Cocaine Overdose: Symptoms, Stats, & Seeking Help
If you or someone you know is experiencing a cocaine overdose, please call 911.
Using excessive amounts of cocaine in a single sitting can risk overdose, which in severe cases can lead to seizures and death. Cocaine is what is known as a stimulant. Stimulants lead to feelings of high energy.
People who misuse or repeatedly use cocaine may seem revved up and ready to go. They will be energetic and have a peppy energy that is oftentimes unmatched by those around them. They take on tasks with a boundless energy and most of the time they keep on going. A lot of people mistake the way someone acts while using cocaine reguarly as simply a peppy natural energy and uncomparable work ethic. However, it is common that they also appear edgy which can seem unusual when compared to someone who is actually a genuinely peppy person naturally.
Sometimes, the person might also seem a little frantic and manic. This can lead to wild ideas and low impulse control. Looking for that can help families and friends to separate the truly energetic from the chemically imbalanced. It can be crucial during these times to get cocaine addiction treatments before it is too late.
Can You Overdose on Cocaine?
The short answer is yes. Absolutely, you can overdose on cocaine. The long answer is that yes, and cocaine overdoses occur when too much of the drug is taken and it overwhelms the body’s systems.
When the amount of cocaine used reaches toxic levels in the body, extreme reactions occur. When it comes to using substances, having too much of any outside substance can lead to a toxic reaction in the body. So, the use of too much cocaine, or of mixing cocaine with another substance, will potentially poison the body.
What makes overdose complicated is that sometimes overdose, particualrly cocaine overdose, is not solely dictated by the amount taken. You can actually end up accidentally overdosing after only a few hundred milligrams of cocaine. Some other people may be able to take a few grams, which is a few thousand milligrams, and not overdose. Risk for overdose for cocaine is wildly unpredictable.
This is because cocaine potency varies widely since the drug is made on the street. Realistically, you can’t know exactly how much cocaine is in the batch purchased. Cocaine can also be cut or laced with other drugs, like heroin or fentanyl. This is often the case with drugs like cocaine that are made on the street. This increases the risk of overdose in users.
The types of changes you can notice in yourself or a loved one due to cocaine use or mild overdose can be kind of intimidating. Some changes you may want to look out for are:
- Physiological Changes
- Unusual Behavior
- Bluish Skin
- Difficulty Breathing Or Rapid Breathing
Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose
Cocaine increases central nervous system functions, which is in part why it is known as a stimulant. When someone takes cocaine, physically they will experience an increase in core body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
In overdoses, these side effects are extreme. The symptoms of cocaine overdose will vary from one person to the next, but the following signs are common in cocaine overdoses:
- Elevated blood pressure and heart rate
- Changes in respiration
- Chest pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Paranoia and hallucinations
- Excited delirium
Cocaine Overdose Statistics
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health(NSDUH), within 2014 there were 1.5 million users of cocaine aged 12 and older.
The same study also found that approximately 913,000 Americans met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (also known as the DSM-5) criteria for dependence on cocaine. We also saw in 2011, as reported by the Drug Abuse Warning Network, that cocaine was involved in 505,224 of the 1.3 million visits to emergency rooms for drug use. That means that one in four drug use emergency department visits involved cocaine. That makes up a whopping 24% of all ER visits.
More recently, we have also seen that 1.4% of adults in that age range reported use of cocaine within the month of the survey.
These numbers can tell us a lot, but they don’t tell us one very important piece of information: what do we do next?
Treatment for Cocaine Use
People who use cocaine frequently can tend to become dreadfully thin. This is because cocaine seems to depress the appetite. People taking cocaine don’t feel the need to eat regularly, and often stay awake and moving for long periods. This leads to burning a lot of calories—more than they are taking in. This can be dangerous in and of itself.
Cocaine can also cause behavioral changes. People that use cocaine may seem secretive and shy. Some will suggest they need a great deal of privacy throughout the day and night. Not to mention the financial toll it can take—in general Americans can expect to pay about $100-150 per gram for “pure powder”. This terms is used because it describes the appearance of cocaine. Sometimes, the constant borrowing of money is the first sign of addiction or substance use that a family member notices. When families see the signs and choose to take action, they’ll need to communicate with treatment programs and arrange for enrollment.
There are a lot of programs to choose from and of course a lot of factors to consider, when looking for the right cocaine addiction rehab setting. For some, the risk of relapse is high, this may especially be true when they continue to live at home. Or maybe long-term friendships with people who use cocaine put them into a situation that makes it hard to say no. Or it may be hard to stay away from dealers and pushers in the neighborhood.
Science also suggests that some people may feel deep cravings for cocaine when they see specific locations or faces. Portions of the brain activated by cocaine call out for the drug when these triggers are seen.
Some programs include an inpatient level of care, meaning that someone moves out of the home and into the facility for around-the-clock supervision and assistance. An inpatient setting is one of the best options for these reasons, as it removes the triggers altogether. This is often how detox programs are set up and further inpatient care follows immediately after.
Other programs provide what is known as outpatient care, so people can continue to live at home while working on their addictions. These allow for those concerned about their family lives, work lives, or even the stigma around seeking care to get the help they need on their own time.
For some people, family members and friends provide both support and understanding. Maybe they need their community to motivate them to stay in treatment, and need the routine of home and work in order to stay on track with treatment.
Overdose on Cocaine FAQs
How much cocaine does it take to overdose?
This is a hard question to answer because it is different for everyone. It is less important the amount taken and more important to focus on the fact that substances like cocaine that are purchased on the street may be laced with a series of other substances that can make overdose more likely.
What happens when you overdose on cocaine?
Overdose can lead to symptoms and feelings that include headaches, vomiting, chest pain and more. When you overdose, if not given treatment the results can be fatal. If given treatment you will be admitted to an ER and hopefully can attend treatment after discharge.
What to do for cocaine overdose?
The best thing you can do if you think you or a loved one is experiencing an overdose is to call 911 or go to your closest ER. It is better to be safe rather than not when it comes to overdoses and other medical emergencies. Next, we recommend you seek care at an addiction treatment facility like Serenity Lane.
Seeking Care for Cocaine Addiction and Overdose With Serenity Lane in Oregon
If you or a loved one has tried treatment programs before with limited or no success, Serenity Lane is here to help. Our compassionate clinicians use industry-led techniques that give you the tools you need to ensure the best outcome.
It’s time for a long-term program that actually works. Call us today at 800-543-9905 to speak with one of our licensed healthcare professionals.