Cocaine is a powerful stimulant. It comes from the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine is typically distributed in a powdered form. 'Crack' is a form of cocaine has been processed to create rock-like crystals.

Users may call it coca, crack, flake, snow, soda cot, blow, bump, C, candy, or Charlie.

How is Cocaine Used?

Cocaine is usually snorted, injected (after dissolving the powdered form in water) or smoked. Smoking involves inhaling cocaine vapor or smoke (from 'crack') into the lungs. When cocaine is smoked or injected, it reaches the brain in seconds causing an intense feeling of euphoria known as a 'rush.'

Cocaine has a range of effects including increased alertness and energy, as well as restlessness, irritability, and anxiety.

What Are the Risks Associated with Cocaine Use?

Cocaine use increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure and it can also cause headaches, stomach aches, and nausea. Because cocaine tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished.

Cocaine use can cause users to take risks, leading to unsafe sex and injury. It may also lead to addiction and other serious health consequences including increasing the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.

Cocaine users can experience emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke, which may cause sudden death or long-term disability. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizure followed by respiratory arrest.

Cocaine Use in NYC

Cocaine use is higher in New York City than it is nationwide:

  • In 2008-2009, 3% of New Yorkers reported past year cocaine use
  • In 2009, cocaine was the drug most commonly cited in drug-related Emergency Department visits
  • There were 309 cocaine-related emergency department visits for every 100,000 New Yorkers
  • Six out of 10 people who die from a drug overdose in New York City show signs of recent cocaine use

Find the right drug or alcohol abuse treatment program with the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator.

For 24 hour / seven days per week information and referral, call or visit 988.

See Related NYC Health Department Publications.

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