Can You Overdose On Cocaine?

cocaine overdose

In the U.S. there are about 1.5 million current cocaine users aged 12 or older. Adults 18-25 years old have a higher rate of current use than any other group by age, with 1.4% of young adults reporting cocaine use within the past month. (1) If you or someone you know uses cocaine, you may have wondered about the potential for overdose. The fact is that cocaine overdose is a very real danger. Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. Whether it is snorted, smoked, or injected, the risk of overdose and even death is real. In fact, almost 15,000 people a year in the U.S. die as a result of a cocaine overdose. (2)

Here are some signs of cocaine overdose to watch for:

Physical symptoms may include:

  • Chest pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Nausea and stomach cramps
  • Confusion, seizures, tremors
  • Increased sweating, body temperature, or heart rate

Psychological symptoms can include:

  • Extreme nervousness or anxiety
  • Delirium
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Cocaine Overdose May Cause Heart Attack

Cocaine overdose can often lead to a heart attack, which is one of the most common causes of death in a cocaine overdose. Other fatal consequences may include stroke or seizure. Cocaine is obviously especially risky for anyone who already suffers from heart disease or a heart condition of any kind. Someone who is predisposed to seizures can be at exceptional risk too.

Mixing Cocaine with Other Substances

Cocaine is often consumed with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants like opioids or benzodiazepines. These can actually increase the risk of fatality contrary to what some believe. There is a twofold risk. The first major risk factor comes from the fact that the effects of a CNS depressant can make a person less aware of some of the cocaine’s effects. This can prompt them to use even more than they might ordinarily. The second major factor comes from the interaction of cocaine with other substances in the body. The combination of cocaine and alcohol is both the most common and perhaps one of the most dangerous. When alcohol and cocaine combine in the body, they form a third chemical called cocaethylene, which extends the duration of cocaine euphoria, but is also incredibly toxic to the body. The psychoactive nature of cocaethylene didn’t even begin to be studied until the 1990s. (3)

It’s no mystery that cocaine use is dangerous. Some people find a false sense of security if they begin a cocaine habit that isn’t daily in the beginning. Perhaps they only use it on weekends. They never use it alone. They have heard that there aren’t any “real” physical withdrawal symptoms, like alcohol or opiates. These are all incredibly dangerous misconceptions that have lead many people to the gates of delirium and even death. Cocaine use is serious. Cocaine addiction costs people their livelihoods, their families, and sometimes even their lives.

If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine use, don’t wait. It is never too soon to seek help for yourself or someone else. Millions of people have recovered from cocaine addiction successfully. You are welcome to contact us to discuss the treatment options for cocaine addiction or ask any questions you may have about recovery.


What Is Cocaine Cut With?

What Is Cocaine Cut With? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

What is cocaine cut with? – Cocaine, as found on the street, is typically cut with a variety of adulterants, including, but not limited to, caffeine, creatine, laundry detergent, local anesthetics such as benzocaine, lidocaine, and novocaine, fentanyl, boric acid, mannitol, levamisole, and phenacetin.

Currently, it is very difficult to find 100% pure cocaine. Most of the time, cocaine, as purchased on the street, is cut with many adulterants. This technique is often used to expand the product and increase the profits of dealers. Cocaine itself is very dangerous, but many of the agents used to cut it have adverse effects of their own, many of which can be life-threatening.

Common Adulterants in Cocaine

There are a variety of additives that may be cut into cocaine, and some are more harmful than others. Common cutting agents that are relatively benign include caffeine, creatine, laxatives, and laundry detergent.

While some are not particularly dangerous, these agents can make a user more anxious, especially caffeine, which can increase heart rate and blood pressure. When combined with cocaine, this can lead to intense feelings of unease, anxiety, and panic.

And unfortunately, some cutting agents are much more dangerous and can be very toxic. When cut into coke, these drugs can cause an adverse reaction in many users, some of which have the potential to result in death.


Benzocaine is an anesthetic used by dentists and is commonly used as a cocaine cutting agent because it has a similar numbing effect, and it is relatively inexpensive. It is also found in the form of a white powder, so it is easy to lace into cocaine.

Those who ingest coke cut with benzocaine are at risk for severe health complications. These include a life-threatening disorder known as methemoglobinemia. This condition involves the incurrence of abnormal levels of hemoglobin in the bloodstream. As this occurs, less and less oxygen becomes available to various tissues, and eventually, the tissues will begin to die.

If hemoglobin levels rise above 15%, the individual will encounter cardiac and neurological symptoms. The condition becomes fatal if levels reach 70% or higher.

Boric Acid

Like benzocaine, when mixed with pure cocaine, boric acid enhances the drug’s anesthetic effects. It also looks like cocaine crystals, so it’s easy to conceal its presence. But boric acid is a dangerous toxin, and in fact, it is sometimes used in the manufacturing of ant and rodent pesticides.

Due to its poisoning nature, the ingestion of large amounts of boric acid can result in death. It can cause many neurological and physical disorders and is considered to be one of the most hazardous cutting agents to be found in cocaine.


