5 Signs of a Cocaine Overdose

cocaine overdose is incredibly dangerous

The Social Consequences of Cocaine Overdose

Drug overdose deaths skyrocketed in 2020. Cocaine overdose deaths have risen in a short time. Over a period of 5 years (2013 – 2018), cocaine overdoses tripled. Cocaine overdose deaths continue to increase across all age groups. In 2020, 4.1% of 12th graders said they had used cocaine at some point during their lives. 2.9% of that group admitted to consuming cocaine within the last month.


Cocaine overdose brings consequences both to society and to the individual. As members of that society, we must equip ourselves. We owe ourselves such preparation. And we likewise owe it to those around us.


In this article, Recovery By The Sea examines the following:


  • What exactly is cocaine and where does it come from?
  • How does cocaine effect the body?
  • What are the signs of a cocaine overdose?
  • How can long-term cocaine use effect one’s life?
  • What if I want help for cocaine use?


What Exactly Is Cocaine And Where Does It Come From?

We can trace cocaine’s historical origins to the Incan people of South America. These ancient peoples chewed the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine as we know it came about in 1860. German chemist Albert Niemann gave us the synthetic form in use today. After Niemann, scientists continued to experiment with cocaine. Eventually, they introduced it into the field of medicine.


One form of cocaine looks like a white powder. Consumers of this form will inhale or snort it. Or, they might rub it into their gums. Another form of cocaine, referred to as “crack,” gets heated and then smoked. Crack purports to be even more potent than powder cocaine.


How Does Cocaine Effect The Mind?

We classify cocaine as a stimulant. This means that it acts on the processes of the brain. Cocaine makes these processes run faster. Our brains create a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine helps us feel good when we get something we want. Our bodies may make it when we eat, when we achieve a goal, or when someone praises us. Cocaine causes us to retain too much dopamine in our brains at one time.


A cocaine high makes a person more awake and aware. They may feel a surge of confidence. Alternatively, they may also experience heightened senses of fear and hypervigilance. Cocaine increases anxiety.


How Does Cocaine Effect the Body?

In addition to the mind, cocaine also wreaks havoc on the body. It causes the blood pressure to rise. Cocaine also raises the body temperature and heart rate. For these reasons, cocaine can cause lasting damage to the heart and lungs. It can even induce a heart attack.


What Are the Signs of A Cocaine Overdose?

Most cocaine overdose symptoms will likely originate in the heart. Cocaine interferes with proper oxygen flow in the heart and lungs. It also disrupts proper blood circulation. Someone experiencing an overdose may complain of tightness or pain in the chest. Their breathing may appear shallow, quick, and ragged. Likewise, look for dizziness, vomiting, and tremors.


In extreme cases, someone overdosing may experience a condition called cocaine-induced agitated delirium. This phenomenon remains rare, but it happens very quickly. Cocaine-induced agitated delirium causes the heart to beat erratically (or not at all). An extremely high fever, called hyperthermia, can become fatal if not addressed properly.


What Should I Do If I Believe Someone Has Overdosed On Cocaine?

If you believe that someone near you has overdosed on cocaine, remain calm. First and foremost, you must steady yourself. Call 911 and ask for an ambulance. Make sure you know the address of your location. If not, provide the 911 dispatcher with the nearest intersection.


If the overdosing person remains conscious, do your best to keep them calm. An overdosing person may panic. Do not attempt to restrain them. Doing so may put you in harm’s way. When paramedics arrive, recount everything you saw the person do prior to the overdose.


How Can Long-Term Cocaine Use Effect One’s Life?

Cocaine interrupts how our brains experience stress. When faced with stress, long-term consumers tend to retreat to it. Long-term use of cocaine also short-circuits our prefrontal cortex. This part of our brain governs our decisions and our ability to change our behavior. Consumers of cocaine experience severe anxiety. Cardiovascular problems tend to develop as use continues.


Prolonged cocaine use damages the mouth and nose. Nosebleeds become common. The inner tissue of the nasal passages deteriorates over time. Long-term consumers of cocaine may have trouble tasting or smelling.


What If I Want Help For Cocaine Use?

As we have observed, cocaine can have debilitating effects on the body and the mind. Together, we can prevent cocaine overdoses and deaths. Recovery By The Sea exists to see people liberated from addiction.


If you or someone that you love struggles with cocaine addiction, act now. Pick up the phone and call us. Or, send us a quick email.


Cocaine Addiction Treatment in FL

cocaine addiction treatment

The Best Cocaine Addiction Treatment In FL

You arrived here for a reason. You have been looking for cocaine addiction treatment in FL. Perhaps you seek treatment for yourself. Or, you have had an up-close-and-personal look at someone else suffering from cocaine addiction. You have had enough. Decided that the time has come for something to change. Welcome to next step in your journey.


Recovery By The Sea will give you some of the answers you look for. Here, we will consider these items:


  • Where did cocaine come from?
  • Short-term effects of cocaine use.
  • Long-term effects of cocaine use.
  • What is cocaine addiction treatment like?
  • More information about cocaine addiction treatment.


Where Did Cocaine Come From?

