Cocaine FAQ

What is crack cocaine?

"Crack cocaine" is a mix of cocaine and baking powder (sodium bicarbonate) which comes as small lumps or 'rocks'. When smoked, the cocaine vapors reach the brain much quicker than snorting, producing an intense but short-lived euphoric rush and - very quickly - a compelling desire for more. Crack is also very harsh on the lungs.

Crack is highly addictive but one hit does not guarantee that you will addicted. For help with crack-cocaine addiction, visit our crack rehabilitation center directory.

What is freebasing?

Preparing pure cocaine ("base") for injecting or smoking, usually by dissolving and drawing out the impurities with a strong alkali. Freebasing is pretty dangerous as the chemicals involved are highly explosive and the process requires a lot of skill and specific equipment. Crack cocaine is a form of freebase.

Is it safe to mix cocaine with ecstasy and other party drugs?

There are no direct harmful interactions between cocaine and ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, mushrooms and other drugs you may find at a rave or in a club, but most drugs combined with cocaine will increase stress on the heart. If you are in bad shape, be careful.

You should also be aware that drinking cocaine and alcohol creates a metabolite called cocaethylene in the body, which is more toxic than both put together and can put more stress on the heart.


How much do you have to take before it destroys your nose?

Regular chronic (daily or heavy weekly) cocaine use will gradually collapse the septum, the thin membrane which divides the nostrils. The damage is irreversible.

Can cocaine be absorbed through the skin?

Yes, cocaine can be absorbed through the skin although most readily through exposed soft tissue and thin skins such as lips, gums, and eyes.

What is cocaine usually cut with?

Cocaine is most often cut with corn starch, vitamin c powder, sugar, talcum powder, Italian baby milk powder or local anesthetic (to simulate the numbing feeling). There's a myth that coke is regularly cut with anthrax, bleach or strychnine. This is not true.


How long does cocaine stay in your bloodstream?

Up to 72 hours.

What is a lethal dose of cocaine?

Much controversy surrounds this question. As little as 20 mg (substantially less than a single line) injected intravenously can be lethal while between 500mg and 1.4 g nasally or orally is considered dangerous. Purity, mixing with other substances (especially heroin), environment, and the individual are all factors.

I have heard of people rubbing it on their genitals to make sex better. Is this true? Does it work?

It is not recommended to rub cocaine on any exposed tissues or the mucous membranes of the genitals. It does have a pleasant numbing anesthetic effect but any adulterants in the powder may not interact so well.


I heard that the CIA was involved in cocaine smuggling. Is that really true?

In 1990, the CIA shipped a ton of nearly pure cocaine from Venezuela to the US in an incident that was regarded as "a serious accident rather than an intentional conspiracy." It's no secret that the US military and intelligence agencies funded the Contra opposition to Nicaragua's Sandinista regime with revenues from the cocaine trade. Some of this involvement can be ascribed to bribery, corruption and incompetence, the rest of it to complicity.

How many people use cocaine?

The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) reported that, in 1998, cocaine was used by 3.8 million Americans. Although cocaine use has not significantly changed over the last six years and "is still a threat to the United States," it is significantly less prevalent today than it was during the early 1980s. Cocaine use peaked in 1982 when 10.4 million Americans (5.6% of the population) reportedly used cocaine.

Is cocaine dangerous to use during pregnancy?

Yes. cocaine enters the bloodstream of the developing fetus and has the potential to affect a baby's development. The 'crack baby' has been a frequent story in the press, particularly in the US.

Recent studies have challenged the idea that cocaine is responsible for the birth of underdeveloped, handicapped babies (see here for more details) but obviously taking any drug which will be passed on to the fetus has potential to be very dangerous/


Is there any proof that cocaine can lead to a decrease in the size of your genitalia or is this just a myth?

Cocaine often has the reverse effect, increasing sexual desire while impairing or delaying orgasm. However, a symptom of heavy cocaine abuse is a massive decline in sex drive and activity. Basically it depends on how much you're using it.

What exactly is the dosage for coke?

A line of cocaine is usually around 50-75mg, so visually, 5% of a gram. Some users, however, prefer much fatter lines. The picture here of a gram of cocaine should give you a clue.