What Is Cocaine Cut With? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Fentanyl is a highly-potent opioid up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Its use has been related to thousands of deaths in the last few years, as it’s commonly found combined with heroin, meth, cocaine, and other drugs.

Illicit fentanyl is quite inexpensive to manufacture and obtain, and for this reason, it has become extremely popular with dealers intent on increasing profits. Unfortunately, a tiny amount can result in a life-threatening overdose. When fentanyl is combined with cocaine, the latter is probably the least of a user’s worries.


Levamisole is prescribed by doctors and veterinarians to kill parasitic worms. Levamisole may be used as a cutting agent because it increases dopamine levels in the brain, thus enhancing the overall euphoric effects of ingesting cocaine.

However, this drug can also cause agranulocytosis, a disease that will destroy all white blood cells in the body. Without these vital blood cells, the body becomes very vulnerable to a wide variety of adverse effects and disorders. When faced with this condition, death can occur from even minor injuries or infections.

Lidocaine and Novacaine

Lidocaine and novocaine are common local anesthetics, and its numbing effects have made it an ideal cutting agent for cocaine. Unfortunately, cocaine and lidocaine tend to amplify the effects of each other and can result in acute toxicity, convulsions, and seizures.

Cocaine, when combined with either lidocaine or novocaine, can also cause heart problems, such as arrhythmia, as well as confusion and drowsiness. Users may also encounter blurred vision. Some of these symptoms are temporary, but their intensity can become worse over time with continued cocaine abuse.


Mannitol can be used to cut both heroin and cocaine. It is a diuretic commonly prescribed to reduce swelling and pressure inside the eye or around the brain. It is also an anticaking agent that can keep substances in a powdered form. It can be dangerous and addictive, however, and can lead to health complications in those who are allergic to it or have a history of heart disease or failure.


Phenacetin was once a popularly used painkiller but was removed from the market due to reports of adverse effects and reactions. Most significantly, it has been found to be a carcinogen and can lead to loss of consciousness, low blood pressure, heart failure, and death.

Pure Cocaine and Its Effects

What Is Cocaine Cut With? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

As noted, it is not easy to find 100% pure cocaine on the streets. Those who do succeed are probably going to pay double or triple the price of adulterated cocaine. Because it is more potent, pure cocaine is also more dangerous and more likely to cause an overdose or heart damage.

Indeed, users who ingest pure cocaine when they accustomed to using adulterated drugs may be more vulnerable to overdose. Moreover, their tolerance level isn’t enough to handle the additional potency, and this can lead to cardiac arrest and death.

But regardless of whether a user is snorting pure or buffered cocaine, either scenario can be extremely dangerous. The chemical effects of either form can cause permanent damage to the body, especially when it is ingested for a prolonged period. Long-term addicts will also likely encounter more intense withdrawals and more severe side effects.

Why Cocaine Is Addictive

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant derived from the coca plant native to South America. When ingested, it increases the feel-good chemical dopamine in the brain, resulting in increased energy, euphoria, and feelings of reward and well-being. Over time, repeated use result in the brain’s inability to produce dopamine on its own without the presence of cocaine. Extended abstinence from the drug, however, will usually reverse this problem.

Due to cocaine’s brief effects, users often consume it in a binge-like fashion. This pattern of use will eventually result in increased tolerance and some level of chemical dependence that results in withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation of use. When these conditions manifest, a person will be vulnerable to losing all control over cocaine use and will continue to do so despite the incurrence of adverse consequences.

Getting Help for Cocaine Addiction

An addiction to cocaine can be devastating to a person’s life and can lead to overdose and other life-threatening complications. Fortunately, this disorder is very treatable, and many people have overcome their need to use cocaine and have gone on to live happy, healthy, and productive lives.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers comprehensive treatment programs tailored to each person’s individual needs. We provide a wide variety of therapeutic services, including behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, and experiential activities such as art and music therapy.

Are you struggling with a cocaine use disorder, or does someone you love suffer from this condition? If so, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options and take the first step in seeking long-term recovery.

We are dedicated to helping each person who is suffering from addiction to reclaim the life they deserve and enjoy long-lasting sobriety and wellness!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: How to Come Down From Coke Use

How Long Does Crack Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Crack Stay in Your System? | Midwood Addiction

Crack cocaine is a powerful stimulant that produces a brief high, with a half-life of only around 15 minutes. There are, however, several factors that can affect how long crack cocaine can be identified in a person’s system using the following drug tests:

Crack can be detected in the blood up to two to 12 hours after use. This is the drug screening method least likely to detect crack use unless blood is tested within a few hours of use. 

Crack can be identified in hair follicles for up to three months after use, sometimes longer. Because hair grows slowly, crack and its metabolites can be detected in follicles for a prolonged period after the use. 

Crack cocaine can be detected in the urine between 1-4 days after use. In some cases, it may be detected several weeks after its use if a person has been using it for a prolonged period.

Crack can be identified in saliva for up to 24 hours after use. Like blood testing, saliva samples yield a relatively short window of time for detection. 

Powdered cocaine is a very dangerous drug, but crack, a less pure form of cocaine, has the potential to pose even more problems for users. The drug induces a rapid and intense high but can cause addiction and remain traceable in the body for a prolonged period. 

