Overview of Cocaine

Cocaine is an illegal stimulant that is used to increase alertness, feelings of euphoria, energy and motor activity. Cocaine is extremely addictive as well as very physically harmful to the body. Cocaine can be administered through rubbing of the substance on the gum line, snorting, inhalation, and injection. Crack is a type of processed cocaine that is made into a crystal that makes it possible to be smoked. Powdered cocaine is often diluted with other white powders and its purity has declined over the years. According to the DEA in 2011, the purity of cocaine was about 50% on average.

Immediate Effects of Cocaine

The use of cocaine results in increased alertness and feelings of euphoria. The “high” can last from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the type and method of administration. Some negative effects of cocaine use include the following:

  • Paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations.
  • Muscle spasms and convulsions.
  • Heart attacks and strokes from cocaine use can lead to sudden death.

Long Term Effects

Sustained cocaine use can result in depression and heavy users may develop suicidal thoughts. Chronic snorting or sniffing of cocaine can cause degradation of the cartilage separating the nostrils and eventually can cause the complete disappearance of the division. Other long-term effects include:

  • Irreversible damage to blood vessels in brain and heart.
  • Liver, kidney, and lung damage.
  • Sexual dysfunction.
  • Delirium or psychosis.


If you think you or a friend may have an issue with cocaine, call (530) 752-6334 or go to Health-e-messaging and log in to schedule an appointment with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Intervention Services Coordinator. There is no charge for the confidential appointment.