by Teen Drug Abuse Staff
Cocaine use among teens has been decreasing since the 1990’s. Illicit drug use among the youth is a major concern among parents, schools, communities, and governments across the country. Cocaine use among young teens between the ages of 11-14 seemed to peak in the 1970’s, but then declined throughout the 1980’s. Cocaine use then climbed up again between the years of 1984-1997. Now we have seen cocaine use stabilizing and decreasing among our youth.
The trend of reduction in cocaine use among the youth is a very good trend. This trend helps in reducing bad behaviors and encourages active ideas that help teens to stay or become drug free.
Here is some general information on cocaine use and some of cocaine’s street names; watch for these terms:
- Cocaine Powder
- Bad Rock
- Big C
- Snow Storm
Cocaine is the most potent stimulant of a natural origin; it is a very addictive stimulant that directly affects the brain. Cocaine is not a new drug; in fact it is one of the oldest known drugs. Cocaine is manufactured from a plant called Coca Leaf. The pure form is a chemical known as “cocaine hydrochloride”. This has been an abused substance for more than 100 years. Coca leaves (ethrythroxylon coca) are indigenous to the Andean Highlands of South America. In this area cocaine has been ingested for thousands of years.
This is what cocaine looks like so that you can identify it, if you think your teen is using cocaine. Cocaine consists in two forms:
- A powder, which is a white crystalline looking substance and is known as cocaine hydrochloride.
- Crack cocaine- it looks like a chip or is in rock form. This is cocaine hydrochloride that has been cooked down by using baking soda to form ammonia or sodium bicarbonate that is used by smoking.
Cocaine is used by snorting the powder through the nose taking it to the blood stream. This can cause major damage to the sinus passages. This also causes teeth to decay from inside the mouth making a hollow tooth. Injection is another way to release the drug into the blood stream. Many cocaine users mix other drugs together to get a better high. Cocaine and heroin mixed together gives the user that euphoric feeling and becomes addicting the first time it is used. In the drug culture this is called a speed ball. Another way that cocaine is used is by smoking it; this form is done by rocking the powdered cocaine in the process known as cooking it. The drug user uses baking soda and water with a hot flame to cook the cocaine down into chunks or rocks. Then the user takes these rocks and breaks them into pieces that can be smoked in a glass pipe. This is also very addicting and the duration of its effects are immediate the user receives a euphoric feeling that is indescribable in words. The effect of cocaine depends upon the route by which it is administered.
Know the signs to look for. If you think that your teenagers may be experimenting with cocaine, take action. Here are some things you should know about using cocaine. Some of the warning signs are as follows but are not limited to:
- Red eyes, bloodshot from lack of use.
- Runny nose or frequent sniffing.
- Change of eating habits and loss of weight.
- Change of sleeping habits; sleeps all day and is up all night.
- A change in friends and groups within different ages.
- A change in behaviors, such as flunking out of school or not going to school.
- Frequently needing money and stealing it to support their habit.
- Losing interest in the things they used to like to do, such as family activities.
- Acting withdrawn or depressed, very tired and careless about personal appearance.
In addition to these signs, it appears that compulsive cocaine use may develop into addiction even more rapidly if the substance is injected and smoked. Some of the things you can do if your child is addicted to cocaine are: be there for them and encourage them to get help; find a professional treatment center, wilderness program, or some other form of intervention that will give them a chance to heal; and get information on the drug and the effects it has on other people so that you can gauge what kind of help will best suit your child and your family.
General Information Short and Long Term Side Effects Statistics Related Resources and Links.
Information Brief: Illicit Drugs and Youth.
Cocaine-Short and Long Term Effects National Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Info-fax: cocaine(No. 13546), November 2000.
Substance Abuse Trends in Texas, Gulf Coast Addiction Technology Transfer Center, University of Texas at Austin, June 2004.