Need information? Help is close at hand. Check out our Cocaine info below for an in-depth look at this drug.
Commercial and Street Names
Street Names: Big C, blow, coke, flake, freebase, lady, nose candy, rock, snow, snowbirds, crack, white crack.
List of street terms for cocaine.
Description of Cocaine and Crack Cocaine
Cocaine is a drug extracted from the leaves of the coca plant. It is a potent brain stimulant and one of the most powerfully addictive drugs. Cocaine is distributed on the street in two main forms: cocaine hydrochloride and “crack” cocaine.
Cocaine hydrochloride is a fine powder often diluted with sugar, cornstarch or talcum powder. Cocaine hydrochloride is usually snorted or dissolved in water and injected.
“Crack,” the chunk or “rock” form of cocaine, is a smokable, freebase form of cocaine which is made by adding baking soda to a cocaine solution and allowing the mixture to dry.
Actual photo of dilated pupils due to stimulant effect.
Cocaine powder is chopped with a razor blade to a fine grain then snorted using a straw, small spoon or a rolled-up bill.
Crack cocaine is different from cocaine powder since it is typically smoked and has a shorter but stronger euphoric effect.
An “8-ball” of cocaine powder. Package is made from small squares of garbage bag plastic that are bound tight with dental floss. Any excess material above the dental floss is cut off using scissors.
Crack paraphernalia includes (from l to r) a used crack pipe fi tted with a mouthpiece, a small and large glass tube (“straight shooter”), yellow plastic mouth piece to prevent lip burns, brillo pad (fi lter), a pipe cleaner, and a poker for air passage.
Crystal meth paraphernalia includes (from left to right) a torch lighter, meth pipe, a test tube converted into a meth pipe, and a broken light bulb.
Effects of Cocaine and Crack Cocaine
The intensity of cocaine depends on the dose and rate of entry to the brain.
Cocaine reaches the brain through the snorting method in three to five minutes. Intravenous injection of cocaine produces a rush in 15 to 30 seconds, and smoking produces an almost immediate intense experience. However, the faster the absorption, the shorter the high lasts. The high from snorting may last 15 to 30 minutes, while that from smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes. Once the drug leaves the brain, the user experiences a “coke crash” that includes depression, irritability, and fatigue. To avoid withdrawal, repeated frequent doses are taken.
Long-term effects or high doses of cocaine can trigger paranoia. Smoking crack cocaine can produce particularly aggressive paranoid behaviour in users. When addicted individuals stop using cocaine, they often become depressed. Prolonged cocaine snorting can result in ulceration of the mucous membrane of the nose.
Injectable cocaine users are at risk for infections such as hepatitis and HIV. There is some evidence that people who use cocaine may participate in HIV-related risky behaviours, such as sharing needles and unprotected sex, more often than people who inject other types of drugs(1). Nasal blood found on straws used for inhaling cocaine can carry hepatitis C and be a source of infection(2).
See the Heroin section for more information on infections.
Sources: DEA; NIDA InfoFacts, Crack and Cocaine, April 2006
(1) Hankins, C. (1997). Needle Exchange: Panacea or Problem? Canadian Medical Association Journal, 157, 275-277
(2) Health Canada (2000). Straight Facts About Drugs & Drug Abuse,
Cocaine Detox at Sunshine Coast Health Center
Cocaine detoxification does not have the serious withdrawal effects like vomiting and shaking typically experienced with heroin or alcohol. Clients at Sunshine Coast Health Center who have been bingeing on cocaine usually suffer a “crash” which is marked by irritability, sleepiness and anxiety. Typically, the cocaine detox process at Sunshine Coast Health Center involves plenty of rest and a return to a regular meal schedule. Clients are typically underweight and may be dehydrated due to neglect from an extended period of preoccupation with cocaine.
SELF-HELP GROUPS FOR COCAINE ADDICTION
Cocaine Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are both excellent support groups for people who wish to stop using cocaine and crack cocaine:
Narcotics Anonymous World Services
PO Box 9999
Van Nuys CA 91409
Phone: (818)773-9999 ext. 771
Note: You must select “Canada” in Country section in order to have the provinces listed.
