Cocaine is a white-powder drug that can be snorted, smoked, rubbed onto the gums, or dissolved in water and injected. When people snort cocaine, they can irritate the nasal passages and experience nose bleeds, or perforations to the septum with long-term use. Rubbing cocaine on the gums can cause ulcers and irritate the gums, where injecting cocaine can increase the risk of contracting a bloodborne disease, such as HIV or AIDs. Smoking cocaine can cause dental problems and damage the lungs.
Cocaine’s effects happen quickly, and depending on how the user takes the drug and how much cocaine they use, the high can last a few minutes to an hour. The faster cocaine is absorbed into the bloodstream, the longer and more intense the high will be, but the high won’t last for long. If someone snorts cocaine, the high will take longer to take effect, but the high can last for up to an hour. Smoking or injecting cocaine can give the user an immediate high, but it will only last for about five or ten minutes. Those who smoke cocaine often end up using large amounts of the drug over the course of their addiction, which worsens health outcomes for these people.
A small amount of cocaine induces euphoria, increased energy, mental alertness, and sensitivity to sight, sound, and touch. Small amounts of cocaine will also reduce the user’s need for sleep and food. While cocaine usually makes the user more focused and able to perform tasks more quickly, cocaine can have the opposite effect on others. Other short term effects of cocaine include:
- Constricted blood vessels
- Dilated pupils
- Increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure
Taking a large amount of cocaine can increase the effects and the euphoria of taking the drug, but it can cause erratic, strange behavior. Users may become increasingly paranoid, violent, or anxious. Users may also experience tremors, muscle spasms, and vertigo. Using cocaine once can cause these side effects, but regular, repeated use of cocaine can lead to a number of long term health issues.