Comprehensive and Evidence-Based
Cocaine Addiction Treatment Center in California
Cocaine Rehab & Detox in Mission Viejo
Treatment at Laguna Shores Recovery
At Laguna Shores Recovery, our cocaine rehab in Mission Viejo, California, is designed to help those who struggle with substance use disorder. The purpose of our various treatment programs is to create a lasting recovery in our patients. By using individual therapy and support groups, we can teach our patients coping skills that will help them live a life free of addiction.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant plant that is used in rare instances for medical purposes. When used, the drug causes an intense and short-acting high due to a rush of neurotransmitter dopamine. As a result, a person may want to increase the dosage repeatedly to achieve the same effect. This could lead to an addiction and the health problems and concerns that come with it.
Cocaine addiction can also affect a person’s relationship with their friends and family. It causes them to lose control over their use, which impacts their ability to navigate through their daily lives. As a result, many rehabilitation experts suggest seeking professional treatment for people who struggle with substance abuse.
What is Cocaine Addiction? How Did it Begin?
Workers harvest cocaine from the leaves of the coca plant, a plant that naturally grows in the South American rainforests. People native to these areas have chewed on the coca leaves for centuries as a means to achieve a high and greater mental alertness. When scientists observed people doing this, they started to perform experiments to try and isolate the compounds that gave people using the coca leaves their high. In the 1850s, scientists in Europe were able to isolate the compound from the coca leaves.
At the time, scientists perceived it as a potential “wonder drug.” Chemists observed that the drug had local anesthetic properties because when applied to the skin or tasted on the tongue, it would cause numbness. As a result, the medical community started to use it as a topical local anesthetic.
While people did experience overdoses related to abuse of the substance, some of the leading medical minds of the era used and experimented with cocaine. An example is neurologist Sigmund Freud, who wrote papers about his addiction.
Another well-known item has its roots in cocaine: Coca-Cola. The drink used to be a combination of the drug and a sugar-rich syrup sold in soda fountains as early as 1886. However, the company stopped selling Coca-Cola that contained cocaine in 1903
Comprehensive Understanding of Cocaine Addiction in the 20th Century and Treatment Approaches
The regulatory landscape around stimulants began to shift during the early 20th century, leading to a significant increase in cocaine usage during the 1980s. In the late 1970s, due to a dramatic price drop (around 80 percent) by cocaine growers and producers, the market was flooded with this substance. Drug dealers capitalized on this situation by converting the cheaply obtained cocaine into crack for further distribution. Crack emerged as a cost-effective drug that could be sold in large quantities. The first major seizures of crack were reported in cities like Miami and New York.
This marked the onset of the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s. As per data from History.com, the user base grew from 4.2 million in 1985 to 5.8 million by 1989. This surge in users was correlated with an increase in crime rates, especially homicides. In response, the U.S. Government introduced the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which heightened criminal penalties for possession.
While cocaine usage began to decline towards the end of the 1980s, it remains prevalent today. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 1.5 million people reported using cocaine in the past month. Among these individuals, those aged 18 to 25 were found to abuse the drug at a higher rate. It is estimated that about 913,000 Americans are battling cocaine addiction.
In light of these statistics, the need for effective cocaine addiction treatment has never been more apparent. The journey to a successful recovery most often involves comprehensive treatment plans that incorporate detoxification, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and aftercare planning. These evidence-based approaches aim to help individuals overcome their addiction and lead a healthier, substance-free life.
Current Statistics Related to Cocaine Use and Cocaine Addiction
According to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 1.7% of people aged 12 or older reported using cocaine in 2021. This equates to roughly 4.8 million individuals across the nation.
Data from the combined 2014–2015 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health indicated that 1.7 million young adults aged 18 to 25 used cocaine, further underscoring the drug’s widespread appeal.
In 2019, it was estimated that about 2 million people were struggling with cocaine addiction, highlighting the persistent need for effective treatment solutions.
While the number of overdose deaths due to cocaine peaked in 2006 at over 7,000, this figure remains alarmingly high. More recent data for cocaine overdose deaths is needed to understand the current state of the crisis.
It’s important to note that these statistics only represent reported use and known cases of addiction. The true scope of cocaine abuse could be much larger, considering the illicit nature of the drug and the stigma associated with substance abuse.
These figures underscore the ongoing need for comprehensive cocaine addiction treatment strategies, including preventative education, early intervention, and accessible rehabilitation services.
Street Names of Cocaine
Cocaine, a potent stimulant drug, is often known by various street names. These include:
The substance is typically sold on the streets in a white, crystal-like powder form. However, unscrupulous drug dealers may adulterate it with other similar-looking powders to increase their profit margins. This deceptive practice, known as “cutting,” involves the use of substances like cornstarch, flour, baking soda, or talcum powder.
