In The Know Zone


Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Use

In the short term, cocaine can cause:

  • Talkativeness and sociability
  • Extreme mental alertness
  • Nervousness and jumpiness
  • Anxiety, especially about being caught using
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Diminished decision-making ability
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors and dizziness
  • Muscle twitches and spasms
  • Lost self-control
  • Violent behavior
  • Dry mouth
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Decreased appetite
  • Abdominal pain and nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Fever
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Impotence combined with excessive interest in sex

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use

There is no safe way to use cocaine! The health risks become much worse when combined with alcohol or other drugs. Alcohol and cocaine combined produce cocaethylene, which intensifies cocaine's effects and may increase the risk of sudden death. Cocaine's many dangers include:

Neurological Effects

  • Headaches
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Heart Disease

  • Altered heart rhythm
  • Chest pain
  • Very high or very low blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Endocarditis -- Heart infection
  • Stroke
  • Sudden death

Lung Damage and Disease

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Ruptured lung structures
  • Collapsed lung
  • Respiratory failure

Psychological Damage

  • Irritability and mood disturbances
  • Auditory hallucinations (imaginary sounds that seem real)
  • Formication - The sensation that insects are crawling under the skin

Reproductive System Damage

  • Sexual dysfunction in both males and females
  • Menstrual cycle disturbances
  • Infertility in both males and females

Danger During Pregnancy

  • Miscarriage, premature delivery, or stillbirth of pregnancies
  • Addicted newborns
  • Low birth weight, smaller head size, and shorter length in newborns
  • Deformities in newborns of addicted mothers or addicted fathers

Other Damage

  • Burns in mouth and on hands from smoking
  • "Tracks" - puncture marks on arms or wherever injections are made
  • Infections and sores associated with injection tracks
  • Incontinence (inability to control urination and/or bowel movements)
  • Allergic reactions to cocaine or the additives in street drugs
  • Brain infections - both bacterial and fungal, sometimes leading to abcesses
  • Weight loss and malnourishment due to decreased appetite for food
  • Gangrene (rot) of bowels and other body parts from lack of bloodflow
  • More risk-taking behavior, including unsafe sex
  • Increased risk of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, either from unsafe sex or using infected needles
In The Know: Substance Abuse Pamphlet/ DVD Package
In The Know: Substance Abuse DVD Package