Effects of Cocaine

Alcohol & Other Drugs

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that ups your levels of alertness, attention, and energy. You may hear it called a stimulant. It’s made from the coca plant, which is native to South America. It’s illegal in the U.S. Other names for it include:

  • Coke

  • Snow

  • Rock

  • Blow

  • Crack

It comes in a few different forms. The most common is a fine, white powder. It can also be made into a solid rock crystal.

Most cocaine users snort the white powder into their nose. Some rub it onto their gums or dissolve it in water and inject it with a needle. Others heat up the rock crystal and breathe the smoke into their lungs.

How It Works

The drug sends high levels of dopamine, a natural chemical messenger in your body, into the parts of your brain that control pleasure. This buildup causes intense feelings of energy and alertness called a high.

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Other short-term effects of cocaine may include:

  • Extreme sensitivity to touch, sound, and sight

  • Intense happiness

  • Anger/irritability

  • Paranoid feeling

  • Decreased appetite

People who use cocaine often may also have more serious side effects and health problems, like:

  • Headaches

  • Convulsions and seizures

  • Heart disease, heart attack, and stroke

  • Mood problems

  • Sexual trouble

  • Lung damage

  • HIV or hepatitis if you inject it

  • Bowel decay if you swallow it

  • Loss of smell, nosebleeds, runny nose, and trouble swallowing, if you snort it

You may have strong cravings for the drug and the high it brings. But the more you use cocaine, the more  your brain will adapt to it. You’ll need a stronger dose to feel the same high. This can lead to a dangerous addiction or overdose.

Stronger, more frequent doses can also cause long-term changes in your brain’s chemistry. Your body and mind begin to rely on the drug. This can make it harder for you to think, sleep, and recall things from memory. Your reaction time may be slower. And you’re at risk for more heart, stomach, and lung problems.

Resources:  webmd

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