For more information visit the 12 Step Support Groups section.
Printed Resources – General Reading on Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine (2nd Ed.)(1994) is a review of what is known about the effects of cocaine and its impact on the brain and body. Roger D. Weiss, Mirin Weiss, Steven M. Mirin, Roxanne L. Bartel.
The Cocaine Chronicles (2005) Gary Phillips and Jervey Tervalon
Cocaine and Crack (1989) Brent Q. Hafen and David Soulier
Crackhouse: Notes from the End of the Line (1992) Terry M. Williams
Diary of a Crack Addict’s Wife (2005) Cynthia Hunter
The House That Crack Built (1999) Clark Taylor and Jan Thompson Dicks
The Pleasures of Cocaine (1999) Adam Gottlieb
Stronger than Kryptonite: One Woman’s Triumph Over Crack Cocaine (2004) Regina Bovill and Rusty Fischer
White Lines: Drugs, Writing, Society(2001) Brian Musgrove
White Lines: Writers on Cocaine (2002) Geno Zanetti, Stephen Hyde
Printed Resources – Crime and Cocaine
The Andean Cocaine Industry(1998) reveal the configuration of the drug industry, from the original cultivation of coca in the fields of South America to the sale of cocaine on the streets of the United States. The authors analyze the economic and political impact of the drug business on the Andean nations, including such problems as violence and the undermining of legitimate business. Patrick L. Clawson, Rensselaer W. Lee III
Coca, Cocaine and the Bolivian Reality (1997) Madeline Barbara Leons, Harry Sanabria
The Cocaine Kids: The Inside Story of a Teenage Drug Ring (1990) Terry M. Williams
Drug Lord: The Life and Death of a Mexican Kingpin: A True Story (1998) Terrence E. Poppa
Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw (2002) Mark Bowden
Snowblind: A Brief Career in the Cocaine Trade(1998) Robert Sabbag
Trafficking Cocaine: Colombian Drug Entrepreneurs in the Netherlands(2002) defies common clichés and attitudes on ‘cartels’ and, instead, tells the story of Latino immigrants in Europe. Damian Zaitch.
Printed Resources – Drug Policy and Cocaine
Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Policy (1997) places crack in its historical context–as the latest in a long line of demonized drugs–and it examines the crack scare as a phenomenon in its own right. Most important, it uses crack and the crack scare as windows onto America’s larger drug and drug policy problems. Craig Reinarman and Harry G. Levine
The White Labyrinth: Cocaine and Political Power(1989) explains why it is so difficult to take effective action against the cocaine problem. It looks closely at problems faced by producing countries. Rensselaer W. Lee.
For more information on drug policy see the Drug Policy section.
Printed Resources – Fiction on Cocaine
Crack Head (2005) Lisa Lennox
Printed Resources – History of Cocaine
A Brief History of Cocaine: From Inca Monarchs to Cali Cartels (2nd Ed.) provides a historical insight into the reasons why cocaine use is increasing in popularity and why the rise of cocaine trade is tightly linked with the rise of terrorism. Steven B. Karch.
Cocaine: an Unauthorized Biography (2003) examines the story of cocaine from its first medical uses to the worldwide chaos it causes today. His research takes him from the arcane reaches of the British Library to the isolation cells of America’s most secure prisons; from the crackhouses of New York to the jungles of Bolivia and Colombia. Dominic Streatfeild.
White Mischief: A Cultural History of Cocaine(2004) tracing a history that goes back hundreds of years, the author examines the long, complicated and controversial history of cocaine, and its parent – the coca plant. Tim Madge.
Printed Resources – Medical Consequences of Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine: Physiological and Physiopathological Effects(1992) helps readers identify the health risks associated with cocaine use and understand their significance from both individual and public health perspectives. Chapters are organized by specific organ systems. Alfonso Parades, David A. Gorelick (Eds.).
Printed Resources – Recovery (Life after Treatment) and Cocaine Addiction
The Joy of Cocaine and Addiction Recovery: The Surrender and Resurrection of the Soul (2004) Carlton ‘Moore’ Robinson
For more information on life after treatment see the Addiction Recovery section.
