Free Custom «Cocaine Is One Hell of a Drug» Essay Sample

Free Custom «Cocaine Is One Hell of a Drug» Essay Sample


Drugs have become one of the major problems the modern society faces nowadays. Cocaine represents second most popular illegal drug used by the people all over the world. According to the studies, since the middle of the 1990s, the usage of cocaine demonstrates steady growth in Europe (European Monitoring Centre of the Drug and Addiction, 2015). At the same time, the usage rates of the drug vary across the countries with the biggest amount of cocaine-addicted citizens in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy. The problem also exists in other countries, including the United States of America, Canada, Bolivia, and Chile (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2015). As a result, cocaine usage is a growing public health issue. Cocaine can be used in various forms and by the representatives of different social groups. Drug addiction results in irreparable changes in an organism, health problems, overdose, coma, and death. However, these consequences are often forgotten by people who want to get several minutes of euphoria, the state of excitement and illusive feeling of a superpower. After the detailed research, it becomes clear that such effects occur as a result of hypersensitiveness related to cocaine usage.


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The roots of the cocaine influence on the human body are in an affection of the brain, more precisely, the way of the neurons’ interaction. These changes lead to alterations in the work of the central nervous system. The National Institute on Drug Addiction distinguishes physiological effects of cocaine use, such as increased energy, decreased appetite, high body temperature, mental alertness, rapid heart rate, blood pressure, and constricted blood vessels (2012). As a result of the continuous use of cocaine, a person becomes addicted and develops neurological disorders, including irritability, frequent changes of mood, restlessness, paranoia, hallucinations, as well as heart, lung and stomach diseases. Cocaine damages the number of organs simultaneously and the changes that happen as a result of its use are inevitable and often fatal.

Despite the consequences of cocaine usage, an increasing amount of people all over the world get involved in drugs abuse and spreading. Thus, a research analyzes the role of cocaine in people’s lives in different countries and the sources of its support.

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Brief History

Cocaine has a rather long history preceding many modern civilizations. The original place of growth of coca plant, which contains such alkaloids as cocaine, is Central America and Amazon region. Nowadays, the plant is cultivated in many other countries. According to Enno Freye (2009), leaves of coca plant were respected by Incas, who lived on the territory of modern America. The indigenous Indians chewed the leaves during the ceremonies and used a plant as medicine and stimulant. Since the 16th century, the conquistadors began spreading the plant. Coca leaves were given to the workers in the silver mines, as the plant provided people with greater stamina and could easily satisfy the hunger. However, the coca leaves were not widely used by the European citizens due to the popularity of tobacco. The use of cocaine started with the era of coca consumption with wine and appearance of it in refreshing beverages. These products got great success in Europe in the 19th century. The separating of cocaine as an alkaloid established a new level of its use and spreading. Freye states that “coca has been used for ages as a food substitution, a stimulant, a medicine, an aphrodisiac, a means to stay warm, and as a measure of distance running” (2009, p. 13). Nowadays, scientists and doctors have a different point of view on cocaine. It is considered to be a dangerous drug.

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Summary of the Literature

There is a great variety of literature that provides statistics, facts, scientific descriptions, and theories about cocaine users. However, the best understanding of the consequences comes after facing the real examples. Carruth, Licare, and Mcloughlin (2013) analyzes the stories of particular families, which had cocaine addicted relatives. The destructive effect of cocaine usage has negative consequences not only on the lives of people who abuse drugs but on their relatives and friends too. Each story told by the authors contains intimate feelings of those people who tried to influence the addicted individuals and save them from cocaine. Whether it was a mother who was losing her daughter, or a husband who could do nothing to change his wife, there was the chain of events representing the same conclusion: the addiction to cocaine cannot be treated as a disease. The stories shared by those people show the degradation of their beloved ones and constant changes, which took place with time. Constant irritation, anger, changes of emotions, careless self-treatment, and loss of normal social connections and goals accompanied the process of drug usage. At the same time, family members tried to combat addiction and eliminate its negative consequences. In order to achieve this, different methods were applied, including enforcement, begging, and constant care for the addicted or leaving them. However, the situation did not change (Carruth, Licare, & Mcloughlin, 2013). As a result, Carruth, Licare, and Mcloughlin indicate that the families, which faced the problem of drug abuse, needed a support of the specialists. The authors represent a Twelve-Step program, based on three main principles. First, the authors state that no one is guilty of the abusing behavior. Second, it is important to admit that no one can control it. Finally, cocaine abuse is not curable. These aspects are created to help the members of the family accept the fact of drug addiction and not use the methodology of punishing, which usually strengthens the position of the addicted individuals.

