Cocaine is a stimulant and illicit drug that produces feelings of euphoria, and increases energy and sociability in most users. It’s made from coca leaves that come from South America and works by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates the feeling of pleasure and movement. Unfortunately, use of the drug is also accompanied by dangerous and potentially lethal side effects including a rise in blood pressure, heartbeat and body temperature. These effects may trigger serious health consequences and even death.
Cocaine is the second most popular illegal drug in the United States, and about half a million users are admitted to emergency rooms every year for cocaine-related issues according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Read on to find out more about the dangers of cocaine and how much cocaine to overdose is needed.
Dangers of Cocaine Abuse
Cocaine use may lead to certain side effects including a headache, abdominal pain and nausea; however, the physiological effects the drug has on the body are more dangerous. The substance triggers an increase in blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate, which may result in a heart attack, permanent brain damage, seizure, stroke or sudden death. After just a few uses, cocaine users may become addicted to the substance and develop a tolerance, meaning they need a higher dose with each use.
Because the drug decreases appetite, many chronic users of the substance become malnourished. Users of the drug typically engage in irresponsible behaviors including unprotected sex and illegal acts such as stealing, which may have long-term effects on a person’s life. Long-term abuse of cocaine may permanently damage the brain’s reward system, and many cocaine users suffer from psychological and health complications related to their drug abuse. Some suffer from irritability, anxiety, depression, paranoia, aggression, delusions and hallucinations, and these effects may last for months or years even after quitting the drug.
How Much Cocaine to Overdose?
How much cocaine to overdose will depend on several factors including how much a person weighs, their tolerance and preexisting health conditions. However, it’s estimated that most overdoses are at a minimum of 1.2 grams or more per day. However, some individuals are hypersensitive to the drug and have died at doses as low as 30 mg. Cocaine addicts may also have a higher tolerance for the substance, and some may be capable of consuming up to 5 grams a day. People who try to avoid the crash after bingeing on the drug have an increased risk for an overdose because the body doesn’t get a break from the substance.
Common signs of a cocaine overdose include agitation, hostility, nausea, vomiting, headache, abdominal pain, chills, delirium, hallucinations, unconsciousness, convulsions, cerebral hemorrhaging, seizures, heart attack, stroke and death. A cocaine overdose may be very painful. Currently, there’s no antidote for this type of overdose. Patients are typically given a sedation medication to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, and some are given ice baths to decrease body temperature since these physiological effects may trigger serious health complications.
Cocaine addiction is a serious problem that could lead to death. If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance abuse problem, please call the substance abuse and addiction helpline at 800-447-9081 to find out more about treatment.