Updated on February 6, 2024
6 min read

How to Get Help for Injecting Cocaine

Key Takeaways

Can You Inject Cocaine?

Yes, you can take it through intravenous injection. The powdered form of cocaine can be dissolved in water and injected into your body.

Injecting cocaine releases the drug directly into the bloodstream resulting in a fast and intense high. However, when you inject cocaine, you put yourself at risk of an overdose.

Aside from injecting cocaine, there are other ways to use cocaine. You can snort cocaine or rub the drug on your gums. Meanwhile, crack cocaine is smoked.


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Side Effects of Injecting Cocaine

When you inject cocaine, you’ll begin to feel intense feelings of:

  • Energy or talkativeness
  • Euphoria
  • Alertness
  • Hypersensitivity to light, sight, sound, and touch

However, injecting cocaine has short and long-term side effects. These effects appear almost instantly after consumption and typically last a few minutes to an hour.

Short-Term Side Effects of Injecting Cocaine 

Injecting cocaine can lead to various physical and mental health risks, these include:

  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Panic and paranoia 
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo
  • Muscle twitches

Long-Term Side Effects of Injecting Cocaine

Long-term cocaine abuse leads to puncture marks at the injection site, known as tracks. This increases your chance of contracting diseases like HIV and hepatitis C.

The risk of contracting infectious diseases is increased when you share dirty needles. Other long-term side effects of cocaine include:

  • Chest pain
  • Soft tissue infections
  • Increased irritability 
  • Panic attacks
  • Allergic reactions to additives found in street cocaine
  • Organ damage
  • Gastrointestinal complications leading to ulcers
  • Weight loss and malnourishment
  • Increased risk of stroke and seizures
  • Inflammation of heart muscles
  • Cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and arrhythmia
  • Neurological problems, including bleeding in the brain
  • Movement disorders, including Parkinson’s Disease
  • Cognitive impairment 
  • Psychosis leading to hallucinations
  • Death

Regular cocaine use will build your tolerance, meaning you’ll need frequent and higher doses of cocaine to experience the same high as before. This can also lead to withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the drug.

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Recognizing the Signs of Cocaine Addiction 

You can develop a cocaine addiction no matter how you use it. If you notice any of the following, it may indicate that you’re developing or suffering from cocaine addiction:

  • Agitation
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Extreme depression
  • Recurrent upper respiratory tract infections
  • Paranoia
  • Persistent runny nose

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

A cocaine overdose happens when you take enough of it to become toxic, causing a severe reaction. An overdose can be dangerous, life-threatening, and requires immediate medical attention.

The symptoms of a cocaine overdose include:

  • Sweating
  • Increased body temperature
  • Fast-beating heart
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium

Opioids are associated with numerous overdose deaths. In 2016 the National Institute on Drug Abuse figures show a 1.6-fold increase in cocaine overdose deaths from 2010.

How to Treat a Cocaine Overdose

There is no specific medication to reverse a cocaine overdose. Treatment for an overdose depends on the symptoms and the user’s history of drug use. 

Because a cocaine overdose can lead to a seizure or heart complications, medical personnel will treat the overdose by:

  • Stopping the seizure 
  • Restoring blood flow to the heart in the event of a heart attack
  • Restoring oxygen-rich blood supply to the impacted area of the brain in the event of a stroke

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Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

When you become physically and psychologically dependent on cocaine, you may feel withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it. This is because your body can no longer function properly without the drug.

These symptoms can be unpleasant and last for one to two weeks. They can even cause you to relapse despite the negative consequences of using cocaine.

Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:

  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Concentration problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Intense cravings for cocaine
  • Aches and pains all over the body
  • Tremors and shakiness
  • Chills

While highly unpleasant, cocaine withdrawal symptoms are rarely medical emergencies. However, some people may suffer from suicidal thoughts.

Treatment Options for Cocaine Abuse & Addiction

Like drug or alcohol addiction, cocaine addiction requires medical attention. If left untreated, cocaine addiction can have negative physical and mental health consequences. Fortunately, there are various treatment programs available to help you recover. 

Available treatment options include:

Rehabilitation programs at a treatment center dramatically increase your chances of recovering from abuse. Talk to a medical professional or an addiction specialist to help find the right treatment plan for your needs.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine, or cocaine hydrochloride, is a highly addictive drug derived from coca leaves. When ingested, the Erythroxylon coca from the leaves produces heightened alertness and euphoric effects.

Cocaine is considered a Schedule II stimulant drug. This means it has a high potential for addiction and dependence. 

However, it does have legitimate medical uses as local anesthesia for some eye, throat, and ear surgeries. Cocaine is described as a fine white powder and is often referred to as:

  • Coke 
  • Snow
  • Powder

What are the Two Types of Cocaine?

There are two chemical forms of cocaine. A water-soluble hydrochloride salt and a water-insoluble cocaine base or freebase, often referred to as crack cocaine.

The former is a powdery substance, while the latter is often described as a rock. The main difference between these two forms is the chemical makeup and how they’re used. 

Recent studies show that about 1.4 million Americans 12 years and older suffer from a stimulant use disorder. Most of these people have a cocaine use disorder. If you or someone you know is abusing cocaine, seek help immediately.

How Does Cocaine Work?

As a highly addictive stimulant drug, cocaine use can manipulate the central nervous system. This includes neurotransmitters like dopamine which regulates your brain’s pleasure and reward system.

Cocaine increases dopamine activity in your brain, resulting in positive reinforcement in the brain. Because of this, long-term cocaine use can lead to addiction, dependence, and tolerance.

How cocaine affects you can vary depending on a few factors. These include:

  • How you use cocaine
  • How much cocaine was used
  • The purity of cocaine
  • How long cocaine was used


Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant that can lead to substance abuse and dependence. Cocaine affects your brain's reward center to increase feelings of euphoria to promote addiction.

Cocaine produces an intense high and can be snorted, ingested, injected, or smoked. Injecting cocaine can be extremely dangerous and lead to deadly diseases like hepatitis C or HIV.

Cocaine abuse can lead to dangerous long-term health complications. Fortunately, various treatment programs help you achieve lasting recovery.

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Updated on February 6, 2024

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