One of the biggest problems professionals have to encounter when dealing with drug abuse patients is the phenomenon of youth cocaine addicts. Parents, grandparents, school teachers, and family friends, are actually the most intimate group of people whose sphere of attention a kid or a teenager has to surpass without letting them notice that something has changed in his or her behavior as a drug addiction is slowly emerging. Youth cocaine abuse has entered the homes of many “civilized” and “peaceful” types of neighborhoods. But although parents feel tremendously threatened just by considering the idea that their innocent-looking kid or young teenager was given not only the opportunity, but has had the curiosity of experiencing how it feels “to be high on cocaine,” they do not dare open up Pandora’s box and begin a dialogue that might save their child’s life.
A parent should be aware that cocaine and crack come from the leaves of the coca plant, which grows primarily in South America. Cocaine is processed into white powders which people snort or melt and inject. Crack is further processed into a substance that can be smoked. Cocaine acts on the brain and is a highly addictive drug. Because crack is smoked, and allows high doses to reach the brain rapidly, crack is even more addictive.
Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. Its immediate effects include dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature. Occasional use can cause a stuffy or runny nose, while chronic use can ulcerate the membrane of the nose. Injecting cocaine with contaminated equipment can cause AIDS, hepatitis, and other diseases. In addition, crack is extremely addictive, and its effects are felt within 10 seconds. The physical effects include dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, tactile hallucinations, paranoia, and seizure. The use of cocaine or/and crack can cause death by cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.
However, the history of cocaine does not portray it as being “evil.” Cocaine leaves where chewed by the Indians of Peru. Line drawing on pottery show evidence that coca chewing was part of the culture as early as 3,000 BC and its effects on mood and behavior were very much appreciated by Indians. The coca plant was considered to be a gift of the Gods and was used during religious rituals and other specific purposes. At some point it became a practice to pay the Indians in coca leaves for their work, forcing enormous amounts of work from them, despite difficult conditions since they were not fully aware of their situation. Coca was highly regarded in the 1880-1890’s and many prominent figures advocated the therapeutic use of cocaine.
But how and why young individuals start using cocaine? There is no single answer to that question. Usually drug use starts in response to peer pressure. Young people naturally want to “fit-in” and to be accepted by their classmates or friends. Unfortunately, a number of other factors can lead a mislead kid or teenager to try cocaine or crack. According to experts, apathy and inertia are some of the factors that can direct a child towards drug abuse. Moreover, insufficient or false information may be the cause. Research studies have shown that once involvement with drugs begins, all too often follows a predictable sequence leading to problems, such as crime incidents, imprisonment sentences, or even deaths, due to the use of drugs.
Users of cocaine have said that using the drug was more important than food, sex, friends, family, or jobs. Their main concern was how to ease the undesirable physical effects being without the drug. Use of drugs, such as cocaine is unusual in those who have not previously used alcohol, tobacco and/or marijuana. No individual can predict whether he or she will become addicted or whether the next dose of cocaine will prove fatal. Thus, parents should be aware and not afraid to discuss this subject with their kids. Lack of interest and isolation can lead a child to a path no parent wishes it to experience.