In light of the opioid crisis that continues to overwhelm the United States, researchers have discovered that abuse of another substance has begun to rise once again.
The substance is cocaine—and it’s been estimated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that use is surpassing benchmark levels established by the agency in 2007. Specifically, cocaine use increased between 2015 and 2016, according to reports.
The full report states that coca cultivation has increased in Colombia. This fact may explain why more cocaine has been readily available for traffickers to bring to the United States.
Cocaine: A Long History in the US
Cocaine is stimulant that was first discovered in 1860 and is derived from the leaves of the coca plant. Over time, cocaine became a common illegal substance that is abused worldwide—second only to marijuana.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), cocaine overdose deaths experienced a 1.6-fold increase between 2010 and 2015. With new information from the DEA coming to light, it is likely that this figure has increased in the last two years.
Side effects from cocaine use can include an intense high in the short-term, and creates a release of dopamine in the brain. Users can experience intense feeling—both good and bad.
Long-term cocaine use has been linked to fatigue, severe headaches, cardiac issues, and strokes, to name a few unwanted effects.
In reports released from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation this past week, researchers discovered that cocaine users are even at a new risk: many samples have been discovered to be laced with fentanyl, making cocaine abuse an even deadlier possibility.
With cocaine use on the rise, it is important to note that treatment is more crucial than ever, and that we must educate the public on the dangers of the powerful synthetic combinations that continue to surface across the country.
The DEA report was released on Monday—read more here.
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