Cocaine is a highly stimulant drug, which is derived from the leaves of a coca plant found in South America. It also has medicinal values. Cocaine is available on the streets as a fine, white, crystal powder with nicknames such as blow, coke, crack, rock and snow. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 5.4 percent individuals in the age group of 18 to 25 years were addicted to cocaine in 2014 in the United States.
The drug is usually snorted through the nose, rubbed into the gums or smoked to increase the level of the natural chemical messenger, dopamine, in brain circuits (neurotransmitters that control the feelings of pleasure and movement). While its short-term effects like extreme happiness, energy and mental alertness can make an individual feel happy, it has negative long-term effects such as loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, higher risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis C and numerous others.
Addiction to cocaine has been a common affair among the eminent personalities in the U.S. As part of our series “Celebrities and addiction,” we take a look at the lives of celebrities who were addicted to various substances. In the first article of the series we discuss how addiction to cocaine affected the lives of some famous people.
Being famous is not easy. Often a life of luxury can hide a life full of pain or addiction. Some of the famous people whose lives were destroyed by cocaine addiction are:
1. John Belushi
The famous American comedian, actor and musician, known for hits such as “Animal House,” “Saturday Night Life” and “The Blues Brothers” died an untimely death due to his addiction to cocaine. One of his favorite game was “Cocaine chicken,” that involved pouring a line of cocaine and racing against a friend to see who managed to snort the maximum drug before reaching the middle. Ultimately, it only brought ruin.
2. Whitney Houston
She was a renowned American singer, actress, producer and model who was also one of the best-selling pop music artists of all-time. The singer was a cocaine addict throughout her life. She was found dead in a hotel bathtub at the age of 48. The cause of death was found to be cocaine overdose and a heart disease.
3. Timothy Allen Dick
Famously known as Tim Allen, Timothy is an American actor, comedian and author who is acclaimed for his roles in the ABC television show “Home Improvement” and in films such as Disney’s “The Santa Clause trilogy,” Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story trilogy” (as the voice of Buzz Lightyear) and “Galaxy Quest.” The comedian has shared that he struggled with cocaine addiction and was even incarcerated for its possession. However, the actor soon cleared up his act, by overcoming his addiction. He shared his struggle in his memoir, “Don’t stand too close to a naked man.”
4. Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. was arrested for illegal drug possession for the very first time in 1987. This arrest was followed by multiple others in 1996. To recover from his addiction to cocaine and other drugs, the American actor went in and out of rehab multiple times until 2002 when he finally appeared to show some signs of recovery. He seemed to have got his life back on track by delivering several hits, thereafter.
5. Drew Barrymore
An American actress, author, director, model and producer, Barrymore started abusing cocaine at the tender age of 13. However, she was immediately sent to a rehab center and has stayed clean since then, taking her career to new heights.
Cocaine is one of those recreational drugs that the rich and famous love to abuse. However, often they end up developing an addiction to it, which proves really hazardous for their health.
If you or your loved one is addicted to cocaine and is looking for drug addiction treatment centers, the 24/7 Recovery Helpline for drug and alcohol addiction can help. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online with our representatives to know about the best treatment centers for drug addiction.