How Do I Identify Cocaine?

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant that occurs naturally as an alkaloid of the coca plant. The two main chemical forms of cocaine include the following types:

• A water-soluble salt which can be injected or snorted
• A water-insoluble cocaine base (or crack) which is usually smoked

In 1961, coca leaf and cocaine were classified as Schedule 1 drugs—a designation for substances that pose the highest risks of abuse or addiction. When cocaine enters the bloodstream, it raises the dopamine levels in the brain circuits that regulate pleasure and movement. Normally, dopamine is released by neurons in these circuits in response to vital activities such as eating or having sex, and then the dopamine is recycled back into the cell. Cocaine blocks dopamine from being recycled, which results in excess accumulation between neurons. This dopamine build-up produces an intense high, which often causes individuals to become excessively talkative and energetic.

Cocaine hydrochloride is usually snorted through the nose, but in various forms it can also be smoked or injected. Tolerance develops with excessive or prolonged abuse, which means someone must ingest increasingly large hits of the drug to achieve the same degree of pleasure. Side effects of cocaine abuse may include the following issues:

• High heart rate
• Hypertension
• Stroke
• Headaches
• Gastrointestinal problems
• Stomach pain
• Nausea
• Malnourishment

A strong psychological dependence also forms in most cocaine users. Individuals who are preoccupied with obtaining or using cocaine, and those who spend large quantities of time, money and energy on their drug habits, may exhibit classic signs of cocaine addiction.

How to Identify Cocaine

Although no two samples of cocaine are exactly identical, most cocaine products exhibit the following characteristics:

• White or off-white color
• Powder that is crystalline and very fine
• Rarely damp

Crack cocaine is a flaky, hard material obtained by adding ammonia or baking soda and water to cocaine hydrochloride, and then one heats the resulting powder. When heated, the mixture creates a crackling sound, which is the reason behind the street name for this form of freebase cocaine.

Help for Cocaine Addiction

If you or a loved one suffers from addiction to cocaine, we can help. Admissions coordinators are available at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to guide you to wellness. Please call as soon as possible to begin addressing your dangers drug habits.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email