Cocaine is a Schedule II drug in the U.S., which means it has a high potential for abuse and possession of cocaine is a felony.
According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 5.2 million people reported using cocaine in the past year, and 1.3 million of those had a cocaine use disorder.
Common street names for cocaine include coke, blow, snow, flake, and powder.
As with other drugs, repeated use of cocaine can cause changes to the reward system in the brain and result in addiction.
Types Of Cocaine
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant narcotic that is derived from the coca plant of South America.
It is made through a process of treating and refining coca leaves until they are dried into bricks of a powder-like substance.
Often, cocaine is diluted with one or more additives such as baking soda during the manufacturing process to increase profits for the dealer.
Powder cocaine is typically a shiny white or off-white color. It is ingested by snorting the powder, or dissolving it in a liquid and injecting it with a needle.
Crack cocaine is a rock-like form of cocaine that is made by combining powder cocaine with other substances and boiling it until it’s a solid form.
The solid form can then be broken into smaller pieces or “crack rocks” that can be smoked in a glass pipe.
Signs And Symptoms Of A Cocaine Addiction
People who abuse cocaine may exhibit a range of physical and behavioral signs of addiction.
Some of the behavioral signs of addiction include:
- mood swings
- feelings of superiority
- increased energy
- lying about cocaine use
People may also withdraw from friends and loved ones, and start increasingly engaging in risky behaviors, or have sudden financial problems due to the cost of maintaining a cocaine habit.
Physical signs of cocaine use include restlessness, tachycardia, hypertension, dilated pupils, loss of sense of smell, runny nose, nose bleeds, and weight loss.
If you suspect that someone may be using cocaine, there are certain accessories and items to look for that indicate use.
Drug paraphernalia associated with cocaine use include:
- miniature spoons
- paper tubes
- cocaine straws
- small mirrors
- razor blades or credit cards
- vinegar or other acids
- tin foil
- glass “crack pipes”
- rolling papers
Other items that may indicate use include eye drops used to cover up bloodshot eyes and mouthwash used to cover the odor of smoked cocaine.
Side Effects Of Cocaine Use
People who abuse cocaine may begin to experience several side effects as they become physically and psychologically dependent on the drug.
Side effects may include anxiety, domestic violence, psychosis, stroke, heart attack, changes to heart rhythms, unemployment, and legal problems.
Withdrawal Symptoms Of Cocaine Addiction
Due to the highly addictive nature of cocaine, when a person suddenly stops using the drug their body will go through a withdrawal process.
Cocaine withdrawal symptoms may include:
- inability to feel pleasure
- difficulty concentrating
- intense cravings
- body aches
- tremors and shakiness
While cocaine withdrawal is extremely uncomfortable, it is rarely life-threatening unless the person in withdrawal has suicidal ideation.
Healthcare professionals recommend seeking a medically monitored detox program during cocaine withdrawal to help avoid any complications.
Symptoms Of Cocaine Overdose
One of the most dangerous results of cocaine abuse is cocaine overdose.
Depending on the purity of the cocaine, as well as the health of the person using it, a lethal dose of cocaine may be less than a gram.
People experiencing cocaine overdose may exhibit symptoms such as:
- profuse sweating
- rapid heart rate
- high body temperature (hyperthermia)
If you see someone exhibiting these signs after cocaine use you should call emergency services immediately.
Treatment Programs For Cocaine Addiction
People addicted to cocaine can find help in the form of evidence-based services at a treatment center.
Cocaine addiction often requires support in recovery and comprehensive care to overcome due to the cravings and other withdrawal symptoms a person may experience when trying to quit use.
Treatment options may include:
- intervention services
- medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- medical detoxification
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- individual, group, or family counseling
- dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders
- inpatient treatment
- outpatient treatment
- support groups for people with substance use disorders
Getting help at a rehab facility is the most effective way to overcome cocaine addiction and achieve long-term sobriety.
Cocaine Addiction FAQs
The frequently asked questions below may answer your concerns about cocaine abuse.
Is Cocaine Addiction Deadly?
Yes. Cocaine can lead to deadly side effects such as cardiovascular problems as well as overdose death.
Will Using Cocaine Once Cause Addiction?
No, you have to consistently use cocaine over a period of time for your body to develop a physical and psychological dependence.
How Do I Know I Need To Get Help For My Cocaine Use?
If you find yourself unable to function without using cocaine, or you’re experiencing relationship, financial, or legal problems, you may need to seek cocaine addiction treatment.
What Will Happen If I Use Cocaine While Pregnant?
Using cocaine during pregnancy may have serious consequences for the baby and result in premature birth, miscarriage, or neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).
Find Treatment Facilities For Substance Abuse
Call our helpline today for more information about treatment programs for drug addiction. Our team can help you find a provider, and get on a track toward long-term recovery.Article Sources
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — Drug Overdose
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Cocaine DrugFacts
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — 2020 National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)
- U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) — Cocaine Drug Fact Sheet