Ancient civilizations chewed the leaves of the coca plant (Erythroxylon coca). Beginning in the 1860s, chemists isolated cocaine from the coca plant. The following decades saw cocaine introduced into the medical industry. Slowly but surely, it gained acceptance among physicians. Sigmund Freud, an important figure in the development of psychology, battled cocaine addiction himself.


How Do People Use Cocaine?

As a powder, people typically inhale or snort cocaine. Or, they might rub it into their gums. Cocaine also comes in a crystal variety. We refer to this form as “crack.” Consumers of crack will melt it and then smoke it. Crack cocaine tends to have greater strength than powder cocaine. On the street, people may refer to cocaine as:


  • Snow
  • Flake
  • Icing
  • Pearl
  • Coke

What Does Cocaine Do To The Mind?

Researchers designate cocaine as a stimulant. This means that it causes all the body’s processes. Under the influence of cocaine, anything the brain does will speed up. For this reason, people tend to become more alert and on edge. They may experience sensory date more quickly or more intense than when sober. Cocaine works by manipulating the absorption of the neurotransmitter dopamine.


What Are The Short-Term Effects Of Cocaine Use?

Dopamine rewards us when we get something good. It makes us feel pleasure when we meet a goal. If you eat your favorite meal, your brain makes dopamine. When you speak to a loved one, your brain churns out dopamine. Cocaine causes dopamine to remain in the brain for too long. People on cocaine can become irritable and angry. They may exhibit fear, anxiety, or paranoia.


What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Cocaine Use?

If a person continues to consume cocaine, they risk cocaine use disorder (CUD). Cocaine use disorder represents a particular substance use disorder. If a person compulsively consumes cocaine, particularly when stressed, they may have cocaine use disorder. Currently, no medications exist to specifically treat CUD.


Long-term cocaine use can devastate the body. Cocaine wears away the skin of the nose and mouth. Consequently, consumers of cocaine can lose their senses of smell and taste. Further prolonged use can wear away these tissues. Nosebleeds afflict both short-term and long-term consumers. If left without medical attention, this can lead to “coke nose.” Smoking crack can destroy the lungs. Long-term consumers of cocaine also risk exposure to HIV and hepatitis.


Cocaine And The Cardiovascular System

Cocaine increases the heart rate. It also raises the temperature and blood pressure. This can lead to conditions like hyperthermia. Hyperthermia involves a remarkably high fever that becomes difficult to control. Conditions like these put cocaine consumers at risk for decreased blood and oxygen flow. As a result, long-term consumers expose themselves to heart attacks.

Cocaine Overdoses

Between 2013 and 2018, cocaine overdoses tripled. Cocaine overdoses also increased in 2020. Because of its effects on the cardiovascular system, cocaine brings the dilemma of overdose. An overdose occurs when a person consumes too much of a substance. Their bodies cannot adequately deal with the stress the substance causes. Overdoses can stop the breath, and cause loss of consciousness.

What Is Cocaine Addiction Treatment Like?

As mentioned earlier, no prescriptions exist to treat cocaine use disorder. However, research into effective cocaine treatment continues. Cocaine does not just influence dopamine. It also acts on other neurotransmitters like:


  • Norepinephrine: motivates the brain and body to act
  • Serotonin: influences how we feel, learn, and remember
  • Gamma-aminobutyric acid: slows our brains down
  • Glutamate: tells nerve cells to communicate with other nerve cells


Scientists have begun studying medications that act on these neurotransmitters. Some of them may help reduce relapse in those suffering from cocaine use disorder.

What If I Want More Information About Cocaine Addiction Treatment?

Recovery By The Sea offers evidence-based, research-backed treatment for cocaine addiction in FL. Remember that hope exists. If you struggle, you do now struggle alone. If you know someone who struggles, do not allow them to feel isolated.


We feel grateful you read this far. Do not let this be the end of your efforts. Contact Recovery By The Sea today for more information.



Can You Overdose on Cocaine?

Can You Overdose on Cocaine? | Recovery By The Sea

Cocaine is a remarkably dangerous and powerful illicit stimulant drug that works by increasing the concentration of dopamine in the brain, a neurochemical responsible for feelings of reward and euphoria. This high can become very desirable, and anyone who uses cocaine, even once, is indeed at risk of experiencing a life-threatening overdose.

Powdered cocaine is white and is most commonly snorted, but can also be mixed with water and injected intravenously. In this form, a cocaine habit can be quite costly, but is still commonly abused and accounts for more than 500,000 emergency room visits each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths involving cocaine increased from 3,822 to nearly 14,000 from 1999-2017. 

One reason that cocaine overdoses continue to rise is due to an increased propensity for drug users to combine cocaine with opioids. This practice is commonly known as “speedballing,” which can lead to dangerous drug interactions and death.

Crack Cocaine

There has also been a rise in the use of crack, which is a less pure but highly-concentrated form of cocaine that is usually smoked. Crack can be derived from powdered cocaine by diluting it and adding other substances (usually baking soda), and it is less expensive than its pricey counterpart. The mixture is boiled to form a solid, which is then cooled, broken into pieces, and sold on the street as crack. It appears as a rock-like substance that is usually white, cream, tan, or light brown.