Printed Resources – Relapse Prevention and Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine Addiction: Treatment, Recovery, and Relapse Prevention (1989) is a “how to” guide for treating cocaine and crack addiction. Includes assessment forms and patient questionnaires for practical day-to-day use. Appropriate for clinicians, patients, and family members. Arnold M. Washton
Cocaine and Methamphetamine Addiction: Treatment, Recovery, and Relapse Prevention (2009) Arnold Washton and Joan Ellen Zweben
Maintaining Recovery Is the third in the Cocaine Recovery Workbook series, and helps prepare recovering cocaine addicts for life after treatment. Practical exercises, checklists, and questions help addicts use what they’ve learned about themselves to develop a healthy lifestyle and avoid relapse. Each section helps addicts assess how cocaine affects their sexuality, their ability to handle anger, and what they do in their leisure time. This workbook also includes a “recovery checklist” to help evaluate progress in recovery and pinpoint problem areas. Suggested guidelines for use in a support group setting are included. Arnold M. Washton.
Staying Off Cocaine (1990) is the second of the Cocaine Recovery Workbooks on addictions, and provides information on cravings and the need for abstinence. It provides useful guidance to help you develop your own plan to prevent cravings from leading to drug use. Learning about your own cocaine triggers and your cravings can help you prevent slips and relapses, and constructively respond to a slip if you should have one. Guidelines for using the workbook are provided for group leaders. Arnold M. Washton
For more information on relapse prevention see the Relapse Prevention Facts section.
Printed Resources – Research on Cocaine
Cocaine: Pharmacology, Physiology, and Clinical Strategies (1992) brings together for the first time state-of-the-art research from both the basic sciences and the clinical fields to present an in-depth discussion of the numerous effects of cocaine. Joan M. Lakoski, Matthew P. Galloway, Francis J. White.
The Neurobiology of Cocaine: Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms (1995) presents current research regarding the mechanisms of cocaine’s action in the brain. Recent developments of cellular, molecular, and brain imaging methods provide new evidence that chemical and molecular substrates underlie cocaine reinforcement, dependence, and withdrawal. Ronald P. Hammer, Jr.
For more information on addiction research see the Addiction Research section.
Printed Resources – Treatment for Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine Addiction: Theory, Research and Treatment (1997) Jerome Joseph Platt
Cocaine Recovery Workbook (1991) Paul H. Earley
Cocaine Solutions: Help for Cocaine Abusers and Their Families (Addiction Treatment Series) (1990) Jennifer Rice-Licare, Katharine Delaney-McLoughlin
The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Cocaine Dependence: A Revised and Updated Directory for the Internet Age (2005) Icon Health Publications
One Step Over the Line: A No-Nonsense Guide to Recognizing and Treating Cocaine Dependency (1985) the former clinical director at Haight Ashbury Free Clinic outlines a course of treatment for cocaine abusers. Joanne Baum.
Quitting Cocaine, The First 30 Daysis the first in a series of three cocaine recovery workbooks on addictions. Provides ten practical tips to help you discover your motivation to stop using, change your behavior, and successfully quit cocaine. Its real-world questions and outlines help you avoid relapse by developing a personal plan for staying away from cocaine and high-risk situations. Guidelines for using the workbooks are provided for group leaders. Arnold M. Washton.
Stepping Stones to Recovery from Cocaine/Crack Addiction (1991) Lisa D.
Printed Resources – War on Drugs and Cocaine
See the Drug Policy section.
Online Resources – General Information on Cocaine and Crack Cocaine
ABCs of Cocaine and Crack (1999) Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC).
The Basics: Cocaine and Crack (February 2005) provides basic information on cocaine and crack including effects. Addiction Foundation of Manitoba (AFM).
Cocaine (October 2013) Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Cocaine Solutions: Help for Cocaine Abusers and Their Families (1990) Is a book for the layperson that explains the disease of cocaine addiction. Jennifer Rice-Licare, Katherine Delaney-McLoughlin.
Crack Cocaine Fact Sheet (June 2006) Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA).
