A pike of cocaine sits on a glass table

Cocaine is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs currently being abused. Despite the well-known dangers cocaine abuse exhibits, it remains the second most commonly abused drug in the world behind only marijuana.

Cocaine is an alkaloid extracted from coca shrubs indigenous to South America that has a long history of both medical and recreational use.

Cocaine is used recreationally for its intense euphoric and stimulant high in which it produces when insufflated or injected. Here we break down some of the long-term consequences commonly seen in cocaine addiction.

Consequences of heavy cocaine use

Changes to the brain’s reward pathway

Cocaine essentially hijacks our brain’s own reward pathway, and causes it to flood with A baggie of cocaine in the streets with a brain in the backgrounddopamine. Repeatedly doing this, however, causes the brain to try and counteract the drug abuse by changing its own chemistry.

These changes lead to cocaine dependency and are responsible for cocaine addiction being so powerful.


Long-term and heavy cocaine use leads to tolerance to the drug’s effects. In other words, the user needs to use more cocaine to have the same desired effect as before. Using greater quantities of the drug, however, causes the unwanted side effects to be exponentially increased.

Deviated septum

Long-term and heavy cocaine use can cause problems to the nasal cavity, most notably of which is a deviated septum. The septum is what separates our nose into two chambers. A deviated septum is when a hole forms in between the two chambers of a persons nose.

Long-term cocaine use can cause an erosion of the septum. This can lead to a host of other problems such as infections, discomfort, and more.

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Financial problems

Cocaine is notoriously expensive, even gaining the nicknames “the white collar drug” and the “rich man’s drug”. Cocaine dependence and addiction often leads to great financial strain over the long-term and is often a deciding factor in forcing people to stop.

Cardiovascular problems

Cocaine acts as a stimulant, giving the user a tremendous sense of energy. Unfortunately, this is coupled with great strain on the heart and increased blood pressure. Long-term cocaine abuse can ultimately lead to cardiovascular disease and even heart attacks.

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0755498213005666?via%3Dihub