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

In most instances, cocaine overdose symptoms are very pronounced versions of the drug’s typical effects. Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system (CNS), and in doing so, produces an invigorating high. An overdose will intensify these effects to an extent in which the body is unable to handle. This overstimulation can result in a number of worrisome symptoms, including the following:

  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Twitching and tremors
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Stroke

The euphoria of cocaine can distract a person from these symptoms, many of which can cause irreversible damage. Chronic, heavy cocaine users are at high risk for heart attacks, strokes, seizures, coma, and death.

Can You Overdose on Cocaine? | Recovery By The Sea

Cocaine Overdose Signs

If you suspect someone you know may be experiencing an overdose, there are several warning signs to look for, including the following:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • High body temperature
  • Talkativeness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Confusion
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation and aggression
  • Teeth grinding or chattering
  • Excessive sweating
  • Respiratory or kidney failure
  • Cerebral hypoxia
  • Heart attack

Cocaine overdoses can ravage the human cardiovascular system. If you notice that the above signs are present following cocaine use, it is vital to seek emergency medical help by calling 911 or visiting the nearest emergency room promptly. Death from a cocaine overdose can happen rapidly, so time is of the essence in these situations.

How Much Cocaine Is Too Much?

An overdose of cocaine usually occurs either because the user ingests an excessive amount in a single episode or because they repeatedly abuse cocaine to sustain the euphoric high, which typically lasts less than half an hour. The latter is often the most dangerous behavior since the user doesn’t always realize how much they’ve actually ingested until it’s too late.

There is no one precise amount of cocaine that will induce an overdose in everyone. Instead, the required amount varies, depending on individual risk factors. For one, the concurrent use of other substances, such as alcohol or other drugs, is more likely to result in an overdose, and it might take a lot less cocaine for this to happen than if it was used on its own.

Beyond polysubstance abuse, an individual’s body chemistry, level of tolerance, and age play a role, as well as a person’s overall health. The method administration used and the potency of the cocaine also have a great deal to do with the risk for overdose. For example, injecting cocaine can lead to a life-threatening reaction at just 20 mg in some cases, while snorting the drug usually requires much more.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction is a devastating condition that adversely impacts those who suffer as well as those close to him or her. Treatment for cocaine addiction usually begins with a medically-supervised detox, followed by long-term care in the form of comprehensive addiction treatment programs

Recovery By The Sea offers an integrated, individualized approach to addiction treatment that includes essential services, such as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and more. Our addiction specialists seek to provide our clients with the knowledge and tools they need to recover fully and sustain long-lasting wellness and happiness. 

You CAN regain your life, and fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone—we can help! Please contact us today!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Can You Overdose on Meth?

Signs of Crack Use

Signs of Crack Use | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

It may often require diligence to recognize a crack cocaine abuse problem in a loved one, but knowing what signs to look for is critical. Signs and symptoms often gradually become more severe and evident to others over time as the individual descends deeper and deeper into the chasms of addiction. Eventually, they will become virtually impossible to overlook.

Due to chemical and emotional instabilities caused by crack cocaine, erratic and volatile mood swings are common among those who use it regularly. When a person is struggling with a crack cocaine abuse problem, they may act cold and distant to those close to them, and become very different from the person they once were.

When this occurs, loved ones who are pushed away may not be able to recognize the changes in their loved one’s behavior as they manifest. Unfortunately, the more severe these changes become, the more urgently intervention is needed.

What Is Cocaine and Crack Cocaine?

Cocaine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that, when used, produces a surge of dopamine in the brain. This action causes a brief boost of euphoria, energy, increased alertness, and hyperactivity. These effects, although short in duration, are the reason why cocaine is so addictive. Because of the brevity of the high, persons often “binge” or repeatedly use cocaine in rapid succession, and are therefore at a high risk of developing a dependence.

Crack cocaine is the crystallized form of cocaine, which is usually found as a powder. Crack is generally found as solidified blocks or crystals that range from white to pale rose or yellow in color. While powder cocaine is usually snorted, crack is heated and smoked. Crack is the most potent form of cocaine and also the most dangerous. It is between 75% and 100% pure and far more powerful than powder cocaine.

Signs of Crack Use

Signs of Crack Use | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Initial signs of crack use may be subtle when compared to full-blown addiction and can vary widely in terms of severity. The mental and physical signs of crack use become increasingly apparent, along with the behavioral effects of dependence and addiction.

Some several signs and symptoms suggest a person has a cocaine use disorder. Physical symptoms may include the following:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Twitching or shaking
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Stomach aches and nausea
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Accelerated heart rate and respiration
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hallucinations
  • Burns on fingers
  • Cracked or blistered lips
  • Lethargy and fatigue

Mental and emotional signs include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hyperactivity and hypervigilance
  • Social isolation
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Reduced attention span
  • Severe mood swings
  • Paranoia

Behavioral signs may include the following:

  • Strange or abnormal behavior
  • Secretiveness
  • Providing suspicious answers to questions related to use
  • Social isolation or neglect of old friends in favor of new ones
  • Neglecting important obligations involving school, work, or family
  • Impulsivity
  • Manic, hyperactive behavior
  • Repeatedly asking friends and family to borrow money
  • Stealing money or personal possessions from others
  • Selling crack or other drugs

Crack, when combined with harmful adulterants or other drugs, becomes even more dangerous. It’s not uncommon for individuals to use cocaine with alcohol, benzodiazepines, or opioids such as heroin. This may be done in an effort to intensify a high or to quell symptoms like anxiety and help a person to “come down” from its effects. In doing so, however, these individuals are increasing their risk of dangerous health complications, overdose, and sudden death.

