How To Identify Cocaine and a Cocaine Addiction
Tony Montana once said “say hello to my little friend” and while we know he wasn’t actually talking about cocaine, a large driving force of the movie Scarface was drug use.
Scarface isn’t the first—or only—movie to touch on cocaine and cocaine use. In fact, the list of movies that include or directly potray cocaine use is quite long. Some of these movies include blockbusters like: Sleepless, Bad Lieutenant, L4YER CAKE, Super Fly, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction and so many more.
Cocaine has been used as a staple in Hollywood to underpin the gangster lifestyle in these types of blockbusters. So it probably comes as no surprise that cocaine is one of those substances that we have heard about time and time again. And, according to a survey presented by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 15% of American adults have tried cocaine.
Keep in mind that trying a substance once does not mean there is an addiction nor will it immediately lead to addiction, but it does show us that cocaine is a widely known substance in our communities.
A lot of us may still think of cocaine—or coke—as the drug of the 1980s and 1990s but, it turns out it is still more prevalent today than most of us realize. Within Oregon, as of 2019, we ranked #4 in the country for cocaine use. Finding out that someone has an addiction to cocaine can be tricky and often it requires cocaine rehab.
So, how do we know if someone is using cocaine and how can we tell what it looks like?
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is an addictive drug that is said to “up” levels of alertness, attention, and energy. It belongs to a class of substances known as stimulants. It’s made from the coca plant, which is native to South America.
Cocaine may have been super popular in the 80s and 90s but its history dates back much further. In fact, cocaine being used as a chemical can be traced back over thousands of years. In South American countries like Peru and Colombia, coca leaves (made up of erythroxylon coca) were chewed for their effects.
What Schedule of Drug is Cocaine and Crack?
Within the last 100 years, these naturally occurring plant-based chemicals were purified into what is known as cocaine hydrochloride. Today, cocaine is technically considered what is known as a Schedule II drug.
A “schedule” when referring to medications and drugs is considered a level of how regulated the drug is. For example, Schedule I is the most tightly regulated and those drugs are not considered for use in a medical sense; these are often illegal at both the federal and state levels here in the United States. A Schedule II drug is a regulated drug that can have medical uses.
Research has since found that cocaine is addictive especially with repeated use.
It also has many names, known as street names. These other names for it include:
What Does Cocaine Look Like?
It can also come in different forms. The most common in the United States and in American pop culture is a fine, white powder.
This type of cocaine is generally diluted it with inert substances, which are substances that do not add to the high or effects of the cocaine, such as:
- Talcum powder
Popular Cocaine Cutting Agents
- Procaine (a local anesthetic, something that numbs a small location)
- Amphetamine (another stimulant)
- Heroin—in what is known as a “speedball.”
Cocaine can also be made into a solid rock crystal. This is often known as crack cocaine, rock, or simply crack. This name came from the sound that is made when this type of cocaine is heated up, which is necessary for use.
Most often though, cocaine is snorted in the form of the white powder into the nose. Sometimes it is also rubbed onto gums or dissolved in water and injected with a needle.
What Does Cocaine Smell Like?
Many people wonder if there is a unique smell associated with cocaine and that seems like a natural curiosity since it is known to be snorted.
Some people have suggested that cocaine smells like paint or gasoline where others have said it has an ozone like quality which can be described as “smelling like electricity”. This can further be described as the smell after lightning strikes nearby.
Usually, it is not recommended to smell cocaine to check if it is cocaine at all, as it may cause a reaction upon smelling. The way cocaine works when snorted is that as soon as it enters the nose, the drug will connect with the mucous membranes in the nose. This allows the cocaine to immediately start to cause a reaction and start working to produce feelings of a high or euphoric effect.
It is common to see people checking if cocaine is real or “good” via rubbing it on the gums. This is because it will not immediately cause a reaction but cocaine is known to be a local anesthetic like we saw above. It will start to cause numbness in the gums quickly and can be determined to be cocaine.
We do not recommend that you test out any unknown substances via ingestion or inhalation. Putting unknown substances into the bloodstream either via membranes in the nose or membranes in the mouth can be very dangerous.
What Is Cocaine Addiction?
Cocaine addiction is the chemical and emotional dependency on the substance. These dependencies can come with serious side effects. These side effects could be from use or from withdrawal.
Side Effects of Cocaine
- Extreme sensitivity to touch, sound, and sight
- Intense happiness
- Paranoid feeling
- Decreased appetite
More Cocaine Side Effects
- Convulsions and seizures
- Heart disease, heart attack, and stroke
- Mood problems
- Sexual trouble
- Lung damage
- HIV or hepatitis if you inject it
- Bowel decay if you swallow it
- Loss of smell, nosebleeds, runny nose, and trouble swallowing, if you snort it
Cocaine may lead someone to have strong cravings for the drug and the high it brings. But the more you use cocaine, the more your brain will adapt to it which leads to dependency and tolerance. This means that a stronger dose will be needed to feel the same high.
Stronger, more frequent doses can also cause long-term changes in brain chemistry. The body and mind begin to rely on the substance for those feelings. This can make it harder to think, sleep, and recall things. This can lead to a dangerous addiction or overdose. One of the most dangerous aspects of use is when mixing cocaine with alcohol or other drugs.
Cocaine Identification FAQs
- What does cocaine smell like?
If you read our section above, you know that cocaine is touted to smell like paint, gasoline or “electricity”. Some other descriptions of the smell include: earthy, or like salt. Many people describe the smell differently and in general, upon inhalation of cocaine, it will start to react in your body so it can be hard to both describe or explain.
It also has led to the attempts of finding out if cocaine is considered pure by other methods.
- What does pure cocaine look like?
This is a question that is quite common. It can be hard to tell if cocaine is considered pure simply by looks since it can easily be cut or mixed with substances that look similar. Some of these include things like baby powder, flour, or sugar in some instances and even other drugs or illegal substances.
It can be tricky to know if what you have is pure or not by looking or by any other methods that are readily available. This is part of what makes use so dangerous as you may not know what is in what you are going to ingest, inhale, or inject into your body.
Cocaine use and addiction can be a lot for anyone to handle whether they are the one using or a loved one is using. That is why we are here to help.
You Are Not Alone. Serenity Lane Is Here To Help With Addiction Treatment for Cocaine.
Serenity Lane has been a trusted community provider of addiction treatment services since 1973. Our care services combine 46 years of experience with a medically-informed, multidisciplinary care plan. We treat the whole patient, encourage family involvement, and will create a care plan matched to your individual needs.
You can learn more about our cocaine addiction treatment by calling us at 800-543-9905.