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Cocaine: Just the facts

Cocaine is also known as coke or crack

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that has short-lived effects.

The types:

  • Powder cocaine, which is known as coke
  • Crack cocaine, which is a ‘rock’ like form of the drug

Both types of cocaine can be smoked, which means the drugs reach your brain very quickly. Powder cocaine can also be snorted, which gets to the brain more slowly. Cocaine can also be injected. That means it will reach the brain quickly, but injecting comes with a lot of serious risks including damage to your veins and the spread of blood borne viruses like HIV and Hepatitis C.

The effects:

  • Feel on top of the world and very confident
  • Wide awake and with high levels of alertness
  • Over-confidence, arrogance, aggression and more likely to take careless risks
  • Increase in body temperature which makes your heart beat faster
  • Loss of appetite
  • Very long ‘comedown’, which can last for days, when the effects of the drug wear off, leaving you feeling depressed and tired

The risks:

  • Users of cocaine can die if they take too much and have an overdose
  • Fits and heart attacks can happen, even in healthy, young people
  • Serious problems with paranoia, anxiety and panic attacks
  • Any mental health problems can be worsened
  • Damage to the cartilage in the nose from snorting cocaine
  • Breathing problems and chest pain from smoking crack cocaine

All types of cocaine are very addictive and can give a powerful high. The types that reach the brain the quickest have a much stronger effect and are known to be more addictive.

Temporarily speeding up the way your mind and body are working, the effects of cocaine don’t last for very long but can leave you feeling really down when they wear off.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your Public Health Nurse (School Nurse).

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