Looking for Signs of Cocaine Use
Cocaine and crack may both be sold in very small plastic bags or vials. Powdered cocaine is a fine, white powder that numbs the tongue if it is tasted. Crack cocaine comes in small off-white, irregularly shaped rocks.
Powder cocaine is usually snorted but can be dissolved and injected. It is occasionally ingested but this can lead to serious and even fatal digestive problems. Crack cocaine is smoked for an instantaneous high. You may find tiny spoons or scoops, syringes or small glass pipes that look burnt and coated with residue. There may be tightly rolled dollar bills or straws used to snort the drugs.
Physical and Mental Effects
- Rapid onset of effects with a short duration.
- Excitement, stimulation, delusionally amplified senses of confidence and self-worth, unusually increased energy, loss of appetite, awake for long periods, unusually focused.
- Dilated pupils. Dry or cracked lips (when smoked). Frequent rubbing of nose (when snorted).
- High-dose use can result in aggression, panic, suicidal or homicidal tendencies. Paranoia and hallucinations may also occur, especially after binges of cocaine use.
- Long-term snorting of cocaine can lead to a loss of the sense of smell, sinus infections.
- Long-term smoking of cocaine can lead to lung damage that causes chest pain, breathing problems and fever.
- Termination of use may be followed by depression and intense fatigue.
The effects of powder cocaine last a very short time, around a half hour or a little longer. People will often binge on this drug if they have enough money, staying up for days until they finally hit a physical crash or run out of the drug.
Crack cocaine lasts an even shorter time, between five to ten minutes. Crack cravings are some of the strongest of any drug. This is what makes this drug so highly and quickly addictive. A person addicted to crack needs more of the drug throughout the day. This often leads to criminal acts to keep the drug coming — assault, prostitution, robbery and the like.
A person abusing cocaine will usually disappear every once in a while to restore the high.