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Cocaine Fact Sheet

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine originates from the coca plant and is a white powder that can be snorted or dissolved in water and injected. Crack cocaine is a smokable form, in various sized crystals, it is heated and the vapours smoked.

What are the Effects?

Cocaine is a strong stimulant that interferes with chemical messengers associated with pleasure and movement. A cocaine buzz gives you confidence and energy, though there is a chance of restlessness, irritability and aggression.

Cocaine has a tendency to decrease appetite and many users can become malnourished. Depression and paranoia are common side effects .

What are the Risks?

Persistent use of cocaine can effect mental health and withdrawal symptoms include anxiety and irritability. Crack cocaine can be more addictive with more extreme side effects. Snorting cocaine can lead to loss of sense of smell and permanent damage to the tissues in the nose.


Increased body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure are commonplace and prolonged use can cause heart problems and chest pains. It is possible to die from cocaine overdose, but most deaths are caused by heart failure or strokes.

Cocaine use during pregnancy can lead to birth defects and low birthweight babies. There is also a chance that the baby may be born addicted to the drug.

The Law

Cocaine is a Class A drug. It is illegal to produce, supply or possess it. The maximum penalty for possession of drugs is seven years in prison or a fine. For supply: a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine.

Use in the UK

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) report said 2% of Britons used cocaine.

How do I seek help?

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