Cocaine Overdose: Knowing The Signs And What To Do

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Cocaine abuse can lead to a potentially life-threatening drug overdose. Treatment for a cocaine overdose may include lowering your heart rate and body temperature, stabilizing blood pressure, receiving IV fluids, and following up with addiction treatment.

Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that may lead to psychological and physical dependency. Abuse of cocaine, or mixing it with other substances can lead to overdose death.

Cocaine addiction becomes increasingly dangerous the longer it’s left untreated. Luckily, there are signs of what to look for, as well as tips on what to do in the event of a cocaine overdose.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Cocaine Overdose?

When someone uses cocaine, they may initially feel intense euphoria, increased energy and alertness, and hypersensitivity to visual, tactile, or aural stimuli.

Ingesting too much cocaine in a short period of time may result in overdose, which will include both physical and psychological symptoms.

Signs of a cocaine overdose may include:

  • high heart rate
  • abnormal heart rhythm
  • dangerous rise in body temperature
  • nausea and vomiting
  • chest pain
  • tremors
  • psychosis
  • panic
  • anxiety
  • delirium
  • paranoia

Learn more about the symptoms of a cocaine overdose.

How Much Cocaine It Takes To Overdose

The most common methods of cocaine use include snorting cocaine, smoking crack cocaine, or injecting the drug intravenously with a needle.

Cocaine doses typically range between 30 to 70 mg, but increased tolerance to the substance will require that a person ingests more than usual to feel the same desirable effects.

Risk factors such as the purity of the drug, the presence of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and a person’s overall health may all affect cocaine overdose death rates.

How Cocaine Overdose Is Treated

Cocaine overdose can happen without warning, and death can quickly occur as a result of seizure, cardiac arrhythmia, hypothermia, kidney failure, stroke, or respiratory failure.

Currently, there is no medication that can reverse the onset of cocaine overdose. If you suspect that someone may be overdosing, call 911 immediately and wait for emergency medical support.

Healthcare professionals can stabilize bodily function through lowering body temperature, administering IV fluids, and giving medications for anxiety and high blood pressure.

Learn about cocaine overdose treatment.

Can Cocaine Overdose Be Deadly?

Any type of drug overdose can be deadly if left untreated. While typically not fatal, a cocaine overdose can be lethal.

One variable that may contribute to a higher death rate is the presence of other substances in the ingested cocaine, such as the dangerous opioid fentanyl.

Fentanyl is substantially more powerful than heroin, and is often mixed with cocaine formulations to increase profit margins for drug dealers.

The Difference Between Cocaine Intoxication And Overdose

Cocaine toxicity occurs after hours of excessive cocaine use, and is not the same thing as cocaine overdose.

Intoxication is caused by how cocaine engages the serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine receptors in the brain and central nervous system.

When cocaine is abused to a certain point, neurotransmitters will increase the functions of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems to dangerous levels.

Symptoms of toxicity can be quite similar to overdose, and may include high heart rate, hypertension, hyperthermia, vomiting, anxiety, rapid breathing, chest pain, and agitation.

Becoming highly intoxicated with cocaine can be fatal by triggering a heart attack or overdose, particularly among people with pre-existing heart disease or other health complications.

Treatment Options For Cocaine Addiction

Attending an evidence-based addiction treatment program is one of the most effective ways to avoid worsening side effects or deadly overdose.

Treatment services for a cocaine use disorder may include:

  • medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • medically monitored detox
  • group therapy
  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders
  • outpatient treatment
  • mental health services
  • case management and wellness services
  • aftercare
  • relapse prevention care
  • support groups

Treatment facilities can help mitigate painful withdrawal symptoms and toxic levels of illicit drugs in the body, while providing therapy to get to the root of addiction.

Find A Substance Abuse Treatment Center For Cocaine Abuse

Battling a substance use disorder is difficult, but help is available at an addiction recovery center near you.

Call our helpline for more information. Our team of healthcare providers can assist you or your loved one in getting the behavioral health treatment you need to reach sobriety.


Canton, Massachusetts

Bedrock Recovery Center


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Plymouth, Massachusetts

Ohio Recovery Center


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Spring Hill Recovery Center


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