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Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that is used legally as a local
anesthetic for some eye, ear, and throat surgeries. Cocaine is also called
coke, C, snow, flake, or blow. It may contain other substances, such as
cornstarch, talcum powder, or sugar. It may also contain other drugs, such as
another local anesthetic called procaine or a stimulant such as
Two forms of cocaine are abused.
Small amounts of cocaine make a person feel euphoric, energetic,
talkative, and mentally alert. It also decreases appetite and the need for
sleep. When large amounts of cocaine are taken, the high is more intense.
But large doses can cause strange or violent behavior in which the person
may have tremors or muscle twitches or become paranoid.
After using cocaine, the person feels irritable, tired, and
depressed. This is called a coke crash. When a person takes the drug at higher
and higher doses (a binge), it can cause increasing irritability, restlessness,
and paranoia that can result in a serious loss of touch with reality (paranoid
Cocaine is a very addictive drug, and some people easily lose control
over its use.
Use of cocaine can lead to serious health problems, including:
Sometimes sudden death can occur, even with the first use of
cocaine. Sudden death from cocaine use may occur because of a heart attack or
seizure in which breathing stops. Sudden death is more likely to occur when
cocaine is used along with alcohol.
The effects of cocaine last about 1 to 2 hours. Cocaine can be
detected in a urine drug screen up to 6 days after it has been taken.
July 20, 2012
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
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