Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Cocaine addiction

Cocaine addiction
beginning of content

Cocaine

2-minute read

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that is associated with many serious consequences. Cocaine users may feel that it helps them have a good time, but users risk health issues as well as financial and social problems. Cocaine use has also been linked to criminal behaviour and can be fatal.

What is cocaine?

Cocaine is made from the leaves of the South American coca bush and is a stimulant, which means it speeds up the messages going to and from your brain.

Cocaine is a white powder with a bitter, numbing taste that comes in three main forms: cocaine hydrochloride, freebase and crack.

Cocaine hydrochloride is mixed with other substances and typically snorted through the nose, or injected, rubbed into the gums or added to food and drinks. Freebase and crack cocaine are usually smoked.

Cocaine is also called blow, Charlie, dust, flake, nose candy, snow, white, crack, rock and freebase.

Cocaine effects

People who use cocaine get a rush, making them feel happy, confident and alert. But they also have a racing heart, tremors, reduced appetite, overheating and sweating. People who use cocaine regularly can have fits, poor sexual performance, kidney failure, poor mental function and an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases by sharing needles. Snorting cocaine can also damage the inside of your nose including destroying the septum (middle part) of your nose, leading to collapse of the nose. Cocaine can harm your unborn baby if you use it while you are pregnant.

An overdose can cause seizures, or a stroke or a heart attack, leading to coma and death. If you think someone has overdosed on cocaine, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance. Ambulance officers don’t have to call the police.

Coming down from cocaine can result in several days of anxiety, depression and exhaustion.

Find out about cocaine’s mental health effects.

Cocaine addiction

Cocaine is highly addictive. Withdrawal symptoms last for up to 10 weeks, but intermittent cravings for cocaine can last much longer. Withdrawal symptoms include cravings, agitation, anxiety, an inability to feel pleasure and lack of energy.

Find information about how to find help on the Drug Help website or by calling the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2019

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Cocaine | Drugs | ReachOut Australia

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that can cause long term impact on overall health. Read on to know how Cocaine addiction can affect you.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Cocaine - Better Health Channel

Cocaine is a highly addictive illegal stimulant that has serious side effects.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Cocaine - Alcohol and Drug Foundation

Cocaine is a stimulant drug, which means that it speeds up the messages travelling between the brain and the rest of the body.

Read more on Alcohol and Drug Foundation website

Cocaine: tolerance and dependence - myDr.com.au

After prolonged use, cocaine is highly addictive and with regular use, larger amounts of cocaine are needed to get the same effect.

Read more on myDr website

Amphetamines and Cocaine - Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre

Amphetamines and Cocaine Amphetamines and cocaine are stimulants

Read more on Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet website

Cocaine: what are the effects? - myDr.com.au

Read about the various effects of taking cocaine from the immediate effects of the rush to the crash that can follow afterwards and the long-term effects of cocaine use.

Read more on myDr website

Cocaine: use with other drugs - myDr.com.au

Snorting and injecting cocaine can result in long-term effects on your health.

Read more on myDr website

Cocaine: what is it? - myDr.com.au

Cocaine is a stimulant drug and is made from the leaves of the coca bush. It is most commonly snorted.

Read more on myDr website

What Is Cocaine & The Effects on Mental Health | headspace

Cocaine use and mental health is an issue that effects many young people. Learn more about the affects of cocaine and how you can get help from headspace..

Read more on headspace website

Cocaine Side Effects, Addiction & Overdose | Your Room

Cocaine is a stimulant drug with many side effects. Find out what to do in the case of addiction or overdose and places to get help and treatment.

Read more on NSW Health website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo