According to Southeast Addiction Center, the second most heavily abused substance in the United States, after marijuana, is cocaine. It is also one of the deadliest illicit substances in Georgia, along with opioids, accounting for more than 67% of all visits to publicly funded treatment facilities.

Cocaine is a Schedule II substance with extremely limited medical use. It is rare that doctors prescribe cocaine, and most people use it illicitly. Cocaine is a stimulant drug that works to speed up certain body processes. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, people abuse it for its effects on the body and mind, which are sometimes enjoyable but can ultimately be destructive.

Effects on the body

Like other stimulant drugs, cocaine can cause loss of appetite, extended wakefulness, dilated pupils and a sense of exhilaration. It can cause the heart rate and blood pressure to increase, which can put one at risk for dangerous health conditions such as convulsions, stroke or cardiac arrest. Many people use cocaine by snorting or inhaling it, and this can cause specific complaints of the upper respiratory tract to develop over time.

Effects on the mind

Depending on how quickly it reaches the brain, cocaine can produce a sudden rush of euphoria. This, however, does not last long, and the crash that follows can plunge one into a period of depression and physical exhaustion that can last several days, followed by a craving for the drug. Prolonged use can cause paranoia, anxiety and irritability.

It may not take long to build up a tolerance to cocaine. When this occurs, one must take larger doses to achieve the same effect. This can lead to overdose, complications of which can be fatal.