What Is Crack?

Crack is a form of cocaine in which the hydrochloride is removed, causing the drug to become more potent and take on a rock crystal form. Crack is also known as freebase cocaine, and it is typically smoked through a pipe. When heated, the rock produces a cracking sound, and this is the reason its name. As noted, crack is a stimulant, that, when used, increases activity in the central nervous system (CNS) and leads to heightened energy and euphoria.

Crack’s Effect on the Body

Like all addictive drugs, crack works by interfering with neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, which is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. Using crack causes dopamine to accumulate, which will result in the user experiencing pleasure rapidly.

Over time and with repeated use, the body will become dependent on crack. Once dependence develops, the person will experience highly unpleasant symptoms when they try to quit. For this reason, many users find it nearly impossible to quit and will relapse to avoid withdrawal. 

This is why drug use tends to escalate and frequently becomes out of control. What’s more, the user will find that he or she needs to use the drug in increasing amounts to achieve the desired effect—a condition known as tolerance.

As a stimulant, crack causes body mechanisms to accelerate. People under the influence of crack tend to speak rapidly and appear to be animated, jumpy, and twitchy. The drug also affects the speed of a person’s heart rate, which can be dangerous. As the body begins to rid itself of crack, the user often experiences a “crash” or “come down” and becomes depressed, agitated, and tired. 

How Long Does Crack Stay in Your System? | Midwood Addiction

Crack produces a number of acute effects, which also includes impaired judgment, hallucinations, and sleep disturbances. However, long-term crack use can also lead to many chronic health conditions, such as cognitive decline and damage to the CNS.

Since crack is usually smoked, it is rapidly absorbed into the lungs. The high that crack produces is sometimes only five to 10 minutes long, and its half-life (the time required for the body to eliminate half of the drug) is also brief. However, the duration that crack and its metabolites remain in the body is influenced by several factors, including the following:

  • Liver function
  • Duration of use
  • Average amount of drug used
  • Food and water consumption

  • Use of other drugs or alcohol
  • Overall health
  • Height and weight
  • Body fat percentage

Since each individual who uses crack has unique factors and differing histories of drug use, it is not possible to determine precisely how long the drug can remain detectable. For this reason, the above factors need to be taken into consideration.

Getting Help for Addiction

An addiction to cocaine or crack cocaine can be a very severe and life-threatening condition. It is very treatable, however, and many people have gotten help and gone on to lead healthy and productive lives. Our centers offer integrated, personalized programs, therapies, and activities clinically-proven to be indispensable for the recovery process.

Using approaches such as behavioral therapy and counseling, clients are able to uncover and examine the underlying issues that contribute to their addiction. They are also taught how to identify problematic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and replace them with new ones that elicit positive change.

If you are addicted to crack, please know you don’t have to suffer alone. Contact us today and find out how we can give you the tools and support you need to recover!

Injecting Cocaine: Knowing the Risks

Injecting Cocaine: Knowing the Risks

Injecting cocaine is very risky and can result in a myriad of adverse effects. Although it’s more commonly snorted as a white powder or smoked (crack cocaine), it can be diluted and injected similarly to heroin.

Cocaine is a stimulant drug, meaning that when a person ingests it, he or she will feel energetic, euphoric, and may stay awake for a prolonged period. It is derived from the coca plant native to South America. It has been classified as a Schedule II drug in the U.S., meaning that it has some limited medical purpose but also a high potential for abuse.

Cocaine is also often combined with other substances, which can range from relatively benign household products, like flour or cornstarch, to hazardous chemicals or other substances, such as heroin. Cocaine is often laced with other ingredients because it allows dealers to make a greater profit on a smaller amount of the drug.

When a person uses cocaine, the high is typically intense but also very brief. For this reason, cocaine is often used in a binge-like pattern repeated over the course of several hours in an attempt to sustain the high. Cocaine produces a high by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for feelings and well-being, such as dopamine.

There are two main versions of cocaine: water-soluble hydrochloride salt and another called freebase, which is not water-soluble. The hydrochloride salt can be snorted or injected. The base form of cocaine is processed with baking soda or ammonia and water and then heated, which produces a substance that can be smoked—widely known as crack.

Injecting Cocaine

Cocaine use in and of itself is risky, but injecting is the riskiest form of abuse. IV drug use is dangerous because it’s more likely that this behavior will develop into an addiction, and it can also lead to severe mental and physical side effects.

When you smoke cocaine, you get the fastest effects, but some people prefer shooting up cocaine because it gives a more intense high. Most people who inject cocaine do so to achieve a more intense high, or they have built up a tolerance to other methods and can no longer experience the effects they once did.

When injecting cocaine, it must first be dissolved in a water solution, and then it can be shot directly into the body, usually into a vein. It can also be injected just under the skin (subcutaneous) but not into a vein, using a method known as “skin popping.”

Some of the psychoemotional side effects of injecting cocaine include aggression, paranoia, depression, fatigue, suicidal ideations or behaviors, and confusion. The high may be more intense and rapid than other methods of administration, but the crash or “come down” is often more severe, as well.

