Originating from South America’s native Erythroxylon coca bush, the coca leaf has been chewed universally by some indigenous communities for centuries. It was not until 1855 that the cocaine alkaloid was successfully isolated by the Western world, and they subsequently began discovering its medical uses. However, cocaine has very little medical use in today’s world.

Cocaine is a stimulant of the central nervous system and an extremely powerful substance that directly affects the brain. It is illegal to possess, cultivate or distribute cocaine. Also known for its ability to suppress appetite and anesthetize, it has extremely high potential for abuse and physical dependency. Cocaine produces a heightened sense of euphoria, increases energy levels and alertness.

The effects of cocaine on the body can appear immediately and can dissipate again within minutes or hours, depending on several factors. The effects of cocaine are not uniform and experiences vary from person to person. Additionally, the effects and duration of cocaine depends on how the drug is administered. Most often administered through insufflation or “snorting”, cocaine can also be taken by injection and free-base smoking (crack).

Insufflation or “snorting” is the most common way in which users ingest cocaine. The onset of this high is slow and usually lasts approximately 15-30 minutes while free-base smoking may last only 5-10 minutes. Injecting cocaine provides the highest blood levels of the drug in the shortest amount of time, but the euphoria passes very quickly.

Short-term effects of cocaine include euphoria, increased energy, loss of appetite, insomnia, irritability, mental alertness and heightened sensations in relation to sight, sound and touch. It can make the user more talkative and productive. Short-term physiological effects may include constricted blood vessels, dialated pupils; increased body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. High doses can cause psychosis, paranoia, restlessness, anxiety, aggressiveness and/or antisocial, erratic or violent behaviour. Users that ingest large amounts of the drug could experience tremors, vertigo, muscle spasms, high blood pressure and pulse. As the risk of overdosing increases as more of the drug is ingested, so does the risk of seizure, hallucination, unresponsiveness, convulsion, stroke, fever, unconsciousness, respiratory arrest, heart failure and death.

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug. Long-term effects of cocaine use include tolerance, binging, physical and psychological dependency, or paranoid psychosis, wherein the user has lost touch with reality and is experiencing auditory and empirical hallucinations. As tolerance levels increase, users try to compensate by increasing their level of consumption. Users often resort to binging, perpetually trying to attain their original high. Some users have reported experiencing a heightened sensitivity to the drug’s anesthetic and convulsant effects without increasing their dosage. This state of increased sensitivity may be the cause of many deaths, even in a situation where a relatively small amount of the drug is consumed.

Withdrawal symptoms are life threatening. The user may experience intense physical cravings for the drug, irritability, severe depression, paranoia, anxiety, delusions, hallucinations and suicide ideation. Toxicology detection can last between 48-72 hours.

Cocaine Street Names

  • Crack
  • Flake
  • Soda
  • Bumps
  • Oolies
  • Nieve
  • Dust
  • Blanca
  • Sneeze
  • Coke
  • Blow
  • Nose Candy
  • Snowball (cocaine & heroin)
  • Tornado (crack)
  • Wicky Stick (PCP & crack)
  • Perico (Spanish)