In September 2016, baseball players, coaches, members of the Cuban-American community and aficionados of the game mourned the death of the 24-year-old Cuban right-handed pitching ace, Jose Fernandez, who was killed when the boat he was in, crashed into a jetty and capsized off the coast of Miami’s South Beach. The other two unfortunate victims were identified as Emilio Macias and Eddy Rivero, his friends. Major League Baseball (MLB) said in a statement that it was “stunned and devastated,” by the tragic news of the accident. “He was one of our game’s great young stars who made a dramatic impact on and off the field since his debut in 2013,” said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred expressing shock over the loss. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Miami Marlins organization and all of the people he had touched in his short life”. Later, toxicology reports confirmed the presence of alcohol and cocaine in his system at the time of the tragic crash.
Fernandez’s death served as an eye-opener for many team members as well as those associated with the MLB. The fact that the use of cocaine is rampant in the world of baseball cannot be ignored any longer. According to confidential reports, numerous current and former players have admitted that over 25 percent of MLB players are regular cocaine users, taking into account their age, fame and the money involved. While the general public may assume that the MLB players are routinely tested for recreational drugs, this is far from the reality. Though the MLB’s Joint Drug Agreement (JDA) prohibits the use of substances, such as cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy and opiates, it does not test for them regularly or without any strong reason. Moreover, till date, the spokespersons for MLB and the players’ association have not been able to provide any kind of concrete information about the number of players tested for drugs so far, owing to confidentiality.
Though it is not possible to estimate the number of players using cocaine or other drugs in the absence of random testing, internal sources estimated that between 5 to 25 percent of players are addicted to cocaine, and 25 to 75 percent could be regular users of marijuana. Nevertheless, cocaine use disorder (CUD) is a serious concern in the American subcontinent. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2014, there were an estimated 1.5 million current cocaine users aged 12 or older, nationwide.
Experts say that the major reason why baseball players are highly vulnerable to developing an addiction to cocaine is the innumerable challenges thrown at them by the big league life. The overwhelming threats of losing their jobs to injuries on the field or the physical exertion of a 162-game schedule can exacerbate the urge for drugs, such as cocaine, to enliven and enhance their performance.
Additionally, the mental stress and fatigue of being answerable to reporters, media persons, and accountable to fans and social media followers can wreak havoc in their lives compelling them to use drugs to self-medicate and ease of the pressure.
Cocaine is dangerous and addictive
Although cocaine became popular as the preferred drug of choice during the 1980s and 1990s, addiction to it is still common across the U.S. and tops the reason for visits to the emergency room (ER). According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), cocaine is the second most popular illegal recreational drug in the U.S. after marijuana and prescription opioids. Further, America is the largest consumer of cocaine worldwide, surpassing all barriers of age groups, ethnicities, socioeconomic status and professional careers. Nicknamed coke, blow, toot, flake snow, speedball, liquid lady or nose candy, cocaine is usually available as a fine white powder which can be injected intravenously, snorted directly or dissolved in a liquid drink to get the euphoric high.
Its regular use results in a compulsive psychological dependence since it stimulates the key reward centers in the brain of the user. Regular cocaine users develop high levels of tolerance to the drug and end up experiencing powerful urges for higher doses of it to feed their addiction. Studies suggest that repeated use of cocaine can cause dependence and other dangerous health concerns, which can wreck an individual’s physical as well as mental well-being. Unfortunately, most people, in a bid to escape from anxieties, often take to drug abuse, which further exacerbates the existing agony.
Besides causing life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities, heart attacks and cardiovascular problems, cocaine is also known to shrink the brain. When compared to non-users, cocaine users lose a great deal of gray matter in the prefrontal and temporal regions responsible for memory, attention and decision-making. “As we age we all lose gray matter,” said Karen Ersche of the Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge and co-author of a study on brains of habitual cocaine users, published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry. “Chronic cocaine users lose gray matter at a significantly faster rate, which could be a sign of premature aging.”
Opt for treatment
According to statistics revealed by the NSDUH, in 2014, about 913,000 Americans met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders criteria for dependence or abuse of cocaine (in any form). The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified cocaine as a Schedule II drug, implying that it is dangerous and illegal with a high potential for abuse.
Unfortunately, most individuals fall prey to an addiction more quickly than they might ever realize. The only way to break free from the clutches of the deadly substance is to undergo a specialized cocaine addiction treatment at a professional cocaine addiction rehab to combat the life-wrecking effects of the harmful drug.
Sovereign Health understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of cocaine despite the negative impact on his or her life. Our customized cocaine addiction help programs at Sovereign Health of San Clemente are designed to treat the person holistically. If you or your loved one is battling an addiction to cocaine, call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online to know about the most effective cocaine addiction recovery programs at our state-of-art centers, near you.