A popular drug in the 1980s, cocaine has re-emerged recently as the party drug of choice, and not just for younger individuals experimenting with illegal drugs, but for adults, particularly those over the age of 50. Although alcohol and prescription drug abuse has been well documented in older adults, the use of illegal drugs has not. Now that the individuals who likely used cocaine in the 1960s are approaching retirement age, some have continued to indulge in illicit drug use well into their 50s and 60s. If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine abuse or addiction, or if you’re wondering what damage does cocaine do, call (877) 926-5530 today to discuss the available treatment options with a certified addiction recovery counselor at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.
The Glamorous Allure of Cocaine
The use of cocaine and other illegal drugs has long been assumed to be a problem affecting only the young, but recent research has shown that older adults, particularly those above the age of 50, are also dealing with cocaine abuse. According to one study of an inner-city population above the age of 50 seen in the emergency department of a major hospital in Los Angeles and testing positive for illegal drugs, published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases, “cocaine with or without another illicit drug is the overwhelming drug of choice.” The reason why adults are turning to cocaine is that individuals perceive it as a safe, recreational “dinner party” drug that is non-addictive, one that celebrity users are increasingly making appear glamorous.
Health Consequences of Cocaine Abuse in Older Adults
The unfortunate truth about cocaine is that the intense addictiveness can result in individuals continuing their drug habit even when they know about the risks. There are serious health consequences to consider with cocaine use, after all. “Because of its cardiovascular toxicity,” the authors of the Journal of Addictive Diseases study note, “[cocaine] use may cause untoward cardiac and central nervous system (CNS) events in older persons who may already have significant atherosclerosis.” In older adults who may have undiagnosed cardiovascular issues, the side effects of using cocaine may be even more pronounced, possibly including heart attack, abnormal heart rate, hypertension, and cardiomyopathy.
Cocaine can be smoked, snorted, or injected and the duration of the drug’s euphoric effects depends on the method of administration. Unfortunately, no matter how one administers cocaine, its side effects can be devastating. Injecting cocaine can cause severe health problems in users, resulting in collapsed veins and bacterial infections of the heart valves and blood vessels, while the symptoms of snorting coke may include damage to the nasal cavity, tissue erosion, nasal septal perforation, and other problems. Even attempting to discontinue the use of cocaine can result in serious side effects, causing withdrawal symptoms like paranoia, exhaustion, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and intense cravings for the drug.
Contact the Addiction Recovery Specialists at BRS Today
Much is unknown about how cocaine abuse and abuse of other illegal drugs may affect older adults, as the side effects of these drugs often mimic, and may also exacerbate, conditions that accompany the natural aging process. If you know someone who is addicted to cocaine, you can help by putting them in touch with the substance abuse counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services. Call (877) 926-5530 to speak to the experts at BRS rehab today. With the right addiction recovery program, your loved one can overcome his or her addiction to cocaine and live a happy, sober life free from illicit drugs.