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The fighting with cocaine use is represented not only on the level of the family but the state and international levels as well. The information highlighted in the book by Boville Belen (2004) provides the methods of the addressing of the problem implemented by the governments, and highlights both positive and negative sides of it. Cocaine boom in the United States of America began in the 1980s when the number of occasional drug users reached about 232 million people. This number decreased to almost 13 million in the 1990s. The control and anti-drug policies were effective at that time, although they gained success mainly within the US middle class. African Americans and Latinos still had high rates of drug consumption. In addition, the US drug policy initiatives failed in fighting against the spreading of the cocaine. For example, a number of provisions introduced by the Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998 were not implemented. As a result, the position of criminal organizations, illegal trafficking, and corrupt governments has strengthened (Boville, 2004). Besides this, the author provides an overview of the factors that facilitate the growth of cocaine spread all over the world.  Traditionally, coca plantations are grown in Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela due to the economic gains. Bolivia and Peru have large areas of the ecosystems dedicated to the production of the coca plant. The countries of the Caribbean basin take part in the transit of the illicit drugs. Thus, the participation of the Latin American countries in illegal drug trafficking has resulted in the establishment of “the only powerful and broad Latin American multinational industry with economic, socio-cultural and political success” (Boville, 2004, p. 67). The difference in needs and ways of life that people lead in developing and developed countries facilitates the processes of drug trafficking. For Latin American countries, illegal drug market represents a source of income, while the United States of America is a destination point for illicit drug flows (Boville, 2004). The authors also indicate that the illegal drug trafficking influences the relations between nations and contributes to the illegal drug flows (Lee, 2009).

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The work by Redda, Walker, and Barnett (1989) helps discover the information on the main directions of the state programs and investigations on the subject of cocaine addiction. The consequences of the problem with cocaine, as well as other drugs, can be found in social, economic, legal, scientific, and other spheres. As a result, the US government works in the direction of the demand reduction and supply reduction programs. The main objectives of the governmental initiatives include making drugs obtaining difficult and combating people responsible for illegal drug trafficking. The other goals of the program are aimed at preventing the non-users from trying and those who tried once from progressing in the use and assisting those individuals who decided to quit. The functions were declared very clearly, and the authors provided accurate distinctions of different directions, functions, and investigations held by the executors of the policy.

In addition, Redda, Walker, and Barnett analyze the biological effects that the drugs have on psycho-behavioral aspects of people’s everyday life. According to the research, cocaine is considered to be the most addictive drug. Cocaine influences the reward circuit in the brain. This part of the brain represents a pleasure center. As a result, the addicted want to experience the act of it more and more by using the drug. Besides this, the individual express a desire to reach a bigger effect of cocaine and are not ready to stop using it (Redda, Walker, & Barnett, 1989).

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The tendency to increase the dose in order to get bigger pleasure motivated scholars to investigate the possible dosage for a person that do not threaten a life. According to the data represented by Freye (2009), the lethal dose of cocaine is still not known. The scientists claim that standard killing dose is 1.2 g taken orally. However, the reports of the emergency departments suggest that the death may be caused by 20 mg of an intranasal dose. In many cases, the minimal dose that cocaine addicted individuals usually take is about 25 mg. Thus, people have a high risk of overdose and its lethal outcomes (Freye, 2009).