Crack Addiction

A crack or cocaine habit essentially hijacks the user’s brain and drives him or her to engage in compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite experiencing adverse consequences as a result. These outcomes are definitely red flags that point toward drug addiction, and may include the following:

  • Strained or broken relationships
  • Ongoing legal problems or incarceration
  • Being suspended from school or dropping out
  • Declining performance at work or school
  • Quitting or getting fired from a job, loss of employment
  • Extreme debt or bankruptcy

Tolerance and Dependence

Crack cocaine abuse and addiction are two disorders on the same spectrum but are not the same. Addiction is hallmarked by dependence, tolerance, and compulsive drug-seeking behavior. Tolerance and dependence develop gradually over time as the brain changes and adapts to crack’s continual presence.

Tolerance can begin to develop during the early stages of use and increases over time. Tolerance is a condition in which users will need higher and higher doses of a substance to achieve the effect they are seeking. Both crack abuse and full-blown addiction can lead to physiological and mental distress that may result in emergency department visits, hospital stays, and psychiatric interventions to address.

Dependence is characterized by withdrawal symptoms when the user attempts to quit. This response is the result of the body trying to re-adapt to life without the presence of cocaine, from which it has now become quite accustomed.

Crack Withdrawal Symptoms

As noted, when a person has developed a chemical dependence on crack cocaine, withdrawal symptoms will onset if the drug is suddenly discontinued.

Symptoms associated with crack withdrawal may include the following:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Intense cravings for crack cocaine
  • Excessive sleepiness

Long-Term Effects of Crack Use

Signs of Crack Use | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

The longer crack cocaine abuse continues, the higher the risk of damage to the brain and other organs. A person who has used crack for a prolonged period may need medical and mental health assistance for a variety of problems for the rest of their life. And, unfortunately, some of the negative consequences caused by crack cocaine use can be permanent.

Long-term health consequences may include the following:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lung damage
  • Heart disease
  • Seizures and convulsions
  • Profound weight loss
  • Malnourishment
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Impotence
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Bowel deterioration
  • Reproductive complications
  • Movement disorders

Chronic crack use has also been associated with profound mental distress, such as paranoia and hallucinations. Some research has found that long-term cocaine use can impair cognitive functions such as memory and motor control. Furthermore, chronic abuse is closely linked to heart failure and premature death.

Signs of a Crack Overdose

Although crack use can be dangerous at any dose, it is particularly risky when consumed in excessive amounts or with other drugs or alcohol. The addictive properties of crack make it easy to overlook the excessive amounts one is using to maintain a high, which is very short in duration.

Important: An overdose of cocaine is considered to be a medical emergency. If you suspect that someone you know is overdosing on crack or any other substance, call 911 immediately or visit the nearest emergency room.

Signs and symptoms of a cocaine or crack overdose can include the following:

  • Delirium
  • Delusions
  • Panic
  • Hyperthermia
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Shock
  • Kidney failure
  • Stroke
  • Coma

Treatment for Crack Addiction

Research has shown that crack addiction is most effectively treated using a long-term, comprehensive approach to addiction. Recovery By The Sea offers customized, evidence-based treatment that includes services vital to recovery. These include psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and much, much more.

Recovery from any addiction is a lifelong endeavor, but no one should have to do it alone. We can intervene to help people free themselves from the shackles of addiction and reclaim the happy and fulfilling life they deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Signs of Cocaine Use

Cocaine Drug Test

Cocaine Drug Test | What You Need to Know | Recovery By The Sea

Taking a Cocaine Drug Test: What You Need to Know – After the last dose has been administered, cocaine can remain in a person’s body anywhere from 3 to 6 hours. Also, cocaine use produces a metabolite called benzoylecgonine (BE), which can take up to two days to be completely cleared from the body.

Dose and Delivery Method

As a general rule, the higher the dose, the more time it will take for cocaine to be eliminated from a person’s system, and the longer it will be detectable on a cocaine drug test. The method by which the drug is administered is also a significant factor.

Injecting cocaine will produce a fast, more intense high, but it also clears the body more rapidly. The half-life for this delivery method is only around five minutes, and it fully clears the system in about a half an hour.

Snorting cocaine usually leads to a high that continues for 10-30 minutes, and it takes no longer than three hours to be eliminated.

Smoking freebase cocaine extends the half-life to around 45 minutes, and it can take as long as four hours for the drug to be expelled.

Oral consumption can delay the onset of the high for an hour or so, and effects can persist for around two hours thereafter. For this route of administration, the half-life is around an hour, and it may take longer than five hours for the drug to be fully cleared.

Duration of Use and Purity Level

Long-term users often have a tendency to retain cocaine in their bodies for an extended period, where it has accumulated in fatty tissues. For this reason, withdrawal can take longer, and associated symptoms are often more intense.

Moreover, the longer someone uses cocaine, the more challenging it becomes for their body to expel it. Over time, the body’s ability to eliminate the drug becomes less efficient, and it may eventually lose this function altogether.

