Cocaine is described as a strong narcotic alkaloid. It is extracted from coca leaves. In terms of appearance, cocaine is a white crystalline drug. In addition, it is bitter and it leads to insensibility and pain. Cocaine is one of the most widespread illegal drugs of abuse in America (Bucchi 243). The substance is mostly taken in form of crack and powder that can also be dissolved and injected. It stimulates central nervous system and is addictive. Cocaine has adverse effects on its users. It has been reported to damage the brain area; Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA). Like most abused drugs, cocaine affects the normal functioning of the nervous system. This results to rapid heartbeat, high temperatures, less appetite and euphoria. Long term effects include restless, weight loss, auditory problems, paranoia and sometimes death.
Drug Abuse and Addiction
Drug addiction refers to a chronic condition that damages brain, causing users to seek and use the substance more. This is despite the negative effects experienced by the individual. Drug abuse on the other hand is as a result of using the drug. At first, the drug seems to solve the problem. However, if it is used more and more then the drug is said to be abused. It is therefore evident that drug abuse leads to addiction. In other words, an individual repeatedly uses a drug and the body get used to an extent that it cannot do without (Office of National Drug Control Policy 92).
The Relationship of Cocaine to Crime
Cocaine use has been associated with criminal behaviors in America. In the first place, the use of cocaine is prohibited and thus possessing and using it is said to be breaking the laws. The cocaine users are linked to crime due to psychopharmacological effects of the drug. Cocaine interferes with proper functioning of the brain and other vital organs in the body. This leads to poor judgment and self control hence committing crimes. In addition, the cost of this drug is high and few users can afford it. Those who are addicted and cannot afford end up in crime. Moreover, the addicts may not be in a position to work in order to earn a livelihood and thus get involved in criminal activities (Fagan 80).
Policing against cocaine in America is recorded as one of the most costly activities when dealing with illegal drugs in the country. It does not only involve manpower but resources used in training and obtaining information on the substance. In addition, the cost of cocaine addiction rehabilitation may seem to be expensive especially if one is financially unstable. It is also costly if one cannot access insurance. This is unlike jail in which one is imprisoned. In this case, there is no cost incurred by an individual or the society. In fact, the resources used to obtain drug is cut and the cost of crime is reduced as well. However, rehab is the best option despite its cost. This is because it saves one’s life and makes an individual a productive person in the society again. Rehab therefore is a professional way of making an individual stop the use of cocaine as compared to jailing the person.
Cocaine should not be legalized. This is because there has not been any positive effect recorded as a result of the use of the substance. As a matter of fact, the substance has been associated with crime and deaths. It is a major drawback of the economy due to the fact that it targets the young and productive members of the society. To avoid this, the government should prohibit the use of cocaine and other addictive drugs. The penalties should be made harsh so as to act as threat to those involved.