Just Say No! A Profile Of Cocaine

And It’s Effects On Two Lives Essay, Research Paper Just Say No! A Profile Of Cocaine and It’s Effects On Two Lives Presented by: J.T. Stocker Mr. Kramer/Mrs. Locke

And It’s Effects On Two Lives Essay, Research Paper

Just Say No! A Profile Of Cocaine and It’s Effects On Two Lives

Presented by:

J.T. Stocker

Mr. Kramer/Mrs. Locke


December 13, 1995

Greek mythology tells of a young god, Morpheus, god of dreams. Morpheus

planted a special purple flower called the lotus. Soon the people of the land

smelled the sweet flowers and ate them. They immediately feel into a deep and

troubled sleep. From that day on, they awoke only long enough to gather the

lotus flowers and sleep again. Eventually they lost their strength and

willpower and wanted only to drift in and out of sleep.1 The story of the

lotus-eaters and similar tales from ancient times show us that drug use is not

new. Today this problem threatens all of our society. The worst, most deadly

of drugs, however, is cocaine. This report will talk about what cocaine is,

what it does to the human body, and two fantastic people who gave their lives

because of it.

Today, over 5 million people use cocaine each month. Each day, 3,000

people try cocaine for the first time.2 Cocaine is a white powder made from the

leaves of the cocoa plant. Cocaine is first pressed to form a paste; then, the

paste is mixed with strong chemicals to make a white, powdery mixture. Most

cocaine comes from South America. It is estimated that about 400 tons of

cocaine is smuggled out of South America each year. Half of this cocaine ends

up on the streets of the United States.

Cocaine is a stimulant. That means that when it is used, it speeds up

the way the brain works. It causes the brain to send out too many electrical

signals that then get mixed up. Because the brain tells the heart how fast and

often to beat, using cocaine can make the heart pump so fast that it damages the

muscles or can lead to a heart attack. Since the brain also tells the lungs how

often and how deep to breath, the use of cocaine can cause those signals to get

mixed up leading to a shortness of breath or the complete failure of the lungs

to work causing instant death. The use of cocaine is seriously addicting.

Monkeys will keep giving themselves doses of cocaine until they die; most people

will follow the same trend.3

The world of sports has many sad examples of people who made the poor

choice to use drugs. Perhaps the saddest is that of Lenny Bias. Len Bias was a

star on the basketball court. He was in perfect health. Len played basketball

for the University of Maryland. Some people thought he would be the best

basketball player ever. Then one day his dreams came true. He was drafted no.

1 by the Boston Celtics to play professional basketball. “He could jump through

the roof,” said Red Auerbach, president of the Celtics4. Len was so happy that

he went out to celebrate. He snorted cocaine, probably for the first time.

That would be his last time–cocaine stopped his heart and he died instantly.

Dr. Louis Caplan, New England Medical Center Hospitals, says that using cocaine

is like taking a chance on sudden death: “Cocaine’s a loaded gun.”5 Len Bias

choose to be on the wrong end of the gun.

Entertainers seem to live in a world exposed to many drugs. Sometimes

they, too, make poor choices. An example of this is Kurt Cobain. Kurt Cobain

was a famous rock singer for the group Nirvana. His music influenced millions

of people, and led the world of rock into a completely different direction.

While he didn’t die of drugs, Kobain’s use of cocaine and other drugs helped

lead to his death. When he killed himself, the news spread fast, and soon

millions of fans, all around the world, were completely shocked. “As if the

loss of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin hadn’t crushed the rock-n-

roll world, now it mourned another family member.”6

Drugs don’t just affect the famous–they are a crippling part of our

society. There is no reason to take drugs; they won’t help anyone’s performance

at school, or earn friends, or create a better sports player, or help a career–

and dead is never cool.



Hyde, Bruce. Know About Drugs. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company. 1979.

Hyde, Margaret. Mind Drugs. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1986.

Nardo, Don. Drugs and Sports. San Diego, Lucent Books, Inc. 1990.

Shulman, Jeffrey. Focus on Cocaine and Crack. Frederick, Maryland: Twenty-

First Century Books, 1990.


People Magazine. April 25, 1994, p. 38(8), v. 41. No Way Out, Steve Doughterty

(pg. 39-42).


Encarta. Computer Software. Microsoft Home, 1995. IBM PC, 486KB, CD ROM disc.