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Almost Impossible to use Cocaine Without Addiction

Abstract: A moderate use of cocaine, tobacco and heroin is almost always impossible. Only 10% of the people who start to use them become moderate users.

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Almost Impossible to use Cocaine Without Addiction

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Written by: Wendy Moelker, Psychologist in charge, tutor, Emergis center for mental health care, Goes, the Netherlands.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 22 Jul 2008.

Is it possible to use cocaine in a sensible way?


In principle, almost every drug can be used moderately and safely, but the percentage of users who are able to use the drug moderately and safely is larger for some drugs, for example alcohol, and almost non-existent for other drugs, for example heroin and nikotine. A moderate use of tobacco and heroin is almost always impossible. Only 10% of the people who start to use tobacco become moderate users. The same goes for heroin. In the case of alcohol, 80-90% of the users keep it moderate. Only between 10% and 20% of the people who start to use alcohol will become heavy drinkers. There are no such numbers known about cocaine.

Cocaine is less addictive than tobacco or heroin, but probably more addictive than alcohol or XTC. Research has shown, remarkably, that some users who used a lot during a certain period of time seemed very capable of reducing their use.

Cocaine is a tempting drug that makes moderate use very tough. It makes you cheerful and happy. It is easier to talk, you have the feeling you can think faster and brighter, and you feel confident. You have a lot of energy, cannot be stopped, and fatigue disappears. However, this mood improvement only lasts for a short period of time. Besides, when the substance has lost its effect, the pleasant feeling can turn into the opposite: you feel exhausted and dejected, and that may cause you to start using again. This will help for a while, but not for long, and there is a chance that the dejected feeling comes back in a stronger way. But you don't think about that when you are using; you want to feel good right now.

At a certain point, you recognize that you use larger quantities and more often; at places and times that you never used to do it. That is the signal that you are about to become a regular user and are taking a high risk.

Users should ask themselves the following questions:

  • Can I also get in the mood without using cocaine?
  • Did I start to use more cocaine recently, and do I use more cocaine every time, at more places and more often?
  • Does it cost me more and more? Not only concerning money, but also concerning friends, work and school?
  • Do I think a lot about cocaine?
  • Have I changed since I started using cocaine?
  • Do I sometimes use cocaine to get rid of the adverse effects of last time?
In principle, it is possible to use any drug safely; also cocaine, but it depends on a few things like the risk of addiction, the chance of physical damage and the risk to get in trouble in society. There are substances that are not, or hardly, addictive but can damage your health, for example XTC. Tobacco doesn't lead to social problems, but is very addictive and very unhealthy.
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