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New Research Reveals How Quickly Cocaine Addiction Can Begin

A new study published in Scientific Reports revealed that cocaine addiction could begin after just one use.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 1.5 million people reported active, past-month use of cocaine in 2014. In the recent research performed by Scientific Reports, we have learned that even “recreational” use of the drug holds the potential use for addiction.

Researchers at McGill University performed the study to examine the effects of cocaine on the brain. Science Daily reports that recreational users in the study were found to experience a dopamine release similar to what an addicted person might experience.  

Marco Leyton, a professor at McGill and addictions expert, stated that, “The study provides evidence that some of the characteristic brain signals in people who have developed addictions are also present much earlier than most of us would have imagined.”

With this information in mind, it begs the question: what constitutes “recreational” use, and when does it have the potential to develop into an addiction?

In the case of cocaine use, it seems that this potential arises even earlier than experts initially thought.

Cocaine is an incredibly addictive substance that is classified as a stimulant. When a person uses cocaine, the brain’s reward system is affected. The dopamine produced by cocaine leads to increased feelings of pleasure in the short-term, though associated dangers are present in short-term use as well.

With these new findings, prevention becomes more important than ever. Through providing educational resources to youth in the community and making addiction treatment available to those who are suffering, we are better able to begin a larger conversation about the dangers of drug use.

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