June 26, 2024

5 Cocaine Myths Debunked

image of two people depicting talking about cocaine myths

Many people believe in cocaine myths that can be very dangerous. Learn the truth about this drug to stay safe and healthy as we dispel myths about cocaine and show you how to get effective treatment.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is an addictive drug that makes people feel very energetic for a short time. It comes from the leaves of the coca plant.

Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, meaning it can be used by doctors for some medical purposes, like numbing areas during surgeries, but it has a high potential for misuse.

There are two main forms of cocaine: a powder form (cocaine hydrochloride) and a rock form called crack or freebase. The powder form is snorted or sometimes injected, while the rock form is smoked. Crack is made by mixing cocaine with baking soda and water, then heating it. It makes a crackling sound when smoked, which is how it got its name.

Cocaine can be used in different ways: snorted through the nose, rubbed on the gums, injected with a needle, or smoked. When snorted, the powder is inhaled through the nostrils and absorbed through the nasal tissues. Rubbing it on the gums allows it to be absorbed through the mouth. Injecting cocaine dissolves it in water and puts it directly into the bloodstream, making its effects very strong. Smoking cocaine involves inhaling its vapor or smoke into the lungs for a quick and intense effect.

Cocaine use can vary from occasional to frequent and compulsive. No matter how it is used, cocaine can cause serious health problems, like heart attacks, strokes, or seizures, which can lead to sudden death.

5 Cocaine Myths

The following 5 myths about cocaine are widely believed, even though they misrepresent the dangers of this potent stimulant.

Myth 1: Cocaine is a performance-enhancing drug

Many people believe that using cocaine can make them perform better at work or in sports. This is not true. 

While cocaine might give a short burst of energy, it quickly wears off and leaves the person feeling tired and unfocused. The brief high can create a sense of increased alertness, but this is followed by a crash that worsens concentration and physical performance.

Long-term use can lead to serious health problems, like heart attacks and strokes. Beyond this, regular use of cocaine can lead to mental health issues like anxiety, paranoia, and depression, all of which negatively impact overall performance in any activity.

Myth 2: It takes a long time to get addicted to cocaine

Some people think it takes a long time to become addicted to cocaine. The truth is that addiction can happen very quickly. 

Even after just one use, a person can start craving more of the drug. Cocaine changes the way the brain works by increasing levels of dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel happy. Over time, the brain gets used to high dopamine levels and stops producing it naturally. This makes it hard to feel happy without the drug, leading to a cycle of use that is challenging to break. 

Many people find themselves addicted to cocaine after only a few uses, struggling with intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop.

Myth 3: Cocaine is safe to use if you snort the drug

A common myth is that snorting cocaine is safe. This is false. Snorting cocaine can damage the inside of the nose, causing nosebleeds, infections, and even a hole in the septum, the tissue between the nostrils. This damage can lead to chronic nose problems and loss of sense of smell. 

Additionally, snorting cocaine puts a strain on the heart, increasing the risk of heart attacks and irregular heartbeats. Cocaine use also raises blood pressure, which can cause strokes. No way of using cocaine is safe, and it can hurt your body in many ways.

Myth 4: Cocaine is not addictive in the same way as crack

Some people believe that cocaine is not as addictive as crack. This is not true. Both cocaine and crack are forms of the same drug, and both can be highly addictive. 

The difference lies in how they are processed and used. People snort or inject cocaine, and smoke crack cocaine. Smoking delivers the drug to the brain faster, leading to a quicker and more intense high. However, both forms of cocaine are equally addictive because they both affect the brain’s reward system in the same way. 

People who use either form can quickly develop dependence and suffer from intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Myth 5: Cocaine is an aphrodisiac

Some think that cocaine can improve their sex life, but this is a myth. While it might lower inhibitions and increase sexual desire for a short time, cocaine use often leads to problems like erectile dysfunction and decreased libido. In the long run, cocaine can harm relationships and sexual health. 

Cocaine addiction can also lead to neglect of personal relationships, creating emotional distance and strain between partners.

an image of people discussing 5 myths about cocaine

5 Cocaine Facts

Here are 5 facts about cocaine and crack cocaine.

Fact 1: Cocaine is a powerful stimulant

Cocaine is a strong stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. It speeds up messages between the brain and the body, making the person feel energetic and alert for a short time. However, this is followed by a crash that can make them feel tired and depressed. The stimulating effects of cocaine can also increase heart rate and blood pressure, leading to serious health risks.

Fact 2: All cocaine overdoses can be life-threatening

Using too much cocaine can lead to a life-threatening overdose. Signs of an overdose include very high blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, trouble breathing, seizures, and extreme agitation. In severe cases, an overdose can cause heart attacks, strokes, or death. Seek emergency medical help immediately if an overdose is suspected.

Fact 3: Cocaine use can cause severe health problems

Using cocaine can lead to many health issues. Short-term effects include increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and a risk of heart attack or stroke. Long-term use can cause severe damage to the heart, lungs, and brain. It can also lead to mental health problems like anxiety, paranoia, and depression. Cocaine use can damage the nasal passages and lungs, depending on how it is taken.

Fact 4: All forms of cocaine are highly addictive

Cocaine is highly addictive, no matter how it is used. Both powdered cocaine and crack cocaine affect the brain’s reward system, leading to strong cravings and dependence. Cocaine addiction can develop quickly, sometimes after just a few uses. This makes it very difficult for people to stop independently and often requires professional treatment.

Fact 5: Treatment is available for cocaine addiction

If you or a loved one is fighting cocaine addiction, help is available. Many treatment options, including therapy, support groups, and medical treatment, can support recovery. Recovery is possible with the right help and support. Seek professional assistance to overcome addiction safely, effectively, and sustainably.

Cocaine Addiction | FAQs

Is cocaine addictive?

Yes, cocaine is highly addictive. It affects the brain’s reward system, leading to strong cravings and dependence even after a few uses.

What are the harmful effects of cocaine addiction?

Cocaine addiction can cause serious health issues like heart attacks, strokes, and severe mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Long-term use can damage the heart, lungs, brain, and other organs.

Can anyone get addicted to cocaine?

Yes, anyone can get addicted to cocaine. it doesn’t matter your age, background, or how you use the drug – the risk of addiction is high for everyone who tries it.


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Get Evidence-Based, Compassionate Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

At Gratitude Lodge, we treat all types of addictions, including cocaine addiction. We have welcoming and pet-friendly rehabs in Long Beach and Newport Beach where you can begin your recovery.

While there are no medications for cocaine withdrawal, medical detox at Gratitude Lodge makes the process safer and easier. It also helps you to move smoothly into inpatient treatment at one of our rehabs by the beach.

All cocaine addictions are different, so expect personalized treatment that may include the following:

If you’re struggling with cocaine addiction, call our recovery experts today at 800-994-2184.

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Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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