If the trend of low to high to low is continued, this low point being higher than previous low points could mean both a steady rise and possibly a very high spike going into 2016 and coming just behind the total of all other synthetic drug-related investigations. Unfortunately, analytics available as of this writing have not been released.
The number of drug violations related to cocaine, were only 77 less than heroin related violations. If you know anything about the amount of meth used in the state as well as it’s costs on North Dakota, 100 violations compared to the 1,633 in 2015 might seem like barely worth mentioning. The problem, like the heroin panic, is that the trend has been steadily increasing along with drug use in general over the last 8 years.
If careful attention is not paid, North Dakota’s cocaine use may continue to increase to a real point of crisis.
Cocaine Related Problems In North Dakota
Cocaine occurs in two main forms, though modern law has only just recently begun to classify both forms the same. Crack is a specially processed form of cocaine that is typically smoked instead of snorted, affects it’s users more quickly and ends more quickly than the powder form. It also tends to be cheaper, although nationwide, the price of powder cocaine is going down as well.
Cocaine and crack related health problems are primarily related to the cardiovascular system in the body. When the drug enters the bloodstream, it causes constriction of blood vessels, including those close to the heart. Lengthy addiction periods to the drug contribute to heart attacks and strokes stemming from these cardiovascular changes. The drug also speeds up pulse and breathing, so when an addict of many years takes higher doses while this condition is affecting their body, heart problems and even death can occur.
Even though the total number of drug violations is 100, it had previously only been recorded in the double digits with 2010 recording just 35 arrests and only 75 arrests just the previous year of 2014. As these arrests happen more frequently, it can be assumed there is more use and demand.
Depression and Cocaine in North Dakota
Often, the long term effects of extended cocaine addiction can wreak havoc on the brain’s ability to process emotions and even some physical sensations. Using cocaine stimulates a release of neurotransmitters called dopamine, overloading the receptors which, when triggered, give a person the sensation of happiness, positivity or pleasure. Many cocaine users explain that ‘the feeling cocaine gives you is it makes you want more cocaine’.
Users who use cocaine sometimes use it to treat a depression that the cocaine itself is contributing to. Other times, it may be the result of already existing depression that influences a person to experiment with drugs for altering mood. When the receptors that normally are naturally triggered at certain levels and for certain events and activities are hijacked by a synthetic action, the result is a ‘tolerance’ and desensitivity. It takes far more dopamine to be released for a coke addict to feel anywhere near the first time they tried it. When that process is completely halted, deep depression can sink into the addict which tends to make them relapse back into usage in an attempt to just feel normal.
Thoughts of suicide can be common among recovering and actively using addicts alike due to this change that takes place in their brain due to excessive cocaine use. Post treatment practices and meetings can go on for a very long time after initial treatment to maintain a handle on mental health issues that arise as a result of that change.
Cocaine Treatment Methods in North Dakota
The grip of addiction from cocaine and crack can leave a feeling of depression, anxiety, even hopelessness. Most users are quite cognizant that there’s a problem at later states, but that’s usually when their their brain’s ability to feel pleasure from dopamine release has been essentially ‘used’ up. They may even have used so much, they’ve physically started changing. For powder users, that can mean excessive inflammation of the nostrils and with a runny nose which can develop over time into a completely collapsed septum that literally rots away from lack of oxygen as a result from constricted blood vessels. For crack users, users’ teeth tend to fall out with heavy use and for the same reason.
Treating cocaine requires three areas of concentration tailored to the level of suffering from each of those areas and how much cocaine has affected that area. They are physical, mental and emotional. Physical therapy and treatment may include reconstructive surgery and medications for cardiovascular repair. Mental treatment may include using antidepressants if necessary and emotional treatment involves group activities and sessions with psychologists.
Post treatment period is especially important due to the rate of suicide of addicts both on and off the drug. Many deaths are intentional overdoses rather than accidental with many heroin cases. Addictions like this are a lifelong illness that must be managed by the person in recovery, which includes maintaining a healthy state of mind once their brain doesn’t operate in the same way as before the drug use.
For those who need addiction treatment in North Dakota, we can help you find a rehab center that is perfect for you or a loved one. Contact us today to learn more.