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COCAIN AND ADDICTION

COCAIN AND ADDICTION

What does it look like?

There are three types of cocaine: coke, crack and freebase.

COCAIN AND ADDICTION

  • Coke looks like a fine white powder
  • Crack looks like small lumps or rocks
  • Freebase looks like a crystallised powder

What does it taste/smell like?

Cocaine powder has a bitter ‘chemical’ taste and smell, while crack cocaine can smell like burnt plastic or rubber.

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.

How does it make you feel?

Taking cocaine can make you feel:

  • happy
  • excited
  • wide awake
  • confident
  • on top of your game

It can also:

  • make your heart beat faster
  • raise your body temperature – so you feel hot
  • stop you feeling hungry
  • make you feel sick
  • make you need to poo
  • make you anxious and panicky
  • make you paranoid
  • make you so confident that you do things you wouldn’t normally do (which might be risky)

How does it make people behave?

Cocaine affects people differently, but most users become:

  • chattier
  • more animated
  • more confident

Some people become:

  • overconfident and arrogant
  • agitated
  • restless
  • edgy

Cocaine can increase your sexual desires too, and some people take it to have more intense sex, but taking lots of cocaine can actually reduce your sex drive.

Generally speaking, a user’s sex drive should go back to normal once they stop taking cocaine excessively.

How long it lasts

The initial high from cocaine doesn’t last that long, around 20 to 30 minutes – although this depends on the purity of the cocaine and the person’s tolerance. You might still experience some physical effects after the high has gone, such as a faster heart beat.

The effects of smoking crack are even shorter lasting, around 10 minutes, with the peak lasting for about two minutes after smoking it.

After effects

Some people find that cocaine makes them feel down, anxious and paranoid the next day, or longer.

How long will it be detectable?

Cocaine can be detected in a urine test for up to 3 days after snorting it.

How long a drug can be detected for depends on how much is taken and which testing kit is used. This is only a general guide.

Physical health risks

  • Cocaine is risky for anyone with high blood pressure or a heart condition, but even healthy young people can have a fit, heart attack or stroke after using the drug.
  • The risk of overdose increases if you mix cocaine with other drugs or alcohol.
  • Over time, snorting cocaine damages the cartilage in your nose that separates your nostrils. Heavy users can lose this cartilage and end up with one large nostril and a misshapen nose.
  • Taking cocaine when pregnant can damage your baby, cause miscarriage, premature labour and low birth weight.
  • Regularly smoking crack can cause breathing problems and pains in the chest.
  • Injecting cocaine can damage veins and cause ulcers and gangrene. Sharing needles or other injecting equipment can spread HIV and hepatitis infections too. It’s also easier to overdose from injecting cocaine.
  • Speedballing (injecting a mixture of cocaine and heroin) can have fatal results. A form of heroin called white heroin, is easily mistaken for cocaine and people have died or been hospitalised after snorting it thinking it was cocaine.

Mental health risks

Regular use of cocaine can make people feel:

  • depressed
  • run-down
  • anxious
  • paranoid

Cocaine can bring previous mental health problems to the surface too, and if a relative has had mental health problems, there might be an increased risk for you.

Social risks

Frequent users find they begin to crave more of the drug – so it can become an expensive habit to keep up with.

Environmental risks

Cocaine doesn’t just damage the people who take it. It wrecks the communities that it’s grown in and leads to deforestation. Find out more about how cocaine wrecks communities.

What is cocaine cut with?

The purity of cocaine goes up and down depending on the market.

A wrap of cocaine powder can be cut with many things, such as sugar or starch, but benzocaine is the most common.

Benzocaine is a local anaesthetic that produces a numbing effect similar to cocaine, but without the cocaine high.

Can you get addicted?

Yes, cocaine is very addictive. This is because regular use changes the way the brain releases dopamine, a brain chemical that makes you feel happy.

Cocaine is mostly known for causing psychological dependence (addiction), but users can sometimes continue to use cocaine just to overcome the negative after effects of using. This can lead to a binge pattern of use and increase the risk of dependence.

What does it look like?

There are three types of cocaine: coke, crack and freebase.

  • Coke looks like a fine white powder
  • Crack looks like small lumps or rocks
  • Freebase looks like a crystallised powder

What does it taste/smell like?

Cocaine powder has a bitter ‘chemical’ taste and smell, while crack cocaine can smell like burnt plastic or rubber.

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.

How does it make you feel?

Taking cocaine can make you feel:

  • happy
  • excited
  • wide awake
  • confident
  • on top of your game

It can also:

  • make your heart beat faster
  • raise your body temperature – so you feel hot
  • stop you feeling hungry
  • make you feel sick
  • make you need to poo
  • make you anxious and panicky
  • make you paranoid
  • make you so confident that you do things you wouldn’t normally do (which might be risky)

How does it make people behave?

Cocaine affects people differently, but most users become:

  • chattier
  • more animated
  • more confident

Some people become:

  • overconfident and arrogant
  • agitated
  • restless
  • edgy

Cocaine can increase your sexual desires too, and some people take it to have more intense sex, but taking lots of cocaine can actually reduce your sex drive.

Generally speaking, a user’s sex drive should go back to normal once they stop taking cocaine excessively.

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