Cocaine Identification

Would you know cocaine if you saw it? Many people associate cocaine with the last few decades of the twentieth century, but cocaine use is still common today. In March of 2022, an Arizona state trooper found 25 pounds of cocaine at a traffic stop, proving that the substance continues to be popular enough to transport large quantities of it. While cocaine use may still be common, it is possible to overcome cocaine use and achieve wellness with suitable cocaine addiction treatment options and support from your community. 

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant made from a South American plant called coca. Stimulants are substances that provide a temporary energy boost and can improve physical or mental performance in the short term. Cocaine causes a person’s body to produce a significant amount of dopamine into parts of the brain that cause pleasure. 

Cocaine typically looks like a fine white powder. However, in some instances, it can be a crystal-like solid rock. People who use cocaine usually snort it so it can be absorbed in the mucus membranes inside a person’s nose. Cocaine can also be rubbed on a person’s gums, injected after being dissolved in water, or inhaled after heated up. 

The Smell of Cocaine

A pure coca plant smells like a flower. People who have smelled this plant describe it as fruity, sweet, and pleasant. 

Cocaine powder has been described in many different ways. Some say it smells like gasoline. Others say it smells metallic. Because cocaine is mixed with other substances, those substances likely affect the smell of cocaine. 

It is not recommended that a person tries to smell cocaine. Doing so will likely cause you to ingest some of the cocaine and could lead to adverse effects. In addition, with the wide variety of cocaine smell descriptions, it is unlikely that a person could identify the substance by smell even if they were to do it safely. 

Street Names for Cocaine

Common names for cocaine include: 

  • Snow
  • Coke
  • Crack
  • Blow
  • Rock

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How do I Tell If a Loved One Is Addicted to Cocaine?

You can see the signs of cocaine use by observing a person’s behavior. Signs of cocaine use include having a lot of energy, talking excessively, excessive anxiety, and being agitated. Physical symptoms of cocaine use include redness, shaking, and enlarged pupils.

Cocaine is a stimulant that will give a person a boost of energy. Individuals who are using cocaine have an altered mood. Signs of cocaine use include: 

  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • Upbeat 
  • Energetic
  • Sensitive to touch, sound, and light
  • Erratic behavior
  • High body temperature
  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased heart rate

Side Effects and Overdose of Cocaine

Cocaine sends elevated levels of dopamine, the body’s chemical messenger, into the brain’s pleasure center. As a result, a person feels an elevated sense of alertness and energy.

While using cocaine, a person may also experience:

  • Extreme sensitivity to touch, sound, and sight
  • Decreased appetite
  • Anger/irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Intense feelings of  happiness

Another side effect of cocaine use, is the brain becomes less sensitive to natural reinforcements. If someone has been using cocaine for a long time, you may notice activities that once brought joy no longer have the same effect. Long-term cocaine use can cause a person to become more sensitive to stress. They may feel that they need cocaine to feel positive feelings. 

Long-term cocaine use causes a person’s tolerance to increase. This means the dose needed to produce desired effects will increase. If someone who uses cocaine for a long time is unable to use cocaine, they will develop withdrawal symptoms. Shaking and anxiety are examples of cocaine withdrawal symptoms.  

Over time, cocaine can contribute to issues such as:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Seizures
  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Altered mood
  • Sexual performance issues
  • Lung damage
  • Bloodborne diseases such as HIV for those who use needles
  • Bowel decay 
  • Difficulty swallowing, loss of smell, nosebleeds, and runny nose

Over time cocaine use can cause changes to a person’s brain chemistry. Sleep and memory are two areas that are often significantly affected. Cocaine commonly reduces a person’s reaction time. Cocaine use can cause a person to develop heart, stomach, and lung problems.

Cocaine Overdose

A cocaine overdose can be fatal. The stimulating effects of cocaine cause a person’s bodily functions to speed up to a dangerous level. Cocaine causes confusion, which makes it difficult for a person to have proper situational awareness. Incontinence is also a sign of cocaine overdose. Sometimes seizures are the result of a cocaine overdose. A person using a high dose of cocaine could also have a stroke or heart attack. 

An overdose happens when a person takes too much cocaine or a more concentrated dose of cocaine than they are used to. ]Overdose can also happen during hot weather. This is because dehydration increases the effects of cocaine. If a person is knowingly or unknowingly using cocaine alongside other substances, they run the risk of reactions that will lead to overdose. 

Common cocaine overdose symptoms are: 

  • Muscle tremors
  • Excessive talking
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Restless behavior
  • Visible excitement
  • Enlarged pupils that don’t respond to light
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Pale skin
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fever

If you believe someone has overdosed, the first thing you should do is call 911. While you wait for help to arrive, try to keep the person awake. Talk to the person or appropriately use physical touch to help them remain conscious. If a person passes out, make sure to turn them on their side, so they do not choke on their own vomit. If needed, a qualified person should perform CPR.  

Get Treatment For Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine use disorder does not have to end in overdose or decreased wellness. People are able to recover and live fulfilling lives after cocaine use ends. The best part is, you don’t have to do it alone. The staff at Pinnacle Peak Recovery is ready to help you achieve your recovery goals. 

Pinnacle Peak utilizes evidence-based therapies combined with innovative treatments such as equine therapy, adventure therapy, and meditation. We work with you to create an individualized plan that will help you find success in your recovery journey. To learn more about how we help people achieve recovery, call Pinnacle Peak today at (866) 377-4761.

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FAQs About the Identification of Cocaine

What color is pure cocaine?

Pure cocaine is a white powder substance. Cocaine that is purchased illicitly is seldom pure. Those who sell cocaine often mix it with other white substances like sugar, baking soda, or flour to make it appear like there is more cocaine. 

What is the difference between cocaine and crack?

Cocaine and crack are the same substance. Cocaine is the name for the substance when it is in powder form, and crack is the name of the substance when it is in a hard rock form. The substances are ingested differently, but chemically, they are the same. 

How long does cocaine stay in a person’s system?

The time that cocaine stays in a person’s system varies due to a person’s size, health, and the quality and amount of cocaine being used. The way cocaine is used can also have an effect. On average, cocaine stays in a person’s system for one to four days. 

What does cocaine smell like?

The smell of cocaine changes due to many factors. It sometimes smells like the substance it has been cut with. Sometimes people describe it as smelling like gasoline. Others say it has a metallic smell. It is dangerous to smell cocaine because it can lead to accidental use. Therefore, it is not recommended that a person tries to smell cocaine. 

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