What Does Cocaine Look Like?

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Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that comes in two forms — white powder cocaine and crack cocaine. It is not easy to identify cocaine by appearance, but doing so can be helpful for people who are concerned that a loved one is abusing cocaine or crack cocaine. 


What Cocaine Looks Like

When sold, cocaine typically comes in clear plastic bags, so the consumer can see what it looks like before buying.

It is not always easy to identify cocaine, especially in powder form, because it resembles so many other drugs and substances, including opioids and amphetamines.

Cocaine comes from the coca plant, which grows naturally in certain regions of South America. The leaves of the coca plant are harvested, refined, and converted into a fine white powder.

It would be nearly impossible to identify cocaine by what it looks like alone. Appearance is often used in combination with taste and smell when identifying cocaine.

How To Identify Pure Cocaine

Pure cocaine is white or off-white in color, and comes in a very fine powder. Cocaine in this form is known as cocaine hydrochloride.

It is extremely rare to find pure cocaine for sale anywhere, and especially in the United States, as cocaine passes through many hands before finally reaching the consumer.

How To Identify Powder Cocaine

Powder cocaine will generally look more off-white and even yellow or light brown in color depending on what additives it contains.

Common street names for white powder cocaine include blanco, flake, snow white, stardust, happy powder, and speedball (cocaine mixed with heroin).

How To Identify Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is the solid form of cocaine, sometimes referred to as freebase cocaine. This type of cocaine comes in small, irregularly shaped rocks or crystals.

This form of cocaine is usually more yellow or brown in color, and sometimes with a milky appearance.

Common street names for crack cocaine include rocks, candy, nuggets, ice, cookies, crumbs, and jelly beans.

Why Are There Different Colors Of Cocaine?

The color of cocaine has more to do with its purity than anything else. The more additives that a batch of cocaine has, the more likely it is to be yellowish or brownish in color.

There is also something called pink cocaine, which is a party drug that actually contains no cocaine at all. In rare instances, pink cocaine is white powder cocaine that has been dyed pink.

Do Cutting Agents Found In Cocaine Change Its Appearance?

Cocaine cutting agents are typically chosen because they look very similar to powder cocaine, and can thus add bulk to the product and make the street dealers a larger profit.

For this reason, cutting agents do not usually change cocaine’s appearance, although it is generally expected that the less pure the cocaine, the less white it will be.

Common cocaine cutting agents may include:

  • cornstarch
  • baking soda
  • talcum powder
  • flour
  • laundry detergent
  • lidocaine
  • benzocaine
  • fentanyl

What Does Cocaine Paraphernalia Look Like?

The paraphernalia used with cocaine will depend both on the type of cocaine and the route of administration.

Identifying Powder Cocaine Paraphernalia

Powder cocaine, used by snorting, requires the fewest materials. All that is required is the cocaine, a flat surface, a straw, and a small, straight object such as a razor blade or credit card.

This type of cocaine can also commonly be used by injecting or plugging. Paraphernalia for these methods of use include syringes, spoons, and mixing cups.

Identifying Crack Cocaine Paraphernalia

Crack cocaine can also be used by intravenous injection, plugging, or snorting, but is most commonly smoked.

A glass pipe or stem is typically used for smoking cocaine, however, it is not uncommon to see homemade smoking devices that are made out of tin foil and a straw.

Addiction Treatment Programs For Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine is known for being a very addictive drug that can produce strong cravings and that has an uncomfortable and difficult withdrawal period.

Medical detox can make this process safe and comfortable, as well as treat some of the more serious effects of cocaine, such as high blood pressure and body temperature and a fast heart rate.

Other side effects of cocaine addiction that may require treatment are constricted blood vessels, an irregular heartbeat, nosebleeds, and any co-occurring mental health disorders that arise.

Without intervention, continued cocaine abuse can put a person at an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, cocaine overdose, and sudden death.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment For Cocaine Addiction

A professional substance use recovery program can make all the difference when it comes to achieving long-term sobriety from cocaine or any other substance.

If you have any questions or would like more information about alcohol and drug use treatment programs in your area, give us a call on our helpline today.


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