Cocaine Essay

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Cocaine is a dangerous drug that acts as a stimulant on the brain (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2013). It is derived from the leaves of the South American coca plant and can be found as a powder, or be produced as a rock crystal, also known as crack. Cocaine is injected or snorted and produces a high that is euphoric, and the individual has increased energy and becomes very talkative (NIDA, 2013). Because cocaine is a stimulant, it increases blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature (NIDA, 2013). In the brain, cocaine causes dopamine to build up between synapses (NIDA, 2013). Therefore, there is not reuptake and the dopamine increases, creating this intense euphoria (NIDA, 2013). Cocaine carries a high risk of addiction, since tolerance continually increases. Heart attack, stroke, and malnourishment are other side effects (Ackerman, 2014). The emotional effects include paranoia, anxiety, and irritability (Ackerman, 2014). Cocaine is potent substance, and the effects on a pregnancy can be devastating. It is not known what amount creates the danger or birth defects, but cocaine has an effect on weight, length, premature labor, miscarriage in utero, and more effects are common after the birth and throughout the child's growth (Ackerman, 2014).
The role of a nurse is very important during the medical care of mother and baby with cocaine use. The nursing care considerations include mental health as well as physiological care. Likely all of these pregnancies are unplanned, and about 4% if all pregnancies involved illegal drug use (Mellon, 2014). It is a difficult situation for a medical professional because the nurse needs to address two issues: that the mother has the psychological and physiological needs of an addict, and...

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... of the baby. It will also decrease legal issues during pregnancy, which make access to care harder, and decrease the stigmatized situation that the mother maybe placed in.
In conclusion, cocaine has extremely negative effects on a pregnancy. As a nurse, the most important act is to stop the continued use of the drug and manage withdrawal symptoms. Drug counseling is necessary to ensure the continued non-use of the substance. Early detection is key. With this strategy, it will be more probable for better fetal development and management of the mothers' drug use. It has been found that children fare better when the use of cocaine is less during the early childhood years, not in utero (Szalavitz, 2012). It is integral treatment occur immediately and early. Nurses can be a powerful force in the outcome of the health of the mother and the baby with cocaine addiction.

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