Purity level can also be a factor—the more refined the cocaine, the more powerful the effects will be, and the longer it will stay in a person’s system. Other factors include metabolism, body mass, age, and pre-existing health conditions.

Cocaine Drug Testing

Cocaine drug tests do not reveal how long cocaine stays in a person’s system, but some toxicological methods can detect traces of cocaine for up to three months following the last use. For example, a blood test can identify the presence of cocaine in the body for the first 24 hours, but a urine test can detect cocaine from anywhere between 2-30 days. Hair follicle tests can detect traces of cocaine use for as long as three months.

Cocaine Drug Testing – Cocaine Excretion

Some research has revealed that the amount of the drug consumed can also be a factor in how long cocaine metabolites (BE) remain in a user’s system. Other factors that can impede the excretion of BE include:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Weight/obesity
  • Inactivity and sedentary lifestyle
  • Lack of hydration
  • Excessive caffeine use

Cocaine Intoxication

Cocaine Drug Test | What You Need to Know | Recovery By The Sea

Retention of cocaine in the body causes cocaine intoxication, a condition that can result in negative side effects in addition to its desirable effects. Cocaine use can be deceptive, and users can still experience an overdose even after many of the effects appear to have abated.

Users often take doses in rapid succession, believing that they are safe to use again because the drug’s most pronounced effects have subsided. Unfortunately, using consecutive doses of cocaine places the user at an increased risk for overdose as the drug proceeds to accumulate in the system with each subsequent use.

Using an extreme amount of cocaine or using it in high concentrations can induce the following adverse effects:

  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Chest pain and pressure
  • Elevated heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Confusion

A cocaine overdose can also lead to muscle damage, kidney damage, brain hemorrhage, stroke, or sudden death due to organ failure.

If you or someone you know has used cocaine and appears to be suffering from any of the following symptoms, please seek emergency medical help or call 911 immediately:

  • Very high blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Very high body temperature
  • Agitation or confusion
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat

Mental Health Conditions

Excessive doses of cocaine can result in other serious symptoms of mental health problems, including depression, suicidal thoughts, mania, and paranoia. Occasionally, psychiatric symptoms can manifest in those using much lower levels of cocaine. What’s more, street cocaine is often adulterated with other potentially life-threatening substances that can contribute to their own set of symptoms and unpredictable effects.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction can become a potentially life-threatening problem that negatively impacts the life of the person suffering as well as those around him or her. It should be taken very seriously, and if you or someone you know is abusing cocaine, you are urged to seek professional help immediately.

Recovery By The Sea features comprehensive treatment programs that include evidence-based services, such as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and much more.

Contact us today and end your suffering—or the suffering of someone you love. We are dedicated to helping those who need it most to break free from substance abuse and foster healthy and fulfilling lives!

READ THIS NEXT : Signs Of Cocaine Use

Signs of Cocaine Use

Signs of Cocaine Use | Recovery By The Sea

It requires diligence to recognize a cocaine problem in a loved one, and knowing what signs to look for is critical to identifying an addiction. The side effects and signs of cocaine use and abuse will become more evident and severe gradually over time as the person descends further and further into addiction.

Warning Signs of Cocaine Use

The initial signs of cocaine use are often subtle when compared to full-blown addictive behavior. Indeed, the physical and psychological signs of cocaine use become more severe in proportion to the behavioral effects of addiction. Therefore, it’s much easier to defeat a cocaine habit in the early stages, because once a strong addiction sets in, the process of recovery can take months or years.

Behavioral Signs of Cocaine Use

There are a number of signs that may indicate the presence of a substance use disorder involving cocaine, including the following:

  • Peculiar or abnormal behavior
  • Impulsiveness
  • New or worsening financial issues
  • Consistent secretiveness or providing suspicious answers to questions
  • Leaving early from, being late to, or avoiding gatherings or obligations
  • White powdery smudges on clothing, belongings, or nose

Compared to many drugs, cocaine is quite expensive. Therefore, a cocaine habit may require the person to engage in extreme actions and risky behaviors to afford it, including the following:

  • Selling drugs
  • Taking side jobs
  • Selling personal possessions
  • Repeatedly asking to borrow money
  • Stealing from friends and family
  • Taking out loans, or taking funds out of savings account, 401K, or retirement

A cocaine habit often one-tracks the user’s mind into engaging in persistent drug-seeking behavior, producing adverse life-changing consequences. These behaviors should be regarded as red flags, and may also include the following:

  • Extreme debt or bankruptcy
  • Strained or failed relationships
  • Legal trouble or incarceration
  • Being suspended or dropped out of school
  • Quitting or getting fired from a job
  • Not participating in activities once enjoyed

Psychological Symptoms of Cocaine Use

Cocaine use can also cause psychological and emotional distress that requires emergency department visits, hospital stays or psychiatric intervention to address. Some common symptoms related to this include the following:

  • Insomnia and hypersomnia
  • Increased anxiety and isolation
  • Reduced attention span
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Severe mood swings
  • Hyperstimulation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Euphoria and elevated mood
  • Hypervigilance and paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Due to the chemical instability caused by cocaine, random and explosive mood shifts are common among users. When a loved one develops a cocaine habit, they may act cold or aloof, nearly unrecognizable from the person they used to be. When this occurs, it often makes it more difficult for loved ones to recognize the nuances in behavior as they transpire, and the more these changes increase, the more urgent the problem becomes.