In some cases, dealers may mix cocaine with other potent drugs to enhance the perceived high of their product. For instance, they might add amphetamines or synthetic opioids like fentanyl. This practice poses serious health risks as it can lead to unpredictable effects and increases the likelihood of overdose.
Additionally, cocaine is sometimes processed into a smokable form known as crack cocaine, which is often referred to as “rocks” due to its appearance. The high from crack cocaine is more intense but shorter-lived, leading to a dangerous cycle of repeated use and increased addiction risk.
The illicit sale and purchase of cocaine are fraught with dangers, as buyers often cannot be sure of the purity or true composition of the substance they are obtaining. The unpredictability of the drug’s contents underscores the importance of cocaine addiction treatment centers. By seeking professional help, individuals struggling with cocaine addiction can break free from the cycle of abuse and start their journey toward recovery and a healthier life.
How is Cocaine Abused?
People abuse cocaine in a variety of ways to get high. One of the most common is to snort it through their nose. However, there are other methods of abuse, which include:
This is perhaps the most well-known method of cocaine use. The drug is usually sold as a white, crystalline powder that users snort through their noses. The substance is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal tissues, leading to an intense but relatively short-lived high. Regular cocaine users will develop damage to the nasal septum over time, leading to problems like nosebleeds, loss of smell, and difficulty swallowing.
Some users prefer to inject cocaine directly into their veins for a more immediate and intense high. This method carries significant risks, including infection, vein damage, exposure to other drugs, and transmission of diseases like HIV and hepatitis C if needles are shared. Injecting also comes with a greater risk of overdosing due to the faster onset of the drug.
This type of cocaine misuse refers to the practice of injecting a mixture of cocaine and heroin. The combination of a stimulant (cocaine) and a depressant (heroin) can create a unique and dangerous high, with each drug amplifying the effects of the other. This method significantly increases the risk of overdose and fatal complications.
Some users apply cocaine directly onto their gums. This method, known as “gumming,” leads to a slower onset of effects compared to snorting or injecting. However, it can cause severe damage to the oral tissues over time, resulting in issues like gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth sores.
Crack cocaine, a rock crystal form of the drug, is typically heated on a spoon or in a pipe and then inhaled. The smoke is absorbed into the lungs, leading to an intense high that lasts about 5 to 10 minutes. This method carries its own set of risks, including lung damage, respiratory problems, and a heightened risk of addiction due to the rapid onset and intense nature of the high.
Regardless of the method of use, cocaine’s effects are generally short-lived, leading to a cycle of repeated use as individuals chase the initial high. Over time, this can lead to addiction, physical dependence, and a host of health issues. Therefore, it is crucial for anyone struggling with cocaine abuse to seek professional help as soon as possible.
Some drug dealers also sell it in a rock crystal form known as “crack.” A person abusing crack will heat the crystals on a spoon and inhale them to get high.
The duration of time to achieve a high and the time to when it wears off depends largely upon how a person is using the drug. For example, smoking or injecting cocaine causes a high that usually lasts about 5 to 10 minutes.1 Snorting the drug causes a high that lasts about 15 to 30 minutes.
When a person engages in cocaine use, it sends a flood of the neurotransmitter dopamine into the brain. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical the brain usually absorbs quickly. Cocaine alters dopamine’s absorption, causing it to remain in the brain for longer periods.
Some of the acute or short-term effects include:
Once these effects wear off, a person can experience a powerful “crash” sensation due to the sudden decrease of the drug in the brain and body. These effects can linger for several days, making a person feel tired and depressed.
The brain and body can become addicted to the higher presence of dopamine. Soon, traditional ways of increasing dopamine (like eating a piece of chocolate cake or achieving a runner’s high) don’t make a person feel as good anymore. As a result, a person may start to crave cocaine as a means to increase their dopamine levels. They also start to become sensitized, meaning they may have to take larger doses to achieve the same high they once had at smaller doses. This effect creates a vicious cycle that can lead to substance use disorder.
The prevalence and impact of cocaine addiction and misuse in the United States remain significant, with updated statistics revealing a concerning trend.
Health Risks From Cocaine Use
As a short-acting drug, cocaine can cause tremendous damage to the body. One of the most serious complications is related to the heart. Cocaine can speed up the heart and also cause irregular heart rhythms. If a person has a history of heart health problems, this effect can be extremely damaging and potentially deadly.
Other health effects include:
In addition to short-term health concerns, the drug has the potential to cause long-term health problems as well. Sometimes, these depend upon how a person is abusing the drug. For example, if people chronically snort cocaine, they may experience side effects that include loss of smell and even collapse of their nasal cavity.
If a person uses it by putting it on their gums, they risk bowel decay because cocaine can cause the blood vessels flowing to their intestines to get tighter or constrict. This can lead to severe bowel decay.
