You’ve probably heard the warnings about all the substances cocaine gets mixed with to pad it out and save drug dealers money. Some of it is as innocent as baking soda, while others are frankly alarming, like laundry detergent and plaster. In 2017, police in one English town issued a warning that they had seized a batch of 100 percent pure heroin, which they attributed to a number of overdoses and two deaths. But what’s the big deal? Shouldn’t pure cocaine be safer than the stuff you buy in a club, laced with who knows what? Not really, according to experts. Most cocaine is so loaded with fillers that it’s only 25 to 40 percent pure, so mostly people – even regular users – simply aren’t used to handling that kind of dose.
According to the 2018 European Drug Report, the street purity of cocaine in Europe is at its highest point in a decade. Much of this is attributed to purchases made on the dark web. At the same time, there has been a significant increase in the number of first-time admissions to specialized treatment centers due to the use of cocaine. There’s also been a crackdown by law enforcement around the globe on the use of certain cutting agents. For example, Lidocaine is a common filler in cocaine, and officials hoped that by making it harder to obtain, they might also make cocaine more expensive and harder to come by. While this has worked to a point – there do seem to be fewer instances of people taking contaminated cocaine – it means that the pure stuff is taking over.
What exactly are the dangers of pure cocaine? Basically, all the dangers of the cut kind, amplified. For one thing, there’s an increased risk of dependence. It’s going to give you a better high, meaning you’re going to build up a tolerance to the pure stuff and what you used to use won’t do it for you anymore. Then, the more you take, the more at risk you are for all the deadly side effects, such as anxiety, paranoia, heart attacks, neurological effects including headaches, seizures, strokes, and coma, gastrointestinal complications, and overdose.
What’s the solution? Some people argue that legalizing drugs would decrease the amount of contaminated substances on the market. It would also allow for honest discussions about drug use and how to do it more safely. People who do use cocaine need to understand the consequences of taking too much of the pure product and learn how to test it, finely chop it, and use less of it. Of course, the healthiest and most obvious solution for people concerned about this trend would be to stop using cocaine.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.