Many New Jersey residents often find themselves in situations they never expected. For some, it could be ending up addicted to a drug. Some people try a substance just for the experience or believe that they will not develop an uncontrollable habit. In other cases, someone could take or use a substance without knowing it because someone laced another drug or spiked their food or drink.

Unfortunately, you may have a loved one who became addicted to cocaine. This substance is highly addictive, and you and your loved one may never have expected this type of scenario to affect your lives. Now, however, you are watching your loved one struggle with the effects of addiction, including the health-related and legal-related repercussions.

What are health-related effects of cocaine?

Using cocaine often causes the user to feel a sense of pleasure because cocaine causes your brain to generate high levels of dopamine. As a result, the person becomes high and often enjoys that feeling. However, in addition to that high feeling, your loved one could also experience paranoia, decreased appetite, anger and irritability, and intense sensitivity to sight, sound and touch. These effects can happen with short-term use of the substance, and more serious effects can stem from long-term use.

Some long-term consequences of using cocaine can have significantly troubling impacts on your loved one’s health. Some of those effects include the following:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Loss of smell
  • Mood issues
  • Seizures
  • Lung damage
  • Headaches
  • Complications from injections, like HIV or hepatitis
  • Complications from swallowing the drug, like bowel decay
  • Heart disease or heart attack
  • Stroke

Of course, the more your loved one uses the substance, the more of it he or she will need to reach that desired feeling, and risks of overdoses are real.

What are the legal consequences of cocaine use?

If your loved one is lucky enough to avoid the major health consequences of cocaine use so far, you may hope that you can help him or her with the addiction. Unfortunately, you may not be able to help before your loved one catches the eye of law enforcement. If this happens, he or she could face serious criminal charges for cocaine possession or possibly even dealing.

If this happens, you may still want to help, and your best course of action may be to find legal information. Reminding your loved one about his or her right to an attorney may be important.