Coke Nose: What Does Cocaine Do To Your Nose?

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Cocaine nose is the term given to specific side effects affecting the nose cavity, nasal septum, and surrounding tissue due to cocaine drug abuse. Snorting cocaine, an illicit stimulant substance, can damage the nasal cavity and result in other adverse side effects.

Coke Nose

Cocaine is an addictive stimulant commonly ingested via ‘snorting.’ When people snort cocaine, they inhale the drug through their nose, which can lead to a condition called “coke nose.”

This is a condition caused by the damage that cocaine does to the blood vessels and tissues in the nose, since the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the nose.

Physical effects of snorting cocaine can cause blood vessels in the nose to constrict, decreasing the blood flow and oxygen to the tissue, and killing tissue — resulting in septoral perforation.

What Are The Effects Of Cocaine On The Nose?

Cocaine causes the blood vessels in the nose to constrict, which can lead to tissue damage.

Further, the toxicity of cocaine can cause nosebleeds and create a hole in the septum, which is the thin wall separating the nostrils.

Abuse of this drug can also cause the lining of the nose to become dry, irritated, and inflamed.

In some cases, cocaine use can lead to a condition called rhinitis, characterized by a runny nose, congestion, and sneezing.

Other side effects of short-term and long-term cocaine abuse on the nose include:

  • damage to the mucous membrane
  • hard palate damage
  • septum collapse
  • septal perforation
  • frequent nosebleeds
  • scabs

Long-Term Damage To The Nose Caused By Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine substance abuse can lead to a number of health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, and mental health disorders.

Because the effects of cocaine are short-lived, it can quickly become addictive, and result in substance use disorders (SUD).

Long-term cocaine abuse can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, which can put a strain on the heart and lead to heart attacks or strokes, and can cause mental disorders.

Chronic Sinus Infections

Chronic sinus infections are a common complication of chronic cocaine use.

The constant inflammation of the sinuses caused by cocaine use can lead to the formation of scar tissue, which can block the sinuses and make it difficult for air to pass through.

Blockages of this type can lead to severe pain, headaches, and difficulty breathing.

Damage To Membrane Lining

Cocaine use can cause damage to the membrane lining of the nose and sinuses. This can lead to a decrease in the sense of smell and can also cause difficulty breathing.

In some cases, this damage can be permanent. Cocaine use can also lead to damage to the lungs and can increase the risk of developing pneumonia.

Hard Palate Damage

Cocaine use can cause damage to the hard palate, the hard, bony roof of the mouth. The damage is caused by the cocaine eroding the bone.

This can lead to holes in the palate, which can cause problems with eating and speaking.

Saddle Nose

The use of cocaine can lead to a condition called ‘saddle nose’, where the bridge of the nose collapses. This can happen because cocaine constricts blood vessels, causing tissue death.

Septum Collapse

Septum collapse is a condition in which the thin piece of cartilage that separates the nostrils is damaged or destroyed.

This can occur as a result of long-term cocaine use, as the drug is often sniffed through the nose.

When the septum is damaged, it can no longer support the structure of the nose, leading to the collapse of the nostrils.

Can Coke Nose Be Reversed?

Nose damage as a result of a perforated septum or infected nasal passages causes a number of problems inside of the nose.

These are facilitated and exacerbated by nasal drug use, of which cocaine is at the forefront.

Fortunately, severe damage to the nose as a result of cocaine abuse can be repaired by plastic surgery. However, the damage can be permanent in some cases.

Other Dangers Of Cocaine Abuse

There are many physical, mental, and behavioral health dangers as a result of cocaine abuse.

These can include:

  • heart attack
  • cardiovascular damage
  • weight loss
  • respiratory infections
  • cocaine intoxication
  • psychosis
  • depression

Healing The Nose From Cocaine Use

There are treatments available that can help to heal the nose from cocaine use, such as topical ointments, nasal sprays, and antibiotics.

Plastic surgeons, too, can administer surgery to those who have experienced palatial structural damage.

Treatment Programs For Cocaine Addiction

There are a number of addiction treatment programs and services available to help those with cocaine addictions achieve sobriety.

Common treatment approaches for cocaine addictions include:

  • inpatient programs
  • detox
  • outpatient programs
  • behavioral therapy
  • residential rehab programs
  • partial hospitalization programs (PHP)
  • family services
  • evidence-based therapies

Find A Substance Abuse Treatment Facility

If you or a loved one is in search of addiction treatment for cocaine, give our free helpline a call today to discuss obtaining a referral to a rehabilitation center near you.


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