NIDA InfoFacts: Crack and Cocaine (May 2006) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Online Resources – Crime and Cocaine
Cocaine – Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets is a detailed fact sheet on effects of cocaine use, particularly on performance and driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Cocaine Smuggling in 2006 is a report that provides an overview of data related to cocaine smuggling during 2006. Topics covered in the report include coca cultivation and production; cocaine trafficking routes and methods; and cocaine seizures.
Online Resources – Research and Cocaine
Cocaine Route of Administration Trends: 1995-2005(September 2007) shows trends in how cocaine is used (smoked, snorted, etc.) and other statistics. Drug and Alcohol Services Information System. The DASIS Report.
NIDA Research Report – Cocaine Abuse and Addiction (November 2004) provides the latest scientific research on cocaine, including crack cocaine. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). NIH Publication 99-4342.
NIDA Notes – Cocaine Research Articles is a collection of articles that address research on cocaine.
For additional research on cocaine & crack see the Cocaine & Crack section of the Office of Applied Studies website, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Online Resources – Treatment and Cocaine Addiction
Cocaine Use: Recommendations in Treatment and Rehabilitation (2000) promotes the use of effective interventions by providing information on cocaine and its effects, and identifying best practices in treatment and rehabilitation for individuals with cocaine-use problems. Health Canada. Cat. No. H49-155/2001E.
A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach: Treating Cocaine Addiction (April 1998) Kathleen M. Carroll, PhD, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH Publication 98-4308
A Community Reinforcement Approach: Treating Cocaine Addiction (April 1998) Alan J. Budney, PhD, Stephen T. Higgins, PhD, et.al., National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH Publication 98-4309
Counseling for Cocaine Addiction: The Collaborative Cocaine Treatment Study Model (September 1999) Dennis C. Daley, PhD, Delinda E, Mercer, PhD, Gloria Carpenter, MEd, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH Publication 99-4380.
An Individual Drug Counseling Approach to Treat Cocaine Addiction: The Collaborative Cocaine Treatment Study Model (September 1999) Delinda E. Mercer, PhD, George E. Woody, PhD, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH Publication 99-4380
For additional treatment manuals see the Psychological Modalities section.
Video Resources – Movies
Starring: James Woods, Sean Young
Director: Harold Becker
Starring: Tony Amendola, Penélope Cruz, Cliff Curtis, Johnny Depp, Dan Ferro
Director: Ted Demme
Less Than Zero(1987)
Starring: Andrew McCarthy, Jami Gertz, Robert Downey Jr., James Spader, Tony Bill
Director: Marek Kanievska
Bright Lights Big City(1988)
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Kiefer Sutherland, Phoebe Cates, Swoosie Kurtz, Frances Sternhagen
Director: James Bridges
Starring: Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Robert Loggia
Director: Brian De Palma
New Jack City(1991)
Starring: John Aprea, Nick Ashford, Bill Cobbs, Anthony DeSando, Flavor Flav
Jumpin’ at the Boneyard(1992)
Starring: Tim Roth, Alexis Arquette, Danitra Vance, Samuel L. Jackson, Traci Kindell
Director: Jeff Stanzler
Starring: Actors: Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Jacob Vargas, Andrew Chavez, Michael Saucedo, Tomas Milian
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Lawrence B. Adisa, Lisa Arrindell Anderson, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Paul Calderon, Keith David
Director: Spike Lee
Actors: Dan Leis, Jason Patric, Lloyd Adams, Meagan Issa, Lina Giornofelice
Directors: Joe Carnahan
The Cocaine Fiends (AKA The Pace That Kills) (1936)
Actors: Dean Benton, Lois January, Noel Madison, Sheila Manners, Edward Phillips
Directors: W.A. Conner, William O’Connor
Video Resources – Online Videos
Argentina’s New Drug Epidemic (February 2008) talks about the spread of paco, a cheap drug made from the residue of cocaine production, across poor neighbourhoods in Argentina. Aljazeera.
The following series of videos is the history of the stimulant cocaine as both medicine and an illicit drug:
Hooked – Illegal Drugs Vol 4 – Cocaine, Crack