How Is Counterfeit Cocaine Sold?

Cocaine is not a safe drug. Although many people use it to intensify a night of partying or even relieve depression, every session of cocaine use creates a risk of an immediate medical emergency and pushes the user a little further toward long-term addiction and health problems. Ironically, counterfeit cocaine, which is in part or in whole something other than genuine cocaine, can also create serious problems for would-be cocaine users.

Strong Incentives for Weak Cocaine

The moral and financial landscape of the illicit drug trade creates little reason to strive for quality and safety. Some key realities of the business include:

  • No regulation – Cocaine is traded outside of legal channels and is never subject to impartial quality inspection.
  • Difficult to test – The expertise and lab equipment needed to test the purity of cocaine is rarely available to a cocaine buyer.
  • Separation from users – Cocaine can change hands dozens of times before it is actually used. By that time, any dissatisfaction or damage to health is difficult to attribute to any individual
  • Indifference to health – Cocaine sellers are generally unconcerned with the health effects of their product.

The price of cocaine is high and it is sold by weight. The financial incentive to sell a white powder as counterfeit cocaine, either in whole or in part, is tremendous.

Cocaine’s Common Imposters

Many substances share enough characteristics with cocaine that they can be passed off as the real thing. Most of them fall into one of these categories:

  • Inert look-a-likes – Corn starch, talc, lactose and even baking soda share the white powder appearance and texture of cocaine.
  • Superficial mimics – Benzocaine, lidocaine and procaine are all common topical anesthetics. Although they do not produce a high when ingested, these drugs will, just like cocaine, cause numbness in the fingers and noses of those who test or snort them.
  • Euphoria prolongers – As prescription drugs, levamisole, diltiazem and hydroxyzine are relatively obscure. But when added to cocaine, they may make the high last longer.

Because so much of what is sold as cocaine is counterfeit and most buyers have so little reliable experience with the real thing, added substances are convincing enough to consistently make profitable sales and earn repeat business for dealers.

Real Dangers of Fake Drugs

Counterfeit cocaine can do real damage through both deception and pharmacology. First, regular drug users often establish benchmarks of how much of a drug they need to feel the way they want. But counterfeit cocaine makes it impossible for a user to know how much cocaine he is really ingesting. If he acquires a significantly more pure supply and takes his usual volume of powder, a deadly overdose could result.

Second, some of the drugs standing in for cocaine can do damage of their own. An overdose of procaine, for example, can make the user stop breathing. Chronic use of levamisole can cause abnormalities in the blood that, in turn, can cause dangerous clots to obstruct blood vessels.

Don’t Take Your Chances with Cocaine, Find Treatment Today

Cocaine in and of itself is dangerous enough. When it is combined with other unknown substances, it can become even more risky for users. Don’t take your chances with cocaine abuse and addiction. Recovery from cocaine addiction is within reach. If you or a friend has a problem with cocaine, call our 24 hour helpline to learn about treatment options. The call is toll free.

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