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Cocaine as a Drug Chosen for Medical Research

The drug chosen for this project is cocaine, and it is a highly addictive substance. It is derived from the cola plant, which is mainly found in South America. This drug comes in different forms and most users snort it into their noses. This paper discusses the effects of cocaine to its users, how it affects brain functioning, the associated societal problems, and it gives recommendations about how this problem could be addressed in the future.

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What the Drug Does to a Person

Cocaine affects its users in different ways. Physically, cocaine users experience chronic fatigue and they might become emaciated due to the lack of taking proper care of their bodies. Socially, people tend to isolate from peers and form close ties with fellow users. Psychosocially, cocaine causes paranoia, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, loss of interest in food and sex, psychosis, criminal behavior to support addiction, and a heart attack.

How it Influences Brain Functioning

In ththemselves e brain, this drug functions by causing the organ to produce high levels of dopamine, which is a natural chemical messenger associated with pleasure. Under normal circumstances, dopamine occurs in the brain in small quantities. However, cocaine causes dopamine to flood the organ where it blocks cells from communicating with other body parts. This scenario causes the brain to become less sensitive to dopamine, which forces cocaine users to consume more, which ultimately leads to seizure disorders and other related neurological problems.

Problem to Society

Cocaine is a major problem in society because it leads to long-term addiction, which is associated with social ills such as crime, mental disorders, morbidity, and mortality. Therefore, cocaine users are likely to be incarcerated for various offenses and place a huge burden on the available public health resources. Thus, the affected individuals become unproductive in many ways. In severe cases, it leads to death and it is associated with various ccausesof morbidity, and these aspects underscore why cocaine is a problem to society.

Issues Surrounding Cocaine

Several problems are associated with cocaine use and abuse. First, according to Sánchez-Hervás (2016), cocaine is highly addictive, and thus users easily become dependent leading to addiction, which comes with long-term costs on society, such as lost productivity, health problems, and treatment expenses. Moreover, addicted users are likely to engage in crime in a bid to get the needed money to sustain their consumption. Therefore, as Yur’yev and Akerele (2016) posit, the majority of users are highly likely to be jailed, and even after serving their time, these individuals relapse, start using the drug, engage in crime, and thus in most cases, they go back to jail. In this study by Yur’yev and Akerele (2016), data from the 29th Round of General Social was used to compare 1605 respondents representinthe g general population without a history of using crack cocaine with 103 respondents with a history of using this drug. The results found that those with a history of crack cocaine use were more likely to be jailed as compared to those without sa uch history.

Additionally, a study by Schaefer et al. (2015) found that the majority of youth and school-going children consuming cocaine have poor academic performance because the drug affected proper brain functioning. In this study, the authors used data from two of the Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF) with a total sample size of 2,465 individuals to examine the influence of cocaine on people’s lifestyles (Schaefer et al., 2015). The results indicated that cocaine use affected students’ academic performance negatively. In addition, cocaine use and abuse lead to family breakups due to the many problems associated with this behavior (Schaefer et al., 2015). Addicted parents are unlikely to support their children and spouses, which will lead to separation.

In a systemic review study, Butler et al. (2017) found enough evidence in the available literature indicating that domestic violence and intimate partner violence (IPV) are some of the outcomes associated with cocaine use among spouses. The authors reviewed 302 articles from various online scientific databases, including MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, CINAHL, and PycINFO. TPsycINFOlts from this review showed that the use of cocaine contributes substantively to IPV and domestic violence.

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Similarly, a study by John and Wu (2017) showed that cocaine addiction causes extensive neurological damage, which explains why consuming this drug is associated with many long-term mental health problems, such as chronic depression, psychosis, and paranoia among other related conditions. In this study, trends about cocaine use (CU) among persons aged over 12 years were studied using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2011 to 2015. The results showed that CU damages the neurological system extensively and causes other health conditions including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, lung diseases, and sexually transmitted diseases. From these studies, I have learned the effects of cocaine on its users both at a personal level and societal level.

Future Recommendations

Prevention of Use

The public should be sensitized about the adverse and long-term effects of cocaine. Specifically, adolescents should be educated on why they need to avoid drug use because they will grow to be responsible adults.

Laws

As for the laws pertaining to cocaine, there is a need to review some of the existing policies. Cocaine use should be treated as a health problem and laws that facilitate rehabilitation as opposed to criminalizing this behavior should be created. Additionally, there should be laws to severely punish drug suppliers.

References

Butler, A. J., Rehm, J., & Fischer, B. (2017). Health outcomes associated with crack-cocaine use: systematic review and meta-analyses. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 180, 401-416.

John, W. S., & Wu, L. T. (2017). Trends and correlates of cocaine use and cocaine use disorder in the United States from 2011 to 2015. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 180, 376-384.

Sánchez-Hervás, E. (2016). Cocaine addiction: Treatments and future perspectives. Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, 38(4), 242-243.

Schaefer, B. P., Vito, A. G., Marcum, C. D., Higgins, G. E., & Ricketts, M. L. (2015). Examining adolescent cocaine use with social learning and self-control theories. Deviant Behavior, 36(10), 823-833.

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Yur’yev, A., & Akerele, E. (2016). Socio-demographic characteristics of individuals wia th history of crack cocaine use in the US general population. Community Mental Health Journal, 52(8), 1043–1046.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Cocaine as a Drug Chosen for Medical Research'. 18 January.

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