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  • Writer's pictureMitchell Curtis

How to tell if someone is using Cocaine

What is cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive, psychoactive, stimulant drug.

Methods of cocaine abuse

Most commonly abused by:

• snorting up the nose

• smoking

• injection

By snorting it as a powder

Most people snort cocaine – they crush it into a fine powder, divide it into lines and snort it through the nose. This is the most common way to take cocaine.

Snorting cocaine can damage your nose, especially if it’s not been chopped very finely. Some people find that switching between nostrils helps, and some people rinse out their nostrils with water or saline solution after taking it.

By smoking it as crack or freebase

Crack or freebase can be smoked through a glass pipe, tube, plastic bottle or in foil, but this is less common.

By injecting it

Powdered coke and crack can be prepared to make a solution for injecting, which is much more dangerous than snorting or smoking cocaine.

When purchased on the street, is usually ‘cut’ with adulterants such as baking soda, talcum powder, lactose sugar, or other local anaesthetics such as lidocaine or benzocaine. Other more dangerous adulterants, such as methamphetamine or synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, may also be used to cut the drug.

The effect of cocaine is described as euphoric with increased energy, reduced fatigue, and heightened mental alertness. Users may be talkative, extraverted, and have a loss of appetite or need for sleep. The psychoactive and pleasurable effects are short-lived without continued administration.

Cocaine causes a short lived, intense high that is immediately followed by the opposite—intense depression, edginess and a craving for more of the drug.

And if he or she can’t get cocaine, the depression can get so intense it can drive the addict to suicide.

With repeated use, stimulants like cocaine can disrupt how the brain’s dopamine system works, reducing a person’s ability to feel pleasure from normal, everyday activities. People will often develop tolerance, which means they must take more of the drug to get the desired effect. If a person becomes addicted, they might take the drug just to feel “normal.”

Cocaine use ranges from once in a while to nonstop. There is no safe way to use the drug.

Yes. Cocaine can be deadly when taken in large doses or when mixed with other drugs or alcohol. Cocaine-related deaths often happen because the heart stops (cardiac arrest), then breathing stops. Using cocaine and drinking alcohol or using other drugs increases these dangers, including the risk of overdose.

For example, combining cocaine and heroin (known as a, “Speedball”) puts a person at higher risk of death from an overdose.

Cocaine works by tapping into this reward system and triggering the release of dopamine. This means that cocaine is extremely addictive, not only psychologically, but neurochemically, in high doses, cocaine can make a person feel extremely agitated, paranoid and aggressive. Unpleasant physical effects include dizziness, hallucinations, nausea and vomiting, tremors, headache and heart pain.

drug use always has its innocent victims, from those who become prey of addicts seeking through desperate means to finance their drug habit, to those who die in traffic accident.

People take drugs because they want to change something in their lives. Here are some of the reasons young people have given for taking drugs:

• To fit in

• To escape or relax

• To relieve boredom

• To seem grown up

• To rebel

• To experiment

They think drugs are a solution. But eventually, the drugs become the problem. Difficult as it may be to face one’s problems, the consequences of drug use are always worse than the problem one is trying to solve with them. The real answer is to get the facts and not to take drugs in the first place.


• Loss of appetite

• Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature

• Contracted blood vessels

• Increased rate of breathing

• Dilated pupils

• Disturbed sleep patterns

• Nausea

• Hyper-stimulation

• Bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behaviour

• Hallucinations, hyper-excitability, irritability

• Tactile hallucination that creates the illusion of bugs burrowing under the skin

• Intense euphoria

• Anxiety and paranoia

• Depression

• Intense drug craving

• Panic and psychosis

• Convulsions, seizures and sudden death from high doses (even one time). Long term effects

• Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain

• High blood pressure, leading to heart attacks, strokes, and death

• Liver, kidney and lung damage

• Destruction of tissues in nose if sniffed

• Respiratory failure if smoked

• Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected

• Malnutrition, weight lose

• Severe tooth decay

• Auditory and tactile hallucinations

• Sexual problems, reproductive damage and infertility (for both men and women)

• Disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion

• Irritability and mood disturbances

• Increased frequency of risky behaviour

• Delirium or psychosis

• Severe depression

• Tolerance and addiction (even after just one use)

When a user becomes dependent on the drug, one’s body will have a strong, negative reaction to periods without the drug. The most common effect of cocaine withdrawal is a “crash.” A crash usually includes symptoms like:

• Fatigue.

• Feelings of depressions.

• Restlessness.

• Anxiety.

• Increased hunger.

• Increased paranoia and mistrust of others.

• High desire to continue or restart using the substance.


• Blow

• C

• Chang

• Charlie

• Ching

• Coke

• Crack

• Flake

• Freebase

• Pebbles

• Percy

• Rocks

• Sniff

• Snow

• Stones

• Toot

• Wash

• White

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