Cocaine

Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. As a stimulant, cocaine has the ability to improve athletic performance through increasing speed, endurance, and concentration, as well as decreasing fatigue. Although cocaine may seem to be beneficial for athletics, it is highly addicting and has many debilitating side effects. Cocaine has caused the deaths of many athletes, and its use is banned by every major athletic organization in the world. The clinical effect of cocaine (the high) is very short in duration. Cocaine works in the brain by altering the normal concentrations of chemicals that stimulate the brain cells.

WHY ATHLETES USE IT

Many athletes use cocaine for its central nervous system stimulating properties. It is also used as a recreational drug due to the euphoric felling it produces.

ADVERSE EFFECTS

  • Sleep disturbances.

  • Abnormal heart rhythms.

  • Stroke.

  • Heart attack.

  • Seizures.

  • Elevated blood pressure.

  • Death.

  • Paranoia (feeling that people want to hurt you).

  • Panic attacks (sudden feelings of anxiety or shortness of breath).

  • Suicidal behavior (wanting to kill yourself).

  • Homicidal behavior (wanting to kill other people).

  • Depression (feeling very sad, having decreased energy for activities).

  • Poor athletic performance.

PHARMACOLOGY

Cocaine acts on the body for a short period of time; the clinical effects may last less than1 hour. Since most athletic competitions last for more than 1 hour, cocaine use may not improve athletic performance. The use of cocaine makes individuals much more susceptible for serious conditions such as seizures, arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), and strokes. Even a single dose of cocaine can be detected on a drug test for up to about 30 hours.

PREVENTION

Most athletes use cocaine as a recreational drug and not for the purpose of enhancing athletic performance. To prevent the use of cocaine, athletes must be educated on its side effects and the risk of addiction. If an athlete is found using cocaine, counseling and treatment are almost always required.