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Last updated : February 22, 2018
Cocaine is a stimulant drug, which means that it speeds up the messages travelling between the brain and the rest of the body.
Cocaine comes from the leaves of the coca bush (Erythroxylum coca), which is native to South America. The leaf extract is processed to produce 3 different forms of cocaine:
C, coke, nose candy, snow, white lady, toot, Charlie, blow, white dust or stardust.
Cocaine hydrochloride is most commonly snorted. It can also be injected, rubbed into the gums, added to drinks or food.1
Freebase and crack cocaine are usually smoked.1
Indigenous people of South America have traditionally chewed the leaves of the coca bush, or brewed them as a tea, for use as a stimulant or appetite suppressant.3
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
Cocaine affects everyone differently, based on:
You may experience:
If you take a large amount or have a strong batch, you could overdose. If you have any of the symptoms below, call an ambulance straight away by dialling triple zero (000). Ambulance officers don’t need to involve the police.
High doses and frequent heavy use can also cause ‘cocaine psychosis’, characterised by paranoid delusions, hallucinations and out of character aggressive behaviour. These symptoms usually disappear a few days after the person stops using cocaine.4
Injecting cocaine and sharing needles may also cause:
In the days after cocaine use, you may feel:
Regular use of cocaine may eventually cause:
Snorting cocaine regularly can also cause:
Giving up cocaine after using it for a long time is challenging because the body has to get used to functioning without it.
It’s therefore important to talk to your GP or another health professional before trying to give up.
Withdrawal symptoms usually start around 1–2 days after last use and can last for approximately 10 weeks – days 4 to 7 will be the worst.
Withdrawal usually happens in 3 phases:
If your use of cocaine is affecting your health, family, relationships, work, school, financial or other life situations, you can find help and support.
aggressive behaviour, confidence, dilated pupils, dry mouth, fast breathing, fast heart rate, feeling alert, feeling energetic, happiness, high blood pressure, increased body temperature, increased sex drive, indifference to pain, reduced appetite, talking more, unpredictable behaviour, violent behaviour.