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Why Is Cocaine Illegal?: The Dangers and Repercussions

Employee Signs of Cocaine Use in the Workplace

Drug use and addiction have been societal concerns for centuries, with substances such as cocaine being at the forefront of public attention. Cocaine, a powerful stimulant drug, has been used for medical purposes in the past, but its recreational use has led to widespread addiction and abuse. Despite being a controlled substance in most countries, cocaine use is still a major issue in many communities, causing significant harm to individuals and society. Banyan Treatment Centers Delaware explores the reasons why cocaine is illegal, discussing its effects on the brain and body, its societal impact, and the history of the drug and its regulation.

The History of Cocaine Regulation

Since the early 20th century, cocaine has been a controlled substance in the United States, and it has been regulated by various laws and policies since then. The first federal law regulating cocaine use, the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914, required individuals and companies to register and pay a tax on the production, importation, and distribution of cocaine.1 By the 1920s, cocaine was listed as a controlled substance under federal law. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act, introduced in 1986, established mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, including those related to cocaine.2 Today, cocaine is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, which means that while it has some accepted medical uses while also considered to have a high potential for abuse.3

Cocaine Side Effects

One of the greatest dangers of cocaine use, and the reason for so many regulations, is the drug’s damaging side effects.

Common cocaine effects include:

  • Physical effects: A person who uses coke can experience physical symptoms such as heightened heart rate, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils, stomach pain, and nausea. Extended usage can also result in respiratory issues, chest pain, and cardiac arrest.
  • Mental effects: Cocaine can impact the brain and cause several mental side effects such as agitation, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. It may also lead to depression, loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, and suicidal tendencies.
  • Behavioral effects: Impulsive behavior, irritability, and aggression are common symptoms of this type of drug abuse. It may also induce risky behaviors such as driving under the influence, heightening the likelihood of accidents and injuries.
  • Addiction: Cocaine is a highly addictive substance, and long-term use can result in physical and psychological dependence. Addiction can make it challenging to quit using cocaine and result in adverse consequences, including financial difficulties, legal troubles, and relationship problems.
  • Other health effects: Cocaine abuse can lead to a range of other health issues, including seizures, stroke, and even sudden death.

These are clear indicators of why cocaine is illegal. Risks like seizures, stroke, and legal repercussions are all important risks to keep in mind when faced with the prospect of abusing this substance. Sadly, this does not always dissuade folks from succumbing to their own addictive habits.

Heal From Cocaine Addiction With Our Delaware Rehab Center

No one should be forced to face a substance use disorder on their own. In cases of addiction, it is crucial to seek out the appropriate resources to ensure that any adverse health effects are addressed safely. To do this, our detox in Delaware offers programming for cocaine withdrawal management, serving as the perfect way to begin the recovery journey. From here, they will enter a cocaine addiction treatment program that ensures all facets of this disease are comprehensively addressed.

To learn more about the different programs and levels of care at our Delaware rehab center, call the specialists at Banyan at 888-280-4763.


  1. US Dept. of Justice - Drug Laws and Drug Law Enforcement - A Review and Evaluation Based on 111 Years of Experience
  2. US Dept. of Justice - Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986
  3. DEA - Drug Schedules

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Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Why Is Cocaine Illegal?: The Dangers and Repercussions
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