Chapter 8
  1. Freedom from Substance Abuse

208. Don’t Be Seduced by Cocaine

As recently as the late 1970s, cocaine was considered almost perfect, as illegal drugs go: It apparently offered no threat of addiction, only the promise of pleasure and euphoria. How wrong that belief turned out to be. Cocaine lures users toward a titillating but short-lived high, followed by a gripping physical and psychological dependency. Coke users quickly reach a point where they don’t know how to exist without it. Inhaled, snorted, or injected, cocaine traps you into thinking you need it–to have fun, to be productive, to get through life.

Toxic levels can cause psychotic reactions that can last from two to four days. (In short, it makes you crazy.) Added to that are the real and present dangers of seizures or a fatal stroke or heart attack, even among first-time coke users.

If you’ve experimented with cocaine - or know someone who uses it - look for these danger signs.

  1. Preoccupation with thoughts of doing cocaine.

  2. Feeling the need to use cocaine before any social or business event.

  3. Setting limits to cocaine use, then breaking them again and again.

  4. Using the drug nonstop for periods of an entire day or longer.

  5. Lying to family and friends about your cocaine use.

  6. Finding that cocaine is hurting your work, your health, and your relationships with others.

If you think that you or someone you care about has a cocaine problem, get help fast. (See Appendix B for the addresses and phone numbers to call for professional–and confidential–help with drug problems.)