Signs of Cocaine Use | Recovery By The Sea

Physical Symptoms of Cocaine Use

Physical symptoms caused by cocaine use may vary from mild to very severe. Because every person’s body is unique, cocaine doesn’t impact everyone in the same way. Nonetheless, whether these symptoms are mild or severe doesn’t make the cocaine problem any less concerning.

Common physical symptoms associated with cocaine use include the following:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive sniffling
  • Runny or bloody nose
  • Hoarseness
  • Twitching or shaking
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Stomach aches
  • Nausea
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Infertility

Cocaine Withdrawal

Once a person is physiologically dependent on cocaine, withdrawal effects manifest if the dosage is dramatically reduced or discontinued. Withdrawal effects from cocaine may include the following:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Heart problems
  • Intense cravings for cocaine
  • Long periods of deep and interrupted sleep

Cocaine is a remarkably powerful substance with side effects that may vary markedly depending on how much of the drug was used, the user’s body chemistry, or other chemicals present in the system in addition to it. Cocaine may also be combined with harmful adulterants that can contribute to overdose or sudden death.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Abuse

The longer cocaine abuse continues, the higher the risk of severe adverse effects on the brain’s ability to function and physiological health. Treatment specialists must often battle a myriad of other problems experienced by individuals newly admitted to rehab.

Sometimes, outside assistance from physicians, other specialists, and therapists is needed to treat chronic cocaine users effectively. And, unfortunately, some of the negative consequences produced by cocaine use are permanent.

Long-term health effects may include the following:

  • Reproductive complications
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Breathing and lung damage
  • Chronic, recurrent nosebleeds
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Seizures and convulsions
  • Damage to septum, nose, and nasal tissues
  • Reduced or loss of sense of smell
  • Extreme weight loss and malnourishment
  • Sexual dysfunction or impotence
  • Gastrointestinal problems and bowel deterioration
  • Movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease

In general, the more a cocaine habit becomes entrenched in a person’s psychology, the more dangerous his or her lifestyle will become. As such, cocaine use may result in additional health risks, including the following:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • Cocaine exposure in unborn babies
  • Blood-borne diseases from sharing dirty needles (HIV and hepatitis B and C)

Every year in the U.S., there are an estimated 750,000 cocaine-exposed pregnancies. Cocaine use throughout pregnancy can lead to spontaneous miscarriage, a complicated delivery, or a number of other adverse health outcomes before and during birth.

Long-term cocaine use is also related to profound psychological distress, such as paranoia or hallucinations. Some research has suggested that cognitive functions such as memory and motor control may be adversely affected by prolonged abuse. Furthermore, cocaine use is strongly linked to heart failure and premature death.

Signs of Cocaine Use | Recovery By The Sea

Tolerance and Overdose

Signs of cocaine use can be tricky to spot at first but will eventually become too blatant to ignore. Cocaine tolerance initially arises during the early stages of use and builds over time. Tolerance means that abusers of coke will need higher and higher doses to achieve the desired effect.

Although cocaine can be perilous at any dose, the drug’s hazardous potential increases dramatically at very high doses. The addictive nature of cocaine makes it easy to disregard the excessive amounts one is using to maintain a high. Once the stimulation becomes too great for the body, a life-threatening overdose can occur.

The amount of cocaine needed to overdose fluctuates based on a number of factors, including a person’s unique physiology and other substances that are involved, including prescription or illicit drugs or alcohol. An overdose is considered to be a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.

Symptoms of a cocaine overdose may include the following:

  • Panic
  • Delirium
  • Delusions
  • Hyperthermia
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Heart failure
  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Convulsions and seizures
  • Kidney failure
  • Shock
  • Stroke
  • Coma

If not addressed promptly, the risk of heart failure and death significantly increases. Statistics also show a strong association between cocaine overdoses and toxic interactions with other substances.

In 2015, for example, more than half of known overdoses related to cocaine in the United States also involved opioids. Indeed, more than one-third (37%) of these fatalities involved heroin—combining heroin and cocaine produces a very potent and deadly mixture known as a speedball.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction is most effectively addressed through admission to a comprehensive addiction treatment program. During this time, the person receives customized, evidence-based treatment that consists of services vital to recovery, such as psychotherapy, individual and family counseling, group support, and aftercare planning.

Recovery from addiction can be a challenging lifelong endeavor, but you don’t have to do it alone. We can help you reclaim your life and begin to experience the wellness and happiness you deserve!

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine | Recovery By The Sea

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine – Cocaine is a potent and highly addictive stimulant drug that is most often used illicitly. Cocaine has been classified as a schedule II controlled substance, as it yields some legitimate medical applications. It is widely abused for its pleasurable effects that include feelings of increased energy, euphoria, and alertness.

Cocaine can be found in several forms, including as a white powder, paste, or a solid and rock-like base (crack cocaine). Regardless of form, cocaine use typically results in a rapid-onset, rewarding but brief high and an acceleration of various physiological processes. This experience is closely followed several minutes later by a period of dysphoria or a “come down.”

This increase of dopamine is, in large part, what leads to the subjective “high” feelings of cocaine use and its addictive potential.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine can be smoked, snorted, consumed orally, or injected. Regardless of the method of administration, however, the onset of effects can be nearly immediate. Cocaine works by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain – a chemical involved in feelings of reward and pleasure.

Usually, dopamine recycles back into the cell that issued it, interrupting the signal between nerve cells. However, cocaine use inhibits dopamine from being recovered, causing accumulating amounts to build up in the space between two nerve cells, halting regular communication.

This surge of dopamine in the brain’s reward center significantly reinforces drug-using behaviors, because the reward circuit begins to adapt to the excess dopamine induced by cocaine, and becomes desensitized to it.

As a result, people are compelled to take stronger and more frequent doses in an attempt to feel the same high, and to gain relief from withdrawal. These effects contribute to the development of both tolerance and dependence.

The high experienced after use produces a number of desired effects, including feelings of euphoria or elevated mood, increased energy and alertness, talkativeness, and grandiosity, or an inflated sense of self-confidence.

Some people use the drug in an attempt to improve performance or meet some other goal. Because cocaine temporarily decreases the need for sleep, some people will abuse the substance to stay awake and alert, to study, or to perform a strenuous task. Since it also suppresses appetite, it is also sometimes used as a weight loss aid.

Similar to other drugs of abuse, cocaine use is also associated with unwanted short-term effects, such as the following:

  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Paranoia

The Impact of Method of Administration on Effects

The method by which cocaine is administered influences it’s short-term effects. Snorting can have slightly delayed impact on the body but results in a longer high. Smoking or injection tend to have a more rapid effect, with onset in as few as 7 seconds, but with a duration of only 5-10 minutes.

Highs of a shorter duration may produce more intense symptoms that can increase drug cravings and the rate of use. This is one reason why smoking crack cocaine is considered even more addictive than snorting powder cocaine.

It is sometimes used in combination with other substances, further compounding health risks. Combining drugs like cocaine and depressants such as alcohol or heroin can be especially dangerous.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine: Side Effects

Whether used for short durations or prolonged periods, any cocaine use will likely be associated with side effects. Heavy use can result in cardiac arrest, even in those who are young and otherwise healthy. Using excessive amounts has been associated with erratic and possibly violent behavior.

Other side effects of cocaine use include:

  • Tremors, muscle twitches or tics
  • Paranoia
  • Vertigo
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Decreased sexual function


In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 14,500 people died from an overdose involving cocaine.

Overdose from cocaine can lead to the following complications:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Sudden death

The risk of an overdose is increased when cocaine is used in conjunction with another dangerous substance like alcohol or other drugs. Combining cocaine and heroin – infamously known as a speedball – is particularly dangerous. This drug cocktail carries an extraordinarily high risk of overdose and has killed well-known celebrities such as River Phoenix, Chris Farley, and John Belushi.

Lasting Health Effects

When short-term use develops into long-term use, the risks increase for both new and expanded negative consequences.

The potential health consequences of long-term use may include the following:

  • Severe, chronic fatigue
  • Unrelenting headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nosebleeds, loss of sense of smell, and irritation of the nasal septum, and complete nose collapse from snorting
  • Puncture marks, collapsed veins, abscesses, infection and allergic reactions from injecting
  • Significant weight loss
  • Heart arrhythmias and heart attack
  • Widespread ischemic vascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Death

When used over a prolonged period, cocaine can also lead to addiction, depression, social isolation, anxiety, psychosis, paranoia, and severe respiratory infections.

Cocaine Dependence and Tolerance

Dependence develops over time as the brain grows accustomed to the presence of cocaine and becomes less able to function correctly without it. Thus, when the user tries to quit, withdrawal symptoms ensue as the body attempts to regain equilibrium. When tolerance develops, the user needs ever-increasing amounts of cocaine to achieve the desired drug experience because the body is building up a resistance to its effects.

Addiction occurs when a person feels a strong compulsion to continue using, even in the face of personal, professional, legal, or financial troubles caused by substance use. Cocaine addiction is often marked by risk-taking and impulsivity, neglect of responsibilities, and strained relationships as a result of increased drug use.

The risk of addiction increases when the individual abuses cocaine to self-medicate an underlying mental or physical health concern. For example, someone suffering from untreated depression may use cocaine as a means to combat negative feelings. Nevertheless, this approach to self-medication never works in the long run and usually leaves the individual worse off.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When a user becomes dependent on cocaine, the body will have a strong, adverse reaction when the drug is not received. The most common effect of cocaine withdrawal is a “crash” or “come down.”

A cocaine crash usually includes symptoms such as the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of depression
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased paranoia and distrust of others
  • Strong desire to continue or restart using the substance

The crash can persist for hours to days depending on the frequency, amount, and duration of previous cocaine use.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

The cravings that characterize withdrawal can be severe, but can also be treated with medical care and support. Treatment can take place on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Inpatient programs employ medical and mental health providers who specialize in addiction to supervise residents 24/7 long-term in a secure environment.