While some authors explore the consequences of cocaine use, the others pay the readers’ attention to the origins of drug appearance (Feiling, 2010). Feiling indicates that Mexico and Colombia as the main sources of cocaine trafficking to America. The author’s findings enable the readers to see the complexity of the cocaine business, which involves the routes from production companies in Colombia through the Caribbean and Mexico to the large markets in the USA. The author also mentions the existence of countless agencies responsible for the production of cocaine and a great amount of people involved in the process of illegal drug trafficking. As a result, the number of cocaine users increases. At the same time, Feiling analyzes the mechanisms introduces by the governments to address the problem. The author criticizes the established model of punishment. He makes it evident that the intention to build more prisons and put all people involved in cocaine spreading does not solve the problem. High incarceration rates lead to the separation of the families, existence of single-parent families, and do not deter people from using and selling drugs in the future. The author also provides an opinion of the people sentenced to conviction due to the drug use and trafficking. He states that the people can come over addiction, but it is almost impossible to come over the conviction. According to Feiling, “every time these people go for a job after the release its hanging over their heads like a big ugly cloud; this is just what happens when the previously convicted want to return to the normal life – only previous conditions and streets wait for them” (Feiling, 2010). The book indicates that more than 3 million people who were released after 2000 from the prisons were not able to adapt to the modern society. The war on drugs has to achieve its objectives; however, alternative ways have to be introduced.

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Addiction affects the representatives of different social and gender groups in a variety of ways. The sociological approach to the issue of cocaine abuse is well-presented by Hamid Ansley (1998). The author distinguishes middle-aged seasonal workers with middle income as a group at the highest risk of development the addiction to cocaine. Another group vulnerable to the usage of cocaine is women. From the point of view of sociology, the females’ addiction often leads to the spreading of prostitution. When women are no longer capable of earning enough money to get drugs, they find other ways of getting income. Proposing of sexual services is the easiest way for many women to support themselves. The author discusses the idea of destroying family values, as the people are ready to sacrifice everything to get the money for the doses and become socially destroyed. Ansley also points that there always will be people ready to satisfy the needs of the addicted individuals (Ansley, 1998).

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At the same time, some of the scholars analyze the impact of cocaine on the treatment of of different diseases. The coca leaves were used in the medicine since a long time. Serper et al. provide an overview of cocaine usage as a stimulant during the treatment of schizophrenia. According to the scholars, “cocaine-abusing schizophrenic patients showed fewer negative signs and more anxiety/depression at the hospital-admission assessment than their nonabused counterparts” (Serper et al., 1995, 1464). Thus, there is no significant difference in symptoms of the patients. The scientists also prove that there is no connection between the parents abuse and the possible growth and development problems of the children. In particular, Frank et al., come to a conclusion that “among children aged 6 years or younger, there is no convincing evidence that prenatal cocaine exposure is associated with developmental toxic effects that are different in severity, scope, or kind from the sequelae of multiple other risk factors” (Frank et al., 2001). At the same time, the usage of the drug for medical purposes can still result in the addiction.

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The literature review provides useful, accurate, and valid information on the subject. The works provide insights into the origins and development of the issue, analyze factors that contributed the spread of cocaine all over the world, indicates the scope of the problem, and overviews possible ways of the illicit drug trafficking prevention. The stories and examples from real life support the arguments of the scholars that the addiction represents a serious threat to public health. Besides influencing the lives of people, who experience drug abuse, cocaine destroys the lives of the relatives and friends of addicted individuals. The authors did a great job in reflecting the emotions and recreating the accurate chains of events which usually happen in the families, where there are the addicted people. The sociological approach, which was highlighted, gave the understanding of consequences in the life of the individuals, who continued taking cocaine.

The information about the programs existing in the USA and directed to fight the cocaine use showed the main sphere that the scientists work in nowadays. At the same time, the analysis of several authors proves with strong evidence and statistic numbers the ineffectiveness of the state program of war with cocaine. Therefore, the drug policy should be changed and adopted to the evolving realities of the illicit drug market.

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In general, the analyzed works support the argument that cocaine addiction is a serious and incurable disease. The problem often comes to people’s lives as something inevitable because of their social status and no visions of the future. Therefore, the government should pay attention to this problem as the primary source of the appearance of the addicted people, along with fighting with already existing consequences. The changes provided in the society will lead to a certain percentage of improvements.

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