I was wondering about the dangers and realities of smoking powder cocaine.. Is this what they call free-basing?

Powdered cocaine can be smoked but it is a very inefficient way of ingestion. Cocaine hydrochloride tends to burn rather than vaporise in high temperatures so the results are weak and unpleasant. This is why freebasing was developed. Freebasing is preparing pure cocaine ("base") for injecting or smoking, usually by dissolving and drawing out the impurities with a strong alkali. Freebasing is pretty dangerous as the chemicals involved are highly explosive and the process requires a lot of skill and specific equipment. Crack cocaine is a cruder form of freebase made with sodium bicarbonate.


Is it possible to test positive for cocaine just from handling or being around others using it?

While you can pick up traces of cocaine from bags, bank notes, and other people's hands, it is unlikely that these traces could enter your bloodstream and be detected on a drug test.

Will one time experiment use of cocaine make you addicted?

One single use of cocaine will not make you an addict. Nor will two or three times. However, cocaine addiction is a gradual and insidious process. If there's availability and you can afford it, it is not difficult for regular recreational use to descend into habitual abuse. See our section on cocaine addiction and tolerance for more information. Addicted users seeking help should review our cocaine rehab facilities directory.

Can one time moderate use of cocaine lead to permanent brain damage memory problems and cognitive impairment?

One time use of cocaine will not cause permanent brain damage or memory impairment. Even long term addicts suffering from cocaine psychosis and a host of negative physical effects fully recover if they can shake off the addiction.

Some resources that may be useful:


What is an eight-ball of cocaine?

An 8-ball is one eight of an ounce of cocaine, approximately 3.5 grams. This is a lot of cocaine for one person, enough to overdose on. So be careful.

Four years ago, I was a regular cocaine user before I started having very serious nasal allergy and some breathing problems. Is the drug responsible?

Chronic nasal cocaine use (daily or heavy weekly) may cause nasal problems - sinusitis, irritation and bleeding of the nasal membranes or worse, a perforated nasal septum (the membrane which divides the two nostrils). However, only smoking crack cocaine and inhaling its harsh smoke is implicated in lung problems.

It could be that you have sustained some nasal damage. It would be best to talk to your doctor or find a doctor you feel you can talk to, who can also examine your nose to see if there is any damage.

I take both Prozac and Wellbutrin daily - what will happen if I do cocaine while on these medications?

We are not sure. Prozac has no reported history of negative interactions with cocaine. Wellbutrin suppresses dopamine release in the brain, the main neurotransmitter at the root of the cocaine effect. It is actually given to cocaine addicts to help ease cocaine craving so it may in fact suppress cocaine's effects.

One thing you should be concerned about: the cocaine high is always followed by a cocaine crash, which gets progressively worse the more you use cocaine. If you are already being treated for depression or similar condition, you may find this crash very uncomfortable and unpleasant.

My sister has been using cocaine & ecstasy at the same time and recently her doctor has put her on Zoloft for depression not knowing of the drug problem. Is this a dangerous combination?

There are no direct physical dangers from mixing Zoloft and Ecstasy (MDMA). Zoloft (or to use its chemical name, Sertraline) is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), the same class of anti-depressants as Prozac (Flouxetine), Celexa (Citalopram Hydrobromide), Luvox (Fluvoxamine), and Paxil (Paroxetine). These chemicals will actually reduce or even completely eliminate the effects of Ecstasy when the two are taken together. Also, Celexa in particular is sometimes used to treat cocaine-dependency and may reduce cocaine effects and craving.

Cocaine works on the dopamine system in the brain to produce its effects and MDMA has no direct effect on this system, although dopamine does play a role in the MDMA effect. Cocaine, however, does increase heart-rate and blood pressure which may cause physical problems in an unfit person.

Perhaps more importantly, long term, both cocaine and ecstasy cause significant crashes and depression after use, in different ways. There are consistent reports, both anecdotal and scientific, that constant or binge ecstasy use is linked to depressed mood. Cocaine causes noticeable mood-swings and crashes on a next few days basis for occasional users, and long-term mood problems for chronic users. Using both on a regular basis is likely to exacerbate her depression.

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