At any given time I'm in the middles of reading at least three books... I've always done this because, like most people who've had fucked up lives and are intelligent enough to not want to be left alone contemplating some of the choices they've made (and the mistakes they will most likely make again), I hate to be left alone with my thoughts. So I fill my time with reading and writing and watching movies (among other things I won't admit to given the rules of this forum).
Anyway, one of the books I'm tearing through right now is "Cocaine: Any Unauthorized Biography" by Dominic Streatfeild, and it is beyond fascinating. For instance, did you know that the person who was responsible for first using cocaine recreationally, and who then went on to introduce it to the rest of the country by giving it to family and friends, and prescribing it to patients? None other than Freud himself. Crazy, right?
I love weird scientific studies that relate to drugs, especially cocaine, and there's this really interesting study where these scientists in the 1960s tried to figure out how and why the binge-pattern among cocaine users is so strong.
Those us of who have used and loved cocaine have noticed how quickly and easily you get trapped in the cycle of doing more and more and more. It's a well-known fact that cocaine, like heroin, causes a rush of dopamine (which is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good) to be released. The difference between heroin and cocaine in this scenario, is that heroin causes this huge dose of dopamine to be released, and it's re-absorbed by the dopamine receptors in your brain. Cocaine, however, not only releases a flood of dopamine, but also blocks it's re-uptake (temporarily). This causes an intense euphoria and high.
When the receptors do get around to absorbing the dopamine, unlike after you use most other drugs, your brain does not release even a little bit more dopamine, so you crash hard. This is why you feel like you HAVE to do more cocaine. So you do it and do it and do it. Plus, since cocaine is also a strong stimulant, you do things faster - this includes doing cocaine.
Ok, so here's the weird study that this is leading up to. In the 1960s there was a study done with lab rats, in which one group was given unlimited access to heroin and the other group was given unlimited access to cocaine. They could take as much as they wanted as often as they wanted. Both groups quickly became heavily addicted, but there was a notable difference in the two. Heroin, being a sedative, was sort of self-limiting in that it eventually made the rats sleepy. So while they were doing massive amounts of the heroin, they would also eat, sleep, and wander around in between using the heroin. The coke rats were another story altogether. They stopped eating, sleeping, socializing, everything. ALL they did was cocaine over and over and over. Eventually they would collapse of exhaustion and so their cocaine use was temporarily stopped, but as soon as they came to, they were right back into the coke. After a month, the heroin rats were all very addicted, but were for the most part okay. Every last one of the cocaine rats were dead.
Having been a coke-rat myself, I find this fascinating but not at all surprising. There's really no moral to this story, at least that's not my intention in any way. I just thought it was really interesting... I hope some of you find it to be that way as well.
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the reason cocaine is oh so good and oh so dangerous - weird studies