Injecting it intravenously leads to a greater risk of IV-transmitted infections. These include hepatitis and HIV. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the presence of cocaine increases the likelihood a person will get HIV if they use an infected needle. People are also at risk for endocarditis, a severe infection of the heart’s valves that can be due to IV drug use.
Cocaine users will also run the risk of developing mental disorders. Since cocaine works by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain, it has the potential to alter normal brain functioning. Even if a person isn’t engaging in drug use anymore, users report later sensory experiences, such as hallucinations and paranoia, long after they’ve stopped using.
Small Doses Enhance Concentration
A common misconception is that a person can use “just a little” of a substance as a means to enhance concentration and get more things done. People have reported using cocaine to finish a report or to get through tasks faster. However, the problem is there is no controlled dosage when used illegally. A person doesn’t know the purity of the contents of the cocaine they are using. If they use too much, their desire for greater concentration or alertness can quickly turn into bizarre and even violent behavior.
You Can't Overdose on Cocaine
Another common misconception is that a person cannot overdose on cocaine. The opposite is true. A person can use enough to produce life-threatening health effects, such as heart attacks, seizures, or strokes. Also, a person who mixes it with other substances, such as alcohol or heroin, may be at increased risk for overdose due to the combination of substances.
Some of the symptoms a person may have experienced include:
Unfortunately, medications do not currently exist that reverse or block the acute effects of cocaine overdose. As a result, treatments at a medical facility are more supportive, such as administering medications to stop a seizure or using procedures to restore blood flow to the heart after a heart attack.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal?
Examples of cocaine withdrawal symptoms can include:
While cocaine is a fast-acting drug, a person will still go through withdrawal symptoms when they are using it. The withdrawal stems from the brain’s addiction to the substance and the need to repeat the high it achieved through using the drug.
While these symptoms are unpleasant, they are rarely deadly. A person must navigate these symptoms as a means to start their recovery from addiction.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment: A Comprehensive Overview
Treating cocaine withdrawal and addiction is a complex process that requires a multi-faceted approach. While there are currently no FDA-approved medications specifically for cocaine withdrawal or maintenance therapy, several effective treatment strategies have proven successful in helping individuals overcome addiction.
The first step in the treatment process is often medical detox, which involves managing the physical symptoms of withdrawal under the supervision of healthcare professionals. During detox, doctors may administer medications to alleviate symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, or insomnia while the body adjusts to the absence of cocaine. This process helps ensure patient comfort and safety, setting a solid foundation for ongoing recovery efforts.
Following detox, many individuals transition into inpatient treatment. This intensive form of care involves living at a treatment facility for a set period, typically ranging from 30 to 90 days or longer, depending on the person’s needs. Inpatient treatment provides a structured environment free from the triggers and stresses of everyday life, allowing individuals to focus fully on their recovery.
During inpatient treatment, patients participate in a variety of therapeutic activities designed to address the root causes of their addiction. These may include individual counseling, group therapy, family therapy, and experiential therapies like art or music therapy.
For those who cannot commit to a residential program due to work, school, or family obligations, outpatient treatment can be an effective alternative. This level of care allows individuals to live at home while attending treatment sessions at a clinic or facility. Outpatient treatment can vary in intensity, with some programs meeting multiple times per week for several hours each day, while others may only meet once or twice per week.
Behavioral Therapies to Treat Cocaine Addiction
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This form of psychotherapy helps individuals identify and change destructive thought patterns that lead to drug use. By learning new ways to cope with stress and avoid triggers, individuals can reduce their risk of relapse.
Contingency Management (CM): This evidence-based approach uses positive reinforcement to encourage drug-free behaviors. Patients may receive vouchers or other rewards for clean drug tests, promoting a healthier lifestyle and reinforcing sobriety.
Support Groups: Peer support plays a crucial role in maintaining long-term sobriety. Groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous provide a supportive community where individuals can share experiences, learn from others, and build a network of people committed to recovery.
Even after formal treatment ends, recovery is an ongoing process. Aftercare services, such as sober living homes, ongoing therapy, and support group participation, can help individuals maintain their sobriety and navigate the challenges of life after treatment.
While there are currently no FDA-approved medications specifically for cocaine withdrawal or addiction, research is ongoing into potential options. In the meantime, comprehensive treatment combining medical, therapeutic, and peer support has proven effective in helping many individuals overcome cocaine addiction and reclaim their lives.
Learn More About Laguna Shores Drug Abuse Treatment Programs
If a person struggles with cocaine dependence or abuse, there are treatment methods and support that can help them stop using. Because the drug is associated with severe health side effects due to short and long-term use, the sooner a person can stop using, the better off their health can be. If a person has multiple substance use disorders, they may wish to seek treatment at an inpatient facility so they can receive round-the-clock care as they withdraw from the substances in their system.