Infamous films such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Studio 54 portray a certain image of cocaine: It is fun and cool. What such portrayals fail to reveal are the horrific dangers associated with even a single snort of cocaine. Often referred to as “coke,” “blow” or “snow,” cocaine is one of the oldest street drugs available. Made popular during the 1980s, cocaine continues to gain popularity.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there are approximately 1.9 million cocaine users in America. Equally concerning is the statistic that 1.5 young adults report using cocaine during the past month. While cocaine is most popular among young adults, its destruction touches lives of all ages.
Despite the initial allure of cocaine, the inherent physical damage of even a single snort can cause irreversible damage to both physical and emotional body. It is not uncommon for frequent cocaine users to report feelings of irritability, paranoia and/or anxiety. Some may even experience tremors, digestive issues and/or headaches. While many of these symptoms are temporary, cocaine can eventually cause damage that is not fixable.
Initial Damage to the Nose
What many individuals fail to realize is the damage that cocaine use causes to the nose. Although there are several ways to ingest cocaine, the most common is that of snorting through the nose. Once cocaine enters the body, it is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Once in the body, cocaine naturally causes shrinkage in the blood vessels. As a result, after a handful of cocaine ingestions, even the healthiest of individuals will suffer physical consequences.
Habitual snorting will inevitably wreak havoc on the nasal passages and may include the following repercussions:
- Chronically runny nose
- Inflammation of nasal passages
- Nose bleeds
- Temporary or permanent loss of smell
Similar to other addictive behaviors, snorting cocaine a single time is not the norm. Instead, individuals tend to either combine cocaine with other drugs or snort repeatedly and over long durations of time. For the habitual user, the damage cocaine causes to the nasal passages far exceeds the simplicity of a runny nose. Instead, the chronic snorting of cocaine eventually decreases blood supply in the body.
Although the loss of blood supply may lead to the more severe complications of the cardiovascular system, the nose itself initially suffers. The loss of blood supply damages the septum, the small bone between the nasal passages. The initial damage to the septum may cause a small hole to appear between an individual’s nasal passages. While this preliminary damage may cause discomfort, it is not yet irreversible.
Septum Damage from Cocaine Abuse
As individuals deepen their addiction and continue snorting cocaine, the septum may become so severely damaged that the entire nose collapses. Once the nose collapses, the damage may be unfixable.
Although some individuals seek the expertise of plastic surgeons, the nose will never return to its original conditions. Following surgery, the functionality may still be diminished and the aesthetic appeal most likely will be gone. In desperation, some individuals will seek help from medical doctors as well who will determine whether the damage is fixable. Even if the nasal damage is reversible, most doctors will require that the user is completely clean from cocaine and other drugs, thus preventing further complications.
Cocaine is an incredibly dangerous drug. Despite its allure, snorting cocaine will inevitably compromise the physical health of any user. The only way to prevent further damage to the nose from cocaine use is to stop abusing the drug. Contact us here at The Oaks at La Paloma for help at 901-350-4575.