Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine Overdose Overview Data collected by the CDC indicate that from 12 676 to 14 666 fatalities throughout the nation, the death toll from cocaine overdose significantly surged between 2015 and 2018.  Additionally, co-current cocaine and opioid drug use are becoming an increasing concern.  In the past five years, a tremendous rise has been seen […]


Cocaine Overdose Overview

Data collected by the CDC indicate that from 12 676 to 14 666 fatalities throughout the nation, the death toll from cocaine overdose significantly surged between 2015 and 2018.  Additionally, co-current cocaine and opioid drug use are becoming an increasing concern.  In the past five years, a tremendous rise has been seen among drug overdose deaths involving cocaine and opioids or other synthetic narcotics.  In 1999, the overall number of overdoses involving cocaine was 3,822, and in 2018 this number hit 14,666.  The majority of this rise was seen in just the past couple of years. Getting into a cocaine detox program is the start of the recovery from this.

No different from addiction to other addictive substances, the effects of cocaine addiction can be life-altering. This includes job loss, relationship strains, financial decline, health problems, and mental instability.  Increased health problems may include stroke, seizure, heart disease, cardiovascular and respiratory complications.  Cocaine use has also been connected to cognitive disorders such as memory loss and decreased attention span.  In addition, users who share paraphernalia, especially needles, are at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis.

Cocaine intoxication and addiction can compromise judgment and decision-making and potentially lead to risky sexual behavior, including trading sex for drugs and needle sharing.  This increases a cocaine user’s risk for contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C (HCV).  There are no vaccines to prevent HIV or HCV infections. [1]

Cocaine Overdose
Cocaine overdose can happen to anyone from a novice user to a regular abuser. 

Below are the significant reasons why cocaine harshly affects a user and why it is hard to stop.  Despite the euphoria cocaine can bring to an individual, the risks of danger to your health are still more significant.

cocaine-addiction-treatment
Cocaine overdose death can happen relatively quickly, so the faster you get the person’s immediate medical attention, the better the chances of survival.
  • Dopamine:  The use of cocaine stimulates the production of dopamine, a chemical in the human brain responsible for pleasure.  However, too much exposure to this drug will eventually make one want to experience that feeling all over.  Hence the brain will prompt the need for the trigger.
  • Corticosterone Hormone:  The stress hormone in the body makes the body vulnerable to addiction. Studies have found that when an individual who is stressed up uses cocaine, the high levels of stress hormone in the body will create a severe addiction to the drug.  This is likely because of the feeling of relaxation that cocaine will bring to the brain function, making one want more of that feeling instead of being bogged down by stress.
  • Prefrontal Cortex:  This is the control center of the brain responsible for decision-making and self-control.  Cocaine abuse restrains the proper functioning of the prefrontal cortex, making it hard for an individual to understand the effects of continued cocaine use.

Common Cocaine Side Effects

The route of cocaine administration is dependent on the form. The first and most prevalent form is a finely crushed powder. Powdered cocaine can be snorted, eaten, rubbed into gums, smoked, or injected intravenously. Crack cocaine is a crystal rock form of cocaine that is often cut with baking soda and is overall lower.

Both of these forms of cocaine carry extreme risks. Cocaine has contributed to nearly 14,000 overdose deaths in 2017 alone. For individuals who use cocaine regularly, detox will likely be the first step recommended as a part of the treatment plan.

  • Weight loss
  • Mood swings
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Paranoia
  • Nosebleeds, inflamed nostrils, or nasal congestion
  • Nervousness, restlessness, and inability to concentrate
  • Increased susceptibility to viruses and bacteria due to a reduced immune response
  • Delusions and hallucinations

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Abuse 

Continued use can lead to the following cocaine side effects:

  • Anxiety:  People who constantly use cocaine will often remain anxious most of the time.
  • Nose Bleeding:  Users who snort cocaine may experience nose bleeds as their nasal cavities have damages from restricted blood flow.
  • Extreme Tiredness and Reduced Activity:  Cocaine abuse creates franticly paced highs but also hard crashes.  During the periods after a high, the user will often feel low energy levels making the users less productive, particularly as they continue to use more.
  • Heart Attack:  Continued use of cocaine can impair cardiac muscles, inflammation of the muscles, and even rupture the aorta.  The results of this are heart palpitations, extreme stress on the cardiovascular system, and finally, death.
  • cardiovascular functions, the risk of users experiencing a stroke or brain damage is doubled.
  • Kidney Damage:  As one continues to use cocaine, the kidneys become inflamed and, from the stress of blood filtration, may begin to fail.
  • Impairment in Logic, Critical Thinking, and Attention Span:  As one continues to use cocaine, cognitive functions and self-preservation are impaired, resulting in the inability to make rational decisions.
  • Tooth Decay:  Prolonged use of cocaine will result in tooth decay not just due to the chemical compounds found in the drug but because hygiene has taken a backseat to obtain the drug.