Outpatient-based treatment permits the patient to remain at home or a sober living facility and continue daily routines while attending treatment regularly. Both formats include evidence-based approaches such as psychotherapy, psychoeducation, individual and family counseling, and group support.

Our center employs caring addiction professionals who provide our clients with the tools they need to succeed at recovery. We can help you reclaim your life, restore your sanity, and begin to experience the life you deserve. Contact us today to find out how!

How Much Cocaine Does it Take to Overdose?

how much cocaine does it take to overdose | Recovery By The Sea

How Much Cocaine Does it Take to Overdose? – Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that has a limited medical use but is most often found illicitly. Someone who snorts, smokes or injects too much cocaine can experience an overdose, which can be life-threatening.

Cocaine doses typically range from 30 – 70 mg, but as users develop tolerance, they tend to use more and increase their doses above 1 g. The minimum dose of cocaine that is considered lethal is 1.2 g, but users with hypersensitivity to cocaine have suffered fatal overdoses from as little as 30 mg. In some rare cases of remarkably high tolerance, cocaine addicts have reported using 5 g of cocaine daily, which would prove fatal for most individuals.

The intensity of cocaine effects also largely depends on its method of administration. While many cocaine abusers snort it so that the drug is absorbed through the nasal cavity or smoked into the lungs, injection brings on the fastest high and therefore is the most dangerous method of use.

In addition to the amount used and the method of administration, whether cocaine use results in an overdose also depends on the drug’s purity and the user’s level of tolerance and overall health.

People who regularly abuse cocaine build a tolerance over time, which compels users to increase their dose in order to achieve the desired effect. Tolerance can also lead to binges, which can significantly increase the risk of an overdose.

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

After a person uses too much cocaine, seizures or convulsions can begin within 2-3 minutes, and they can last up to a half an hour. The objective of emergency medical technicians is first to stop the seizures, then stabilize temperature, heart rate, and breathing. If the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen, the person can slip into a coma. If a person experiencing a cocaine overdose does not receive medical attention in time, death may ensue.

Permanent effects of a survived overdose can include damage to the heart, liver, lungs, brain, kidneys, intestines, and reproductive organs.

Other symptoms that indicate a person may have used an excessive amount of cocaine include the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Aggressive behavior
  • High levels of energy
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive talkativeness
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Twitches or tremors

How Cocaine Overdose Affects The Body

Cocaine’s immediate physical harm and potentially life-threatening effects originate from the multitude of systems it affects throughout the body.

Impact on the Heart

A cocaine overdose has a tremendous impact on the heart. The user may suffer from severe chest pain or pressure as the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart constrict. At this point, the heart is being deprived of both oxygen and blood and begins to work excessively hard – which can eventually result in a stroke or a heart attack.

Blood pressure and heart rate will also perilously spike during an overdose, which could also cause heart failure. Also, if the user already has high blood pressure or heart problems without the use of stimulants, the risk of experiencing a life-threatening heart attack or stroke is much greater. Additionally, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) can occur which can also result in death.

Impact on the Lungs

An overdose of cocaine overdose can also lead to acute bronchospasm as well as a number of other more severe lung conditions – such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung). Some users – especially those who injected cocaine – are also at increased risk of developing blood clots in the lungs.

Impact on the Brain and Central Nervous System

As noted, seizures and convulsions can occur during a cocaine overdose, as the brain is susceptible to toxic levels of the drug. Likewise, blood vessels in the brain can rupture, so the user may experience a fatal aneurysm or hemorrhagic stroke.

Also, the overdose process may lead to nerve cell “miscommunication” – an effect that can result in uncontrollable muscle movements such as shaking, jaw clenching, and teeth grinding.

An increase in muscular activity can lead to a dangerously elevated body temperature. The extremities may also feel shaky and weak, and, eventually, the exhausted muscles may seize up to a point where the user may not even be able to call for help.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction, if left untreated, can be a devastating and life-threatening disease. Fortunately, however, cocaine addiction is treatable. Persons abusing cocaine are highly encouraged to undergo long-term, comprehensive addiction treatment that includes evidence-based approaches such as behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, individual and family counseling, and group support.

You can restore sanity to your life and experience the happiness and wellness you deserve. Contact us now to find out how we can help you achieve sobriety and begin your journey to indefinite recovery!

Coke Withdrawal

Coke Withdrawal | Recovery By The Sea

Cocaine (coke) is a powerful, mostly illicit stimulant drug that when abused, can cause widespread devastation in the life of the user. While coke withdrawal may not be as intense as withdrawal from other drugs, such as heroin, it can come with its own set of unique challenges.

Moreover, withdrawal from some substances, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, can induce severe physical symptoms. Coke withdrawal, however, result in mostly psychological symptoms.

include the following:

  • Poor concentration and foggy thinking
  • Slowed activity and physical fatigue
  • Exhaustion
  • Restlessness
  • Inability to experience sexual arousal (reduced libido)
  • Anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure
  • Depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations
  • Unpleasant and vivid dreams
  • Physical symptoms including chills, tremors, muscle aches, and nerve pain
  • Drug cravings

When is Medical Detox Beneficial?

While a detox from cocaine may be undertaken as an outpatient, inpatient medical detox is recommended in some circumstances. For example, if there have been multiple