Cocaine Abuse | Smoking, Injecting, & Snorting Cocaine

Cocaine abuse comes in many forms, but dedicated drug addiction treatment facilities can help put an end to long-term illicit drug use.

Snorting, smoking, and injecting are common forms of cocaine abuse. Each form of cocaine abuse causes similar side effects, including increased body temperature, higher energy, paranoia, and restlessness.

In 2020, around 5 million U.S. citizens reported using cocaine at least once in the past 12 months. The prevalence of cocaine abuse in the U.S. is also significant among teenagers.

Almost all forms of cocaine use in the United States are illegal. This means cocaine use is also a form of substance abuse. The side effects of cocaine can have a lasting impact on your physical and mental health.

Snorting Cocaine

Cocaine is commonly sold as a white powder. Snorting cocaine powder can be done with household items, making snorting a popular choice for using the drug. The powder can be placed on a flat surface like a mirror, organized into lines, and inhaled with a straw or dollar bill.

Effects Of Snorting Cocaine

Cocaine is abused to improve short-term productivity, alertness, and energy. This is because cocaine affects dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that controls mood and reward. Snorting cocaine can allow you to feel these effects for about 30 minutes.

All forms of cocaine abuse can cause short-term and long-term side effects. Some side effects of cocaine use are specific to the method being used. Snorting cocaine affects the nose and the rest of the body, potentially leading to:

  • high body temperature
  • high blood pressure
  • ​increased heart rate
  • restlessness
  • dilated pupils
  • runny nose
  • nosebleeds
  • perforated septum

Injecting Cocaine

Injecting cocaine involves dissolving cocaine powder into a solution and injecting it into the veins. Since injection brings cocaine directly into the bloodstream, people will likely feel stronger effects.

Effects Of Injecting Cocaine

Injecting cocaine can lead to similar side effects as snorting. While the risk of nasal problems decreases, the risk of issues at the injection site can increase. Injecting cocaine can lead to physical symptoms like collapsed veins, which can become visible signs of cocaine use to others.

Sharing needles while injecting cocaine also increases the risk of contracting diseases like HIV and hepatitis.

Smoking Cocaine

Compared to snorting cocaine, smoking cocaine can cause you to feel its effects faster. The high caused by smoking cocaine may feel more intense compared to snorting but only lasts about 5 to 10 minutes.

Crack & Freebase Cocaine

Crack cocaine, a processed version of cocaine, takes the form of a crystal that can be smoked. Crack cocaine or freebase cocaine can cause stronger side effects for a shorter amount of time compared to cocaine, and can also be habit-forming.

Risks Of Cocaine Abuse

All forms of cocaine abuse can put your cardiovascular health at risk. Cocaine can constrict blood vessels, reduce blood flow, and put stress on your heart. Irregular heart rhythm, coronary heart disease, chest pain, and increased risk of heart attack can result from cocaine abuse.

Cocaine Use Disorder

Cocaine use disorder can happen as a result of snorting, smoking, injecting, or rubbing cocaine. Cocaine use disorder is a form of substance use disorder defined by uncontrolled cocaine use. It may also be referred to as cocaine addiction.

Symptoms of cocaine use disorder include severe cravings, withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit, and health effects due to continued use. People suffering from this condition may be at a higher risk of a cocaine overdose.

Other Forms Of Cocaine Abuse

Other forms of cocaine abuse include speedballs or potent combinations of cocaine and heroin. Cocaine may also be mixed with synthetic opioids, a combination that is easy to mask in illicit mixtures of the drug.

Cocaine abuse comes in many forms, but dedicated drug addiction treatment facilities can help put an end to long-term illicit drug use. Substance abuse treatment for cocaine use may involve a detox period, followed by behavioral therapy and cocaine withdrawal management.

If you see the signs of cocaine abuse in yourself or a loved one, contact Northeast Addictions Treatment Center to learn about our outpatient treatment programs today.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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