Can You Overdose on Cocaine?

Cocaine Overdose
The only sure way to prevent cocaine overdose is to stop using cocaine. 

Cocaine can be deadly when taken in large doses or when mixed with other drugs or alcohol. Cocaine-related deaths often happen because the heart stops (cardiac arrest), then breathing stops. Using cocaine and drinking alcohol or using other drugs increases these dangers, including the risk of overdose.

For example, combining cocaine and heroin (known as a “speedball”) puts a person at higher risk of death from an overdose. In rare instances, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or soon after. Among the deaths that occurred from cocaine use, most also included misuse of an opioid of some form, either a prescription pain reliever, heroin, or man-made opioids like fentanyl. [2]

Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says you could have symptoms like:

  • Extreme anxiety or agitation
  • High blood pressure
  • High temperature and sweating
  • Hallucinations

Severe consequences can include:

  • Heart attack
  • Irregular heart rhythm 
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Trouble breathing

How Much Cocaine to Overdose

When a user continues to use cocaine for a long time, there are chances that the drug will impair their nervous system and brain functions inhibiting memory, pleasure, and decision-making.  Once these brain functions begin to fail, it becomes more difficult for the process of cocaine detox because the individual may become incapable of making sound decisions.

For some users, cocaine use can quickly create a strong addiction to the drug, making it very hard to experiment with.  For example, a study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology indicated that cocaine addicts would choose the drug over food.  This strong addiction often makes it difficult to quit without help as those addicted find themselves using it despite the apparent adverse side effects.

Cocaine reacts quickly with the body system to produce a euphoria that may last for about 15 minutes to one hour because these effects depend on the mode of ingestion.  For example, when cocaine is smoked, the impact can be felt after about 30 minutes, while an intravenous injection can take only about five minutes.

Long-term, continued cocaine use quickly leads to late-stage addiction.  In this stage, the risks the user takes on are significant and critical to be aware of.  The most severe of the possible bets are that of overdose and death.

Cocaine Overdose
Cocaine overdose may be deadly, even for first-time users. Call to get treatment for substance use disorders.

Detox encourages healing in a safe, comfortable environment and provides resources for withdrawal that lessen negative symptoms.  With a staff of trained practitioners and caretakers, We Level Up TX gives the ability to detox under the careful eye of professionals.  In addition, we work to maximize comfort, offering over-the-counter and prescription medications as needed, psychological care, and personal support to encourage abstinence from cocaine and other drugs, both today and for years to come. [3]

Symptoms of Cocaine Withdrawal

Withdrawal from certain substances, like alcohol and benzodiazepines, can involve severe physical withdrawal symptoms. However, symptoms of cocaine withdrawal tend to be more mentally severe:

  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Slowed Thinking
  • Slowed activity or physical fatigue after activity
  • Exhaustion
  • Restlessness
  • Inability to experience sexual arousal
  • Anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure
  • Depression or Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams or nightmares
  • Physical symptoms, such as chills, tremors, muscle aches, and nerve pain
  • Increased craving for cocaine
  • Increased appetite

At We Level Up addiction rehabilitation center, we offer 24-hour detox with a medical professional to ensure you withdraw safely, followed by treatment and aftercare planning.  If you’re battling a substance use disorder (SUD) with cocaine or other drugs, please reach out to one of our admissions navigators at We Level Up TX.

Addiction Treatment

Following the completion of a cocaine detox program, several different treatment options help individuals who have been struggling with addiction.  Care can be provided on inpatient services and at various levels of care.  Your addiction treatment team will recommend levels of care depending on your current progress in recovery, your experience with addiction and recovery, your motivation, and your home situation.

Contact us today if you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine abuse or have a history of cocaine overdose because we can help you explore cocaine addiction treatment options and how you can start with recovery.