While talk of cocaine and methamphetamine abuse has been on the decline in recent years, given such abuse is in the shadow the American opioid epidemic, the two drugs are still used frequently by Americans and have the power to destroy lives. Several changes were made in the 2000’s making it a lot more difficult to acquire the pseudoephedrine in the U.S. The drug is used in many allergy medications, but it is also one of the main ingredients in the production of methamphetamine. Naturally, the crackdowns on meth production in America created a golden opportunity for cartels situated just south of the border. The vast majority of meth used in U.S. today, originated in a Mexican superlab.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the market share of cocaine that made its way into American hands was manufactured in Colombia. The drug would then find its way into America by way of Florida After years of international cooperation to take down Colombian cartels, the amount of cocaine from Colombia has steadily dwindled since 2001. However, the cocoa leaf continues to be grown in South America and made into cocaine which requires specific chemicals that could be acquired somewhat easily up until recently.
Both meth and “coke” production are only possible with aid of certain chemicals. So it stands to reason that making it harder to acquire such chemicals would reduce the amount of both drugs manufactured each year. If we continue to follow this line of thinking to its logical end, then we might find that fewer people in the U.S. would be able to use such drugs. All because of restricting the access to chemical(s).
Well, it turns out that keeping the aforementioned chemical precursors did in fact reduce the number of people using methamphetamine and cocaine, UPI reports. Researchers at the University of Arizona found that U.S. restrictions on access to sodium permanganate (used in the production of cocaine) and police action in Mexico against the importation of pseudoephedrine resulted in less people using either drug. The findings were published in the journal Addiction.
“Strategies directed toward individual users — information campaigns and direct medical care, for example — have not yet fully addressed the public health problem of cocaine and methamphetamine misuse,” said Dr. James Cunningham, a social epidemiologist at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine. “Additional approaches are needed. Chemical controls are relatively inexpensive. And there’s room to improve them through better international cooperation.”
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While we don’t hear much these days about cocaine because opioid abuse has taken the spotlight for over a decade, many people still use and abuse the drug. In the 1980s cocaine was all the rage, and for a time Florida was ground zero for all the cocaine that came into this country from Colombian cartels. Today, the majority of the cocaine used in the United States is brought into the country by the Mexican cartels, and while people may use less cocaine now than in decades past – the drug remains as one of the most popular drugs among young adults.
The drug elicits short-term euphoric feelings, increased energy and talkativeness. People high on the drug have heightened heart rates and blood pressure. The drug loses its effect relatively quickly, which causes users to do more and more to keep the desired feeling. Just because the euphoria diminishes does not mean the drug is out of one’s system, continued use can lead to emergencies.
In recent years there have been a number of studies conducted regarding the effects of the drug on the brain, some of which focused on finding new drugs for treating cocaine addiction. A new study has found that heavy cocaine use can have a serious impact on the brain, actually causing brain cells to destroy themselves – through a process called autophagy, Medical News Today reports. The research will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Brain cells have built-in mechanism for self-destruction, which are necessary if cells have problems and stop working properly, according to the article. When cells digest and recycle waste matter, it is known as autophagy; heavy use of cocaine can cause autophagy to kick into overdrive. On top of disposing of cell waste, the substance can cause autophagy to eat essential cell components.
“Autophagy is the housekeeper that takes out the trash – it’s usually a good thing,” says Dr. Prasun Guha, a postdoctoral student at Johns Hopkins University. But cocaine makes the housekeeper throw away really important things, like mitochondria, which produce energy for the cell.”
The researchers at Johns Hopkins hope that further research will result in the development of treatments that protect not only adults, but babies as well. If you are struggling with addiction, please contact Synergy Group Services.