Cocaine (hydrochloride) is a highly addictive drug which acts as a short lived central nervous system stimulant and local anaesthetic.

It’s extracted from the leaves of coca plants and is generally snorted. It can also be injected or rubbed on to your gums.

Crack cocaine is the smokeable form of the drug and comes as crystals known as rocks or stones. It’s usually smoked but can also be injected if dissolved with acidifier.

Mixing can be dangerous

Using alcohol and cocaine together can be dangerous, as they mix together in the body to produce a toxic chemical, called cocaethylene.

This affects the cardiovascular system and increases the risk of overdose.

Using heroin combined with cocaine is especially risky and may trigger an overdose. Each drug puts a lot of pressure on the central nervous system and the heart which can result in respiratory failure.

Dependancy and harm

Longer term effects can include dependency and damage to the heart as well as leading to mood swings, poor sleeping patterns, impotence, malnutrition due to suppressed appetite. Underlying mental health issues can worsen.

Smoking cocaine may cause lasting damage to the lips, mouth and lungs.

Snorting cocaine can damage the tissues in the nostrils, sometimes causing holes in the septum, the cartilage between your nostrils.

Injecting cocaine may lead to needle related injuries, infections and, in extreme cases, amputation of limbs.

Due to the risks of unpleasant and sometimes fatal side effects, you should completely avoid using stimulants like:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease epilepsy
  • psychiatric issues like depression or anxiety.

Try to be safer

Make sure you are in a safe environment ideally with people you trust or, if alone, let someone know you are planning to use cocaine.

You should:

  • wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing or taking drugs
  • wipe down any cocaine packaging (wraps or baggies) with alcohol wipes or anti-bacterial spray and a clean cloth as soon as possible after buying
  • when preparing, always use a sterile surface, cleaned down with anti-bac spray and a clean cloth or alcohol wipes

Start low, go slow and begin with a small test dose. Wait at least 1 hour before taking more and avoid mixing with other drugs, including prescribed medications, and especially alcohol.

Drink small sips of non-alcoholic drinks such as water or isotonic drinks, but don’t exceed 1 pint in 1 hour.

Always use new snorting equipment and don’t share any, including straws and keys, with others.

If you’re snorting, grind it down as fine as possible and divide into small lines

Snorting is safer than smoking and injecting

Advice for people who smoke or inject cocaine

If smoking, crush the crack rock into small pieces and smoke using a clean pipe or fresh piece of foil. Remember when smoking, the effects are intense but short-lived.

If injecting, use less risky areas such as forearms and rotate any injecting sites. Wash hands and injecting site prior to injection, wipe injection area with a swab.

Cocaine hydrochloride does not require citric acid or vitamin C as it dissolves in water. Only use citric acid or vitamin C to dissolve crack cocaine.

Use the smallest needle size possible for the area of injection. Always use fresh equipment and filter the solution into the syringe.

For more information on cocaine visit Crew.