Injecting Cocaine | Effects, Dangers, & Treatment
Injecting cocaine can cause serious side effects like increased heart rate and body temperature, bacterial infections, abscesses on the skin, and an increased risk of a deadly overdose.
Cocaine is an illicit drug and a Schedule II controlled substance according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It is a stimulant drug available in a number of forms.
Cocaine works by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. The central nervous system (CNS) is affected by this type of drug use, especially when cocaine is administered by intravenous injection.
Cocaine in its base form is known as freebase. This is sometimes referred to as crack cocaine. In order to abuse the drug, freebase cocaine must have hydrochloride removed by using an alkaloid such as baking soda.
There are several forms of cocaine including white powder cocaine which can be combined with water and injected into the skin. This creates an intense high and a number of serious side effects.
Effects Of Injecting Cocaine
Injecting cocaine can lead to a number of serious side effects that range in severity.
Short-Term Side Effects
Short-term side effects of this form of cocaine abuse may include:
- sensitivity to light
- high blood pressure
- extra energy
- dilated pupils
- increased heart rate
- constricted blood vessels
- increased body temperature
Long-Term Side Effects
Some of the long term side effects of injecting cocaine may include:
- abscesses on the skin at the injection site
- collapsed veins
- blood clots
- bacterial infections
- scarring or bruising of the skin
Other health problems caused by long-term cocaine use include kidney or liver damage, convulsions, and even psychosis.
A person who abruptly stops taking cocaine can experience severe withdrawal symptoms. Some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with cocaine use may include:
- intense cravings for the drug
- sleeping problems
- increased appetite
- slowed thinking
- slowed thinking
Be sure to speak with your cocaine addiction treatment provider to help manage withdrawal symptoms.
Dangers Of Injecting Cocaine
There are a number of dangers associated with intravenous cocaine injection.
Risk Of Disease
If a person shares needles with others participating in drug use, there is the potential of developing HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C. Sharing syringes poses certain health risks, and diseases can be transmitted at the injection site due to a contaminated needle.
Turning To Other Methods Of Abuse
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), snorting cocaine can also lead to serious side effects such as a deviated septum, a chronic runny nose, and persistent nosebleeds. Those who smoke cocaine can develop pneumonia, asthma, or respiratory diseases.
Some may also combine heroin with cocaine, a process known as speedballing. All forms of cocaine abuse can lead to health concerns such as an overdose.
Those who use cocaine in large quantities, and especially those who abuse cocaine intravenously, have an increased risk of overdose. In fact, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), cocaine is involved in 1 of every 5 overdose deaths.
Some of the symptoms of a cocaine overdose may include:
- high blood pressure
- loss of urinary function
- cardiovascular problems such as an irregular heart rhythm or heart attack
If you or a loved one are experiencing any symptoms of an overdose, contact 911 immediately.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment
- medical detox
- individual and group therapy
- mental health counseling
- wellness activities
To learn more about our substance use interventions, please contact us today.
- Drug Enforcement Administration — Cocaine https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/cocaine.pdf
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — What are the Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Use? https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-short-term-effects-cocaine-use
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — What is Cocaine? https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Cocaine Intoxication https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000946.htm
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Cocaine Withdrawal https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000947.htm
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Substance Use - Cocaine https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000793.htm
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Know the Risks of Using Drugs https://www.samhsa.gov/adult-drug-use