Cocaine is a white, crystalline-like powder that is derived from coca leaves. Cocaine base, commonly referred to as crack, looks like small, irregularly shaped white rocks. Street names for cocaine include coke, crack, crank, flake, rock, snow, and coca.

Cocaine, in powder form, is most often snorted. Cocaine base – crack, is smoked, either alone or on marijuana or tobacco. Cocaine is also used in combination with an opiate, like heroin, a practice known as speedballing. Cocaine can also be dissolved in water and injected directly into a vein or muscle. While injecting into veins or muscles, snorting, and smoking are the common ways of using cocaine, all mucous membranes in the body readily absorb cocaine

Cocaine users are typically binge users – they will use whatever amount they have with them until they are exhausted or use up the entire amount.

Cocaine affects the body in the following ways:

  • Smoking or injection creates an intense euphoric “rush”
  • Tolerance is easily built, which can result in overdosing
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate, cardiac arrhythmias
  • Single session heavy usage can result in stroke or cardiac arrest, leading to death
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Restlessness, irritability, anxiety, paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite

Cocaine users usually experience what is called a “crash” after use, which is characterized by mental and physical exhaustion and a depression that can last several days or until the person uses cocaine again. The dependence/addiction aspect of cocaine builds quickly, with abusers experiencing a craving to use cocaine again after the “crash.” Period.