Table of Contents
I. Getting Help
Guide to Cocaine Addiction

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. The Basics

Cocaine’s Primary Dangers

  • Addictiveness: Cocaine is the second most addictive drug according to a 2007 study. In the study, Dr. David Nutt ranked illicit drugs to show how addictive each one was. Cocaine received a 2.39/3, second only to heroin, which was the most addictive and received a 2.78/3.
  • Risk of overdose: Cocaine is the most common illicit drug involved in hospital emergency room visits and accounts for 4,000 to 8,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
  • Unintended side effects: Cocaine commonly leads to irritability, paranoia (extreme and unreasonable distrust of others), and nausea.
  • Legal risks: Cocaine is a schedule II narcotic, illegal in all states, and is commonly punishable by one year in prison and a $1,000 fine for a first possession offense.
  • Legal Risks: The legal ramifications of possessing heroin and for selling it are significantly higher than many other drugs because the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies heroin as a “Schedule I” drug.

Cocaine Background Information

Derived FromCoca plant, also known as Erythroxylaceae
Ways UsedSnorted, Injected, Smoked (only crack)
Scientific NameBenzoylmethylecgonine
Slang/Street Names for CocaineSnow, blow, coke, crack, rock, flake, white, toot, base, basa, powder, dust, big rush, pearl, candy, cola, c, big flakes, baseball, nose candy, bump, line, rail, stash, yeyo, bazooka, berni(ce), caviar, Charlie, chicken scratch, coca, cocktail, coconut, late night, marching dust, mojo, monster, sniff, snort, stardust, toot
Slang/Street Names for Crack CocaineSnow coke, rocks, black rock, chemical, candy, nuggets, gravel, grit, hail, hard rock, jelly beans, cookies, dice, purple caps, scrabble, yam, sleet, tornado, bones, boost, brick, casper, chalk, crumbs, cubes, fatbags, kibbles n bits, moonrocks, pebbles, Roxanne
Slang/Street Names for Cocaine MixturesSpeedball, spaceball, woo-woo, cocopuffs, woolies, boy-girl, candy flipping, bumping up, snow seals, flamethrowers
How Long in BodyUp to 3 days depending on level of use
Punitive Legal MeasuresFirst offense of cocaine possession may be sentenced to not more than one year in prison, fined not less than $1,000, or both. Larger amounts of cocaine constitute “intent to sell” leading to felony charges and sentences of 2-20 years (1-4 grams) to life (generally greater than 400 grams).
DEA Drug RatingSchedule II

Cocaine and crack are different drugs derived from the same source

Even though crack is often included in the term “cocaine,” the drugs are quite different. Crack and cocaine are both from the coca plant, but their method of extraction and potency differs.

Cocaine is a white powder (hydrochloride salt) and is water soluble. This makes it easy to snort, inject, or take orally. Although typically the purer form (if not cut with other substances, which is common) cocaine powder produces a lower-intensity high with a slower onset than crack cocaine. In its purest form, cocaine retains more of the characteristics of the coca plant than crack.

Crack is true to its name, looking crystalline or rock-like. Crack is often smoked, commonly from a pipe, and is more addictive than cocaine. Smoking crack causes almost immediate changes in the brain and gives users a quick and intense high. Crack is typically not injected since it doesn’t dissolve in water.

II. Cocaine Usage

Global Cocaine Use

According to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime’s 2016 report, cocaine use has been decreasing across all continents over the past 15 years. The agency estimates that there were about 18.8 million global cocaine users in 2014, and provided the following demographics for cocaine users.

Cocaine Usage in the U.S.

Nearly 25% of all illicit drug users ages 18-25 have tried cocaine

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 36,304,200 Americans had tried cocaine in 2014, and over 1.5 million had used it in the past month. The age group with the heaviest usage is 18 to 25 year-olds.

Demographics of Cocaine Usage (2016)
Past Year UsageLifetime Usage
CocaineCrackCocaineCrack
Ages: 12-170.6%0.0%0.8%0.1%
Ages: 18-25 5.4%0.3%11.7%1.5%
Ages: 26+1.3%0.3%16.6%4.1%