If you’ve ever used cocaine (and if you haven’t you surely know someone who has) you might be familiar with the drug’s mental and physical effects: Your self-confidence booms, your focus is keen, and, if you’ve been drinking, you feel like you can “totally and completely still function.” There’s euphoria too, a zooming rush that thrums with electricity. This all lasts for about 30 minutes, often followed by agitation, mental fuzz, and extreme unease. These feelings lead to either a desire for more coke or, if you’ve done some research on the subject, a grab for opiates or benzodiazepines to relieve some of the anxiety and paranoia.
The National Institute On Drug Abuse reports that, as of 2014, cocaine use is still relatively stable, with about 1.5 million people in the United States (aged 12 or older) reporting that they’ve taken the drug in the past month. But how safe is coke, really? And how addictive is it? And, more importantly, is casual use (once a month or so) all to the good?
We asked a doctor for answers.