Extracted from the coca plant, cocaine is a stimulant and is the second most trafficked illegal drug in the world. As a Schedule II narcotic, cocaine has a number of legitimate medical purposes but is highly addictive. As a street drug, however, cocaine takes two forms that are likely to be abused — cocaine hydrochloride salt, and the cocaine base (a.k.a. “freebase”).
Cocaine (sometimes known as “coke,” “blow,” “C” and “snow”) is a white powder. It is regularly diluted with inert fillers such as cornstarch, flour, or baking soda in order to make more profit for the dealers. It may also contain active drugs, including methamphetamine or fentanyl. Cocaine is usually snorted through the nose. However, some people mix it with water and inject it, while others simply rub it on their gums.
Meanwhile, crack cocaine is created by removing the hydrochloride from powdered cocaine by processing cocaine powder with ammonia or baking soda. Crack cocaine can then be heated to release a vapor that can be inhaled.
According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 1.9 million (0.8 percent of the population) ages 18+ are current cocaine users and have used the drug in the past month. About 75 percent use cocaine in powdered form, while the remainder use cracks cocaine.
Cocaine takes effect quickly, and can produce a sense of alertness, confidence and energy. It can make users feel unusually talkative and euphoric. However, the high is short-lived and requires repeated doses to maintain the high. Cocaine can also make you feel anxious, paranoid and irritable. When it wears off, it can lead to further anxiety, depression, fatigue and other unpleasant physical and psychological effects.
Regardless of what type of cocaine you use, and how you use it, cocaine can raise blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate. Cocaine overdose can lead to a seizure, heart attack or stroke and can be fatal.
Some use cocaine in tandem with alcohol or other drugs. This practice is especially dangerous as the cocaine and alcohol react with one another in the liver. Together, they create an entirely new substance called cocaethylene, which can be toxic to a number of organs in the body. Likewise, the combination of cocaine and heroin — known as “speedballing” — can also be lethal. And using cocaine while on antidepressants can lead to a potentially fatal condition known as serotonin syndrome, which involves shivering, seizures, and possibly death.
The signs of cocaine addiction can change depending on the type (cocaine powder or crack), as well as the severity of the addiction itself. However, some physical signs of cocaine use include dilated pupils, sleeplessness, weight loss, runny nose or sniffles that don’t seem to go away, nosebleeds, burn marks on the fingers or lips, and track marks on the body. As for behavioral signs of cocaine addiction, you may notice lack of appetite, disturbed sleep, mood swings, agitation, anxiety, depression, legal troubles or financial problems.
If you suspect someone you care about is using cocaine and may have developed an addiction, we can help. Please don’t wait for it to get better on its own. Reach out to Golden Peak Recovery today, so we can provide the treatment your loved one needs for long-term recovery.
At Golden Peak Recovery, we know the challenges of overcoming cocaine addiction, especially when it’s coupled with other substances or mental health conditions. Fortunately, there are excellent tools in our drug rehab programs that can help you recover — and find a happier, more fulfilling life.
Golden Peak Recovery begins by helping you detox safely from cocaine and any other drugs in your system. Our medical detox services help you manage withdrawal safely and comfortably. Cocaine withdrawal starts quickly after your last use, usually peaking within 24 hours and lasting up to 40 hours. It may be a good idea to enroll in detox before you’ve finished using cocaine, so you don’t begin detoxing prematurely.
Golden Peak Recovery’s residential inpatient rehab offers a structured program that lets you focus entirely on healing — without distractions or temptations. We provide a complete continuum of care, so when you’re ready for more independence, you have options like our partial hospitalization program and outpatient programs. Also, our aftercare programs are especially helpful in providing support as you navigate early sobriety.