The flood of drugs both legal and illegal, into the streets of our country, is responsible for the destruction of countless lives each year. The lives destroyed are not just those of the individuals that begin taking the drugs and become addicted, but also of their friends, families, and loved ones. There are so many drugs out there, but one of the most insidious and dangerous is cocaine.
Cocaine is a drug that has thousands of years of use in its history as traditional medicine, however, in the 20th century, it became one of the most widely abused drugs in history, even being credited with making the 1980s great. It is sourced from the South American coca plant (E. coca) and is most commonly seen as either a soft white powder that is snorted or a hard yellow or off-white rock that is smoked.
Cocaine is one of the most powerful illegal drugs in the stimulant class, though it has retained some legitimate medical use over the years. This puts it in the DEA Schedule 2 drug category, which is for drugs that have high addiction potential, but still possess medical value and are still able to be prescribed by doctors or other healthcare professionals.
Even though it is in Schedule 2 and is claimed to still have medical value, it is in a drug category with some incredibly dangerous substances. Other Schedule 2 drugs include methamphetamine and all of the most commonly abused opioid medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.
While it still is able to be obtained by prescription, this is incredibly uncommon since there are other options available that grant the same benefit without the potential drawbacks. Nearly all of the cocaine that is abused and the source of the majority of addiction problems is from cocaine that comes into the market illegally and is not produced in legitimate pharmaceutical production facilities.
What are Cocaine Pupils?
Cocaine has a long list of effects and side effects, and one of the most visible upon consuming cocaine is cocaine pupils. When an individual is on cocaine, they will display large and dilated pupils that will not constrict easily. This is one of the effects of many drugs in the stimulant category, and since cocaine is one of the most potent stimulants it is able to dilate the pupils to a very large degree.
Cocaine pupils aren’t the only way that cocaine affects the body, however, they just may be one of the most visible. Despite this, there are many other ways that cocaine changes how the body would normally function.
When the individual takes cocaine, it begins to take effect in just minutes if snorted and nearly immediately if smoked in the crack cocaine form. Once the cocaine crosses the blood-brain barrier and hits the user’s system, they feel an immediate rush of euphoria and alertness, often combined with a highly social and talkative disposition as well. They may also feel more sensitive to sound, touch, and sight.
Other effects that individuals have reported include the feeling that cocaine makes them more effective and productive with simple physical or intellectual projects and tasks. When higher doses are taken or it is taken for a prolonged period it may begin to have the opposite effect, however, making heavy users feel paranoid and causing them to withdraw into isolation, becoming unproductive and hyper-fixated.
The duration that cocaine pupils will be able to be detected will depend on the way that the individual consumes the drug. Users that snort their cocaine will frequently be able to feel the effects of the drug take effect in a few minutes, and will last for anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes, while those who inject the drug may see it last up to an hour but it can take 15-30 minute to kick in. Individuals who smoke their cocaine will experience instant effects, but generally see the effects fade in less than 10 minutes.
How Cocaine Pupils May Be a Telling Sign That Someone Is Addicted to Cocaine
There are a number of ways that cocaine can physically affect someone. The term “cocaine pupils” or “cocaine eyes” refer to what an individual’s eyes look like after they take cocaine. This drug can impact the eyes in more than one way.
Most drugs affect the eyes, from making them appear glassy to bloodshot to making the pupils react differently. Some drugs, such as heroin, codeine, and oxycodone give the user pinpoint pupils, while others such as MDMA, meth, and cocaine will cause the pupils to dilate.
One of the biggest signs that someone is high on cocaine is how their eyes look. Cocaine causes the pupils to dilate, which can make the eyes very sensitive to light. It can also cause the blood vessels to expand, resulting in red or bloodshot eyes. In order to hide the cocaine eyes and shield their eyes from excessive light, it is not uncommon to see people on cocaine wearing sunglasses.
Experiencing Cocaine Pupils?: Other Side-Effects of a Cocaine Addiction
As such a potent drug, cocaine is very addictive and can develop a strong dependency in its users. When it comes to addiction, it can be incredibly difficult to tell exactly how it will affect any particular person. Each and every person has their own experience with addiction that will depend on variables too numerous to count.
While cocaine addiction is unique to each individual, there are some common signs of cocaine abuse. These signs can be behavioral, psychological, physical, or mood-related. Physical signs will often be the first to be noticed, with other signs being less obvious even for those very close to the addicted individual.
- Break from reality easily
- Craving cocaine on a nearly constant basis
- Feeling like the drug is needed to survive
- Intense paranoia of even those close to the individual
- Lack of motivation for even simple or basic tasks
- Problems in interpersonal relationships
- Rationalization of their drug use
- Reckless behavior while on or off the drug
- Violent mood swings and a significant lack of emotional regulation
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Chronically runny nose
- Constriction of blood vessels
- Decreased appetite
- Gangrene of the bowel
- Heart attack
- Increase in blood pressure
- Increase in body temperature
- Increase in heart rate
- Muscle twitches and spasms
- Nasal perforation
- Sinus infections that eventually progress into necrosis
- Nosebleeds for users that snort
- Risk for HIV and other blood-borne diseases for users that inject
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abandoning hobbies and activities to get high
- Continuing to use cocaine despite negative impacts on their life
- Decrease in sleep requirements while high
- Erratic behavior both while on and off cocaine
- Extremely talkative while under the influence
- Increased energy that seems sudden or uncharacteristic
- Increased need for sleep after coming down
- Legal issues that develop from criminal activity
- Neglecting personal and professional responsibilities
- Violent behavior and other aggression-related issues
- General and persistent anxiety
- Fleeting moments of euphoria
- Fearfulness that can become outright paranoia
- Feelings of superiority
- Irritation, aggression, and general emotional instability
- Feelings of constant panic
- Restlessness and an inability to get restful sleep
What To Do If Someone You Love Has Cocaine Pupils
There are so many potential negative effects of long-term cocaine use that it is crucial to get help as soon as possible once you notice that someone has a cocaine addiction. One of the biggest hurdles to getting sober, however, is the dreaded cocaine withdrawal and detox process. The withdrawal and detox process for cocaine can be intense and incredibly uncomfortable, even painful and scary at times.
Completing the cocaine withdrawal process in a safe and medically supervised environment is one of the best things that an individual can do to make sure that they are taken care of in the event of dangerous complications. During the withdrawal process, there will be very uncomfortable physical symptoms, and for heavy or long-time users there may be difficult psychological challenges to conquer as well, along with the possibility for seizure and stroke.
Once the detox and withdrawal stage has been completed, the individual will be able to use a wide variety of resources to help them learn more about what triggers them to want to use cocaine, as well as more effective ways to deal with those triggers. This means that while they can never be prepared for every possible way they could be tempted to use, they will be able to cope with those triggers and temptations in healthier ways.
By completing detox in a professional facility the individual can build a strong foundation for their recovery journey. Additionally, they can strengthen their recovery into the future by being prepared for potential challenges and meeting them with confidence and courage.
If you or someone you love has a problem with cocaine addiction, reach out today to speak with experienced addiction professionals that can help create a productive environment for successful, long-term recovery.