Injecting Cocaine: Knowing the Risks

Other short-term effects of cocaine include the following:

  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Elevated mood
  • Feelings of grandiosity
  • Excited, rapid speech
  • Dilated pupils

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

Although injecting cocaine is the riskiest method, ingesting cocaine in other ways can cause similar side effects. When a person develops a dependence on a drug like cocaine, their brain has adapted to operate normally within the context of the drug’s presence, and discontinuing use abruptly will result in unpleasant withdrawal effects.

When a person injects cocaine, there are other risks in addition to the general risks of the drug itself, many of which are related to administering multiple injections. This can cause blood vessel linings to deteriorate and collapse, as well as skin sores, abscesses, and infections.

Also, when cocaine is acquired on the black market, it often frequently includes adulterants, which can cause residue to accumulate along the blood vessel passages. When this occurs, injecting cocaine can result in cardiac problems, and there is also a risk of encountering infections, such as hepatitis C and HIV, particularly if needles were shared with someone else.

Getting Help for Cocaine Abuse

Using cocaine is never a good idea, and if you are planning on trying to inject it, you should think twice. Injecting cocaine repeatedly will likely lead to increased tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Escalating drug use is not the answer, and if you need help with an addiction, instead you should seek out professional treatment.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers a modern, evidence-based approach to the treatment of addiction as well as co-occurring mental health disorders. Our programs, which include detox, partial hospitalization, and outpatient treatment, are comprised of a variety of services essential for the recovery process.

Recovery is a life-long endeavor, but thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please contact us today and learn how we can help!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: How to Come Down From Coke Use

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms – While cocaine withdrawal may not be as severe as withdrawal from other drugs or alcohol, it does come with unique challenges. Withdrawal from some substances, such as benzodiazepines and alcohol, can cause intense or even life-threatening physical symptoms. Cocaine withdrawal, however, manifests mostly psychological symptoms.

List of Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal may include the following:

  • Concentration difficulties
  • Slowed thinking
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Restlessness and tremors

  • Chills and muscle aches
  • Diminished libido
  • Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
  • Depression or anxiety

  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Vivid dreams and nightmares
  • Increased appetite
  • Cravings for cocaine

When Is a Clinical Detox Necessary?

Although a cocaine detox may be performed on an outpatient basis, medical detox may be advised in some cases. If an individual has encountered a relapse during a previous detox attempt, the 24-hour supervision offered by a medical detox can be beneficial.

Also, if the person using experiences any co-occurring mental health conditions, medical detox should be followed by comprehensive addiction treatment that can effectively address both withdrawal symptoms and mental health concerns.

Among the more worrisome effects associated with acute stimulant withdrawal are depression and an increased risk of suicide. Individuals who attempt to discontinue cocaine use after addiction has developed can experience severe depression and pronounced mood swings, including suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Through regular cocaine abuse, the brain grows accustomed to consistently elevated dopamine activity caused by the drug. Over time, the brain’s reward and pleasure centers are disrupted and become less vulnerable to the excess dopamine.

At this point, the user often requires increasing amounts of cocaine to feel the desired effect. Without it, they may feel profounded depressed and dissatisfied with life. Moreover, if someone has a history of depression or suicidal ideations, a clinical detox is usually advised to ensure that the person is safe and emotionally supported during the withdrawal process.

Withdrawal Timeline

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Short-term cocaine withdrawal symptoms tend to resolve in about 7-10 days. However, as with many substances, cravings may persist for a prolonged period and could manifest suddenly, even years after a person has achieved abstinence.

Cocaine has a very short half-life and among those with dependence, withdrawal symptoms can onset as soon as 90 minutes following the last dose. The timeline and duration of withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the individual.

The following are factors that may influence the timeline for cocaine withdrawal symptoms:

Duration of Use and Average Amount Administered

Those who use cocaine for a brief period may experience withdrawal symptoms that are also short in duration. Conversely, those who have used cocaine for years may encounter lingering withdrawal symptoms for weeks, in part due to an accumulation of the drug in their systems.

Also, people who have used excessive amounts of cocaine may endure more intense withdrawal symptoms than someone who has historically administered lower doses.

Polysubstance Abuse and Dependence

A person who has formed a dependence on two or more drugs may experience withdrawal symptoms associated with both, possibly complicating the timeline of withdrawal and making the experience worse for the person who is detoxing.


If cocaine was consumed as a means of escaping from a stressful environment, new stress might trigger the urge to use again. Moreover, environmental factors that cause stress, such as relationship problems or work difficulties may produce strong cravings for cocaine. This added stress can impede the psychological process of detox and withdrawal.

Co-occurring Medical Conditions or Mental Health Disorders

If a person experiences co-occurring medical conditions, such as heart disease, or mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression, the withdrawal process from cocaine is likely to be more severe and complicated.

Treatment for Cocaine Withdrawal

Unfortunately, unlike narcotics, other central nervous system depressants, or alcohol, there is no prescription drug currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cocaine withdrawal. However, some medications may help people by mitigating both acute and long-term withdrawal symptoms.

For example, pharmaceuticals indicated to treat depression and anxiety may be helpful for those undergoing cocaine withdrawal, as they work well to stabilize the patient’s mood and improve outcomes. Such medications tend to be particularly beneficial for people whose withdrawal symptoms persist longer than a week.

Following detox, patients are strongly advised to undergo intensive addiction treatment in either a partial hospitalization or outpatient program. While there, patients can take advantage of integrated, evidence-based treatments, such as behavioral therapy, counseling, peer group support, and psychoeducation.

Studies have shown that programs that meet these conditions result in better outcomes for those seeking to defeat addiction. Recovery By The Sea offers these services, which are managed by medical and mental health professionals who specialize in addiction.

You can restore harmony and wellness to your life, free of drugs and alcohol! Call us today and learn how we can help!

Long-Term Cocaine Effects on the Body and Brain

Cocaine Effects on the Body and Brain | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Long-Term Cocaine Effects on the Body and Brain – The long-term abuse of cocaine, a potent stimulant drug, can result in a myriad of physical and emotional problems. Sometimes, it is possible to reverse the damage done to the brain and body via cocaine addiction – however, years of abuse may cause permanent effects. Treating chronic conditions related to this disease can lead to a lifetime of medical complications, hospital and doctor visits, and medical bills.

Long-term Cocaine Effects

Cardiovascular Damage

Immediate side effects from cocaine and crack include increased blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and vasoconstriction in the brain and body. Chronic abuse of both forms of cocaine can damage the cardiovascular system in several ways, including the following:

  • Blood clots resulting in heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis
  • Chest pain from tightening of the vessels
  • Myocardial infarction, or the destruction of the heart muscle due to a lack of oxygen related to reduced blood flow
  • Permanently elevated blood pressure
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heart rate)

Cardiac arrest is the leading instigator of death among those who abuse cocaine. One report revealed that heart attacks accounted for 25% of deaths among people ages 18-45 who have abused cocaine or crack.

Damage to the Nose and Mouth

Snorting cocaine causes damage directly to the mucous membranes in the nose. Drier environments and decreased blood flow allow the soft tissues in the nose to deteriorate and die. The cartilage lining between nasal cavities (the septum) will then be exposed, and it too will eventually die, resulting in a hole.

Many people who battle with cocaine addiction develop septal perforations, which can lead to a collapse of the nose structure and breathing problems. Sometimes, this problem can be corrected with plastic surgery, but not always.

A similar process can transpire in the mouth’s upper palate. Palatal perforations are not as prevalent as septal perforations, but they can occur are a result of long-term abuse.

Respiratory and Pulmonary Damage

Snorting cocaine can produce mucous membrane damage through the sinus cavity that eventually moves to the throat and upper respiratory system. Smoking crack, however, is more likely to result in serious respiratory problems. As blood vessels in the lungs constrict, alveolar walls are destroyed so that it is more difficult for oxygen to enter the bloodstream.

A chronic cough, a higher risk of infections such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, acute respiratory distress, asthma, and pulmonary edema are all linked to freebasing cocaine. People who chronically abuse crack can develop “crack lung,” or eosinophilic pneumonitis, which may also include symptoms such as black sputum, wheezing sounds, and pain.

Brain Damage

Cocaine Effects on the Body and Brain | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Both cocaine and crack can cause brain damage, even when used for a relatively short period. Damage to brain structures can trigger addiction, a chronic disease associated with chemical interference in the brain’s reward circuits and the dopamine system.

Abusing cocaine can result in other kinds of long-term damage as well. For example, the consistent constriction of blood vessels can decrease the amount of oxygen received by the brain, which can also cause brain damage. Additionally, it raises the risk of an aneurysm due to damage to the vascular walls that feed the brain.

Further brain damage from cocaine or crack may include the following:

  • Mini-strokes, or transient ischemic attacks
  • Seizures
  • Brain shrinkage
  • Cerebral vasculitis (inflammation of blood vessels in the brain or spinal column)
  • Hyperpyrexia (extremely high fever that requires medical attention)
  • Changes to temporal and prefrontal lobe functioning, which impairs problem-solving, decision-making, spatial understanding, vocabulary, learning, attention, and memory
  • Changes to neurotransmitter creation and absorption, which can cause mood disorders
  • Tremors and changes in gait

Also, cocaine ages the brain, so the risk of dementia increases. Long-term memory impairments can turn into conditions mimicking Alzheimer’s disease. People who are at a heightened risk of developing dementia are more likely to trigger this condition earlier in life when they abuse cocaine for an extended period.

If the linings of the arteries and veins are damaged, cocaine effects can reduce the flow of blood to the brain, causing chronic headaches. This damage can also produce blood clots, which can result in a stroke. The drug can also induce seizures, either during a binge or following chronic abuse, or cause a seizure disorder to develop, which will require long-term treatment.

Gastrointestinal Damage

Due to reduced blood flow throughout the body, several organ systems, such as the stomach and intestines, can be indirectly damaged over time. Short-term undesirable cocaine effects include abdominal pain, suppressed appetite, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Over time, these side effects can become permanent, leading to necrotic bowel or death of vital tissues in the gastrointestinal system.

People who struggle with cocaine addiction are also more likely to develop ulcers due to changes in the stomach’s pH level. Additionally, cocaine abuse can result in the development of ischemic colitis, which is inflammation and injury of the large intestine. This condition can cause severe digestive disorders and even lead to death.

Liver Damage

Chronic cocaine abuse indicates a higher risk of overdose, which can lead to liver injury, as the body is overwhelmed with toxins that the liver cannot filter out. While most damage to the liver will resolve if the person recovers from the overdose and they overcome cocaine addiction, there have, unfortunately, been fatalities due to acute cocaine-related liver damage.

Long-term liver damage is more likely to occur if the user mixes cocaine with alcohol, a combination that prompts the liver to produce cocaethylene. This chemical enhances the depressant effects of alcohol and causes an increase in aggression, stress on the heart, and damage to the liver.

Kidney Damage

Chronic cocaine use can cause damage to the kidneys in two ways. First, permanently raised blood pressure results in kidney damage due to loss of blood flow. While many organ systems are damaged by a lack of oxygen and high blood pressure, the kidneys are particularly vulnerable.

Second, long-term cocaine abuse can lead to rhabdomyolysis – the destruction of skeletal muscles. As these muscles deteriorate, toxins are released into the body, and eventually flood into the liver and kidneys. Kidney failure is a late-stage consequence of rhabdomyolysis.

Infectious Diseases

Cocaine Effects on the Body and Brain | Midwood Addiction Treatment

People who suffer from cocaine and crack addiction are more likely to contract certain infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis. Sometimes, this is due to the sharing of unsterile needles. More often, however, cocaine effects contribute to poor decision-making, increased risk-taking, impulsivity, and enhanced libido, which can lead to risky sexual encounters.

Additionally, cocaine abuse compromises the immune system, so diseases spread more rapidly through the body.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

While there are no medications currently indicated to treat cocaine addiction or withdrawal, it is still a very treatable condition. Frequently, this begins with a clinical detox and is closely followed by a transition to a partial hospitalization, inpatient, or outpatient addiction treatment program.

Our center offers an integrated, evidence-based approach to addiction treatment that includes behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support. Our center employs compassionate medical professionals and certified clinicians who specialize in addiction and provide clients with the skills they so desperately need to recover and enjoy long-lasting sobriety and wellness.

Please call us as soon as possible – we can help you reclaim your life and experience the happiness and harmony you deserve!

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your System?

How long does cocaine stay in your system? Cocaine can remain in the human body anywhere from 3-6 hours after the last dose is taken. Also, cocaine use produces a metabolite known as benzoylecgonine (BE), which can take up to two days to be fully eliminated from the body.

Research has shown that when a person uses cocaine, around 40 percent undergoes hydrolysis (merges with water) to produce benzoylecgonine. Another 40 percent is processed by the liver. Cocaine itself has a short half-life of about an hour, but the BE has a half-life of approximately six hours. –  

Factors That Effect How Long Cocaine Remains in the Body:

The higher the dose, the longer it takes to be completely expelled from the body. The manner in which the drug is delivered is also a factor.

Injecting cocaine will result in a fast, more intense high, but it also leaves the body more rapidly (the half-life is about five minutes, and clears the system in around 30.)

Snorting cocaine usually results in a high that persists for 10-30 minutes, taking no more than three hours to be fully expelled.

Smoking freebase cocaine, as opposed to other methods, extends the half-life to about 45 minutes and can take up to four hours for the drug to be cleared.

Oral ingestion can delay the high for an hour or so, and effects can last for two more hours after. Half-life is about an hour, and it may over five hours for the drug to be entirely expelled.

Long-term cocaine users may have a tendency to retain cocaine in their bodies for an extended period, initiating storage in fatty tissues. For this reason, detox can take longer and symptoms are often more severe.

Moreover, the longer the duration of cocaine use, the more difficult it is for their body to expel it – in essence, the body’s elimination process becomes less efficient over time and eventually loses functionality.

Purity level is also a factor – the purer the cocaine, the more potent the effects and the longer it will remain in a person’s system. A number of other determinants include, but are not limited to the following: metabolism, body mass, age, and pre-existing health conditions.

A Word About Drug Tests

Drug tests do not actually determine how long cocaine remains in a person’s system, but rather, toxicological methods may identify traces of cocaine use, in some cases, for up to three months.

For example, a blood test can detect cocaine in the human body for the first 24 hours, whereas a urine test can detect cocaine in the body from 2-30 days. Hair follicles can hold traces of cocaine use for up to three months.

Cocaine Excretion

Some research has found that the amount of the drug used can also be a determinant in how long cocaine metabolites (BE) persist in a user’s system. Other factors that can hinder the release of BE include:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Being overweight/obese
  • Inactivity/sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of hydration
  • Caffeine overuse

Cocaine Intoxication

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Retention of cocaine in the human body leads to cocaine intoxication, a condition that can result in adverse side effects in addition to the desired effects such as euphoria.

Cocaine use is deceptive, and users can still suffer from an overdose even after many of the effects seem to have worn off. Users often take successive doses mistakenly believing that because effects have abated that they are safe to use again.

Using consecutive doses of cocaine, however, puts the user at a heightened risk for overdose as the drug continues to build up in the system with each additional use.

Using an excessive amount of cocaine or taking it in a high concentration can produce the following adverse symptoms:

  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Chest pain/pressure
  • Elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity

An overdose can also result in muscle damage, kidney damage, brain hemorrhage, stroke, or respiratory failure, and sudden death due to organ failure.

If you or someone you know has recently used cocaine and appears experiencing any of the following symptoms, please call 911 immediately:

  • Dangerously high blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Extremely high body temperature
  • Extreme anxiety or confusion
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)

Mental Health Conditions

In addition to anxiety, high doses of cocaine can lead to other serious symptoms of mental illness, including depression/suicidal thoughts, mania, paranoia, and psychosis. Occasionally, psychiatric symptoms can arise in those engaging in much lower levels of cocaine use.

Street cocaine is often laced with other potentially life-threatening substances which can contribute to their own set of symptoms and unpredictable effects.

Takeaways: Individual factors and the properties of the cocaine being used help determine how long it will stay in the system. Any cocaine use in of itself is risky, but using several doses of cocaine in succession is especially dangerous because of continually rising levels of the drug.

Getting More Information
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.


Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

Cocaine is an illicit stimulant drug derived from the coca plant, which grows abundantly in parts of South America. Cocaine works by elevating the concentration of dopamine in the brain, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of euphoria, reward, and well-being. Because this high is so desirable, a cocaine user is at risk of an overdose to maintain it.

Also known on the street as ‘coke’ or ‘blow,’ cocaine resembles a white, talcum-like powder that is either snorted or mixed with water and injected intravenously. Cocaine is often perceived as a drug used by wealthy people, given its steep price.

Nonetheless, cocaine use is pervasive, and, after alcohol, accounts for the second most emergency room visits, eclipsing half a million cases per year.

In recent years, cocaine’s costliness, coupled with the surge in opioid abuse, has caused a decline in cocaine use. However, cocaine overdoses have steadily risen, owing to an increased propensity for drug users to mix cocaine with opioids. Over 7,000 cocaine overdose deaths were reported in 2015, and these numbers are predicted to rise.

A Word On Crack

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

Also, there has a been a rise in crack cocaine, a form of cocaine that is usually smoked and is less expensive. Crack is derived from powdered cocaine by diluting it with water and combining another substance, usually baking soda. The mixture is boiled and is formed into a solid, cooled, broken into pieces, and sold as crack.

Crack is found on the streets in a rock-like form that is generally white, cream, tan, or light brown. Crack’s high concentration contributes to its extremely addictive nature. Although relatively rare, it’s possible for a person to become addicted to crack after just a single use.

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

In most cases, symptoms of cocaine overdose are very pronounced versions of the drug’s standard effects. Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system, producing an exhilarating high, and an overdose will amplify effects to a level that the body may not be able to handle. This overstimulation can cause numerous symptoms, including the following:

  • Headaches
  • Chest pains
  • Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Twitching and tremors
  • Irritability or paranoia
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Stroke

The euphoria of cocaine can mask these symptoms, many of which can contribute to permanent damage. Severe cocaine abusers are at extreme risk for heart attacks, strokes, seizures, or even coma.

Cocaine Overdose Signs

If you suspect someone you know is on the verge of an overdose, there are several warning signs to look for, such as the following:

  • Elevated blood pressure and body temperature
  • Talkativeness and hyperactivity
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Excessive teeth grinding or chattering
  • Excessive sweating
  • Respiratory or kidney failure
  • Cerebral hypoxia
  • Cardiac arrest

Cocaine overdoses can devastate the human cardiovascular system. If you notice the aforementioned signs are present following cocaine use, it is critical to seek emergency medical help immediately.

How Much Cocaine is Too Much?

An overdose of cocaine usually transpires either because the user ingests too much in a single dose or because they continually use cocaine to maintain the euphoric high, which lasts less than an hour. The latter cause of overdose is often the most dangerous since the user doesn’t realize how much they’ve consumed until it’s too late.

The exact amount of cocaine required to precipitate an overdose varies depending on several risk factors. For example, if cocaine was taken alongside other substances such as alcohol or heroin, this is a significant factor that could contribute to an overdose, because the depressant effect of such substances can mask cocaine’s stimulant effects. Moreover, combining other stimulant drugs with cocaine only exacerbates cocaine’s adverse effects.

Beyond concurrent substance use, an individual’s body chemistry, tolerance level, and age play a role, as well as the method of administration used and the purity of the cocaine. Mixing cocaine with water then injecting it can produce a fatal reaction from just 20 mg in some cases while snorting the drug nasally usually requires much more.

In Case of Overdose

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

If you recognize these warning signs and symptoms in yourself or a loved one, call 911 or seek emergency medical care immediately.

Death from cocaine overdose can happen quickly, so time is always of the essence in these situations.

While waiting for emergency help to arrive, there are a few things one can do to help mitigate potentially life-threatening overdose symptoms, including the following:

  • Apply a cold compress to the head and neck to maintain body temperature
  • In case of seizure, clear the area of hard objects or sharp edges upon which the person could injure themselves
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

While there are no medications currently indicated to treat cocaine addiction or withdrawal, it is still a very treatable condition. Frequently, this begins with a clinical detox and is closely followed by a transition to a partial hospitalization, inpatient, or outpatient addiction treatment program.

Our center offers an integrated, evidence-based approach to addiction treatment that includes behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support. Our center employs compassionate medical professionals and certified clinicians who specialize in addiction and provide clients with the skills they so desperately need to recover and enjoy long-lasting sobriety and wellness.

Recovery is a life-long endeavor, but thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please contact us today and learn how we can help!

Cocaine and Alcohol

Cocaine and Alcohol Abuse | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Cocaine and Alcohol – Cocaine and alcohol are frequently consumed together – people are sometimes seeking an enhanced effect, and other times, alcohol is used to help reduce the symptoms of a cocaine comedown. In either case, using cocaine and alcohol together can be even more dangerous than when abusing either drug alone.

Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, meaning it slows activity in the brain and body. Alcohol consumption, however, results in a huge surge of dopamine, a chemical that is associated with feelings of euphoria. It is this intense feeling of well-being that, at least at first, masks alcohol’s depressant effects.

Cocaine, on the other hand, is a CNS stimulant, meaning that it increases, rather than suppresses activity in the body. Mixing cocaine and alcohol, therefore, results in a sort of conflict of interests, so to speak, from the brain and body’s perspective.

Some Combined Side Affects

✔ Breathing problems

✔ Rapid heart rate

✔ Cognitive impairment

✔ Increased blood pressure

✔ Impaired coordination and motor function

✔ Heart palpitations Cerebral infarction (death of blood vessels and blood tissue)

✔ Brain aneurysm

✔ Stroke

✔ Brain damage

✔ Coma

✔ Death

Cocaethylene – An Unexpected By-Product

Cocaethylene is a chemical that is formed as the byproduct of the combined use of cocaine and alcohol metabolized by the liver. In fact, cocaethylene is the only known example of the development of a third drug in the human body after the consumption of two others.

Cocaethylene is toxic in the liver, has a longer duration of action than cocaine, and is also thought responsible for many cardiac arrests among younger people in their 20s and 30’s.

But in fact, very little is known about the drug and its potential threat to users, other than it may be even more toxic to the heart, possibly carrying a much higher risk of sudden death.

Where Does Cocaine Come From?

The purest form of cocaine, cocaine hydrochloride, is a substance derived from the coca plant native to South America. While the coca leaf itself has stimulating effects, it is this powerful chemical isolated from the plant that makes cocaine both desirable as a drug and very dangerous.

Types of Cocaine
Pure cocaine is almost never seen on the street, but can rarely be found up to a 98% purity. Most of the time, however, it is less than 40% pure and is cut with additives such as caffeine, sugar, and other drugs. Cocaine often comes in powder form and with colors ranging from whitish-grayish (chalk.) Cocaine has effects that make the user feel happy, energetic, and talkative. Cocaine use results in a relatively short high, however, and even inexperienced or first-time users are not likely to feel its effects for more than an hour.

Freebase cocaine is cocaine that is nearly free of the drug’s hydrochloride additive. Freebase cocaine is the result of the conversion of powder cocaine to cocaine sulfate. This drug is therefore nearly 100% pure and highly dangerous to use. Crack cocaine can also be yellowish in color, is wax-like, and usually smoked in a pipe.

Crack is a combination of cocaine and other chemicals such as ammonia, ether, or baking soda, and often has stronger effects compared to refined, powdered cocaine. It also has a greater potential for addiction.

Methods of Use

Cocaine powder is most commonly aspirated or “snorted.” However, some users inject it. Snorting cocaine can lead to frequent nosebleeds, infections, and irreversible damage to the nasal septum and surrounding tissues.

Injecting cocaine into a blood vessel or under the skin can result in damage to both the veins and skin, including sores, abscesses, and infections.

Smoking cocaine increases the risk of bronchitis and pneumonia.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction, however, even without the presence of other drug use can be very destructive and have devasting consequences. It can result in mental and health problems, legal issues, and family/social conflicts.

Alcohol addiction is characterized by the excessive use of alcohol, tolerance, and dependency. Tolerance is a term to describe how the body becomes desensitized to alcohol use, and therefore, over time, more is needed to achieve intoxication.

Dependency occurs when the brain becomes accustomed to the drug’s presence and can no longer function “normally” without it. When the drinker tries to drastically cut back or quit altogether, unpleasant withdrawal effects result.

Treatment for Alcoholism and Cocaine Abuse
When someone regularly uses alcohol and cocaine together, this is known as polysubstance abuse – a condition that is more complex than addiction to either substance is alone.

Treatment for polysubstance abuse requires long-term therapy and a comprehensive approach that also includes counseling and group support. Ideally, polysubstance abusers should undergo a residential stay in our addiction treatment center for a minimum of 30 days. For those who need more flexibility, however, intensive outpatient care is also available.

After professional treatment has been completed, support groups can be incredibly useful for maintaining long-term abstinence, as is ongoing treatments such as psychiatric services and counseling. Also, after discharge from treatment, clients can still participate in our aftercare program and alumni activities.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.