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Cocaine Facts

Information about Powdered Cocaine

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This is a photo of cocaine hydrochloride powder, a common form of cocaine.

This is a photo of cocaine hydrochloride powder, a common form of cocaine.

US Drug Enforcement Agency
What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is benzoylmethyl ecgonine, a crystalline alkaloid from the coca plant. It acts as a stimulant, appetite suppressant, and anesthetic. Crack cocaine is another form of cocaine. I have made a separate fact sheet for crack, a derivative of cocaine hydrochloride.

What Does Cocaine Look Like?

Powdered cocaine is a fine white powder. Street cocaine is cut with other substances to increase profit, so its appearance may be slightly different, depending on the type of impurity.

How Is Powdered Cocaine Used?

Powdered cocaine is most commonly snorted through the nose, though it may be dissolved in water and injected. Snorted cocaine produces a high within 3-5 minutes after use. Injected cocaine produces an effect within 15-30 seconds. Crack cocaine usually is smoked.

Why Do People Use Cocaine?

Cocaine is used because it produces euphoria, is a stimulant, suppresses appetite, and can be used as a pain reliever. It is highly addictive and leads to tolerance sometimes after one use, so increasing doses of cocaine are needed to achieve a high.

What Are the Effects of Cocaine Use?

Users typically feel a 'rush' followed by a sense of alertness and well-being. Cocaine increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is associated with pleasure and increased movement. When the pleasant effects of cocaine wear off users may feel 'down' or depressed, more than before taking the drug. Some users report being unable to duplicate the intensity of the first exposure with subsequent use. The stimulant effects of cocaine can lead users to feel anxious, restless, and irritable.

What Are the Risks of Using Cocaine?

Cocaine is highly addictive. Cocaine users are at risk for dangerously elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature, risk of seizure, stroke, and cardiac arrest. Injecting cocaine can involve a risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases.

Where Does Cocaine Come From?

Cocaine is derived from a paste from the coca plant, a species which grows in South America.

Street Names for Cocaine

Blow
C
Nose Candy
Powder
Nose Powder
White Powder
Aspirin
Aunt
Birdie Powder
Bolivian Marching Powder
Bouncing Powder
Candy Sugar
Devil's Dandruff
Fast White Lady
Flake
Flave
Foolish Powder
Friskie Powder
Joy Powder
Marching Powder
Pariba
Powder Diamonds
Shake
Shrile
Snowball
Soft
Star-Spangled Powder
Sugar Boogers
Uptown
White Boy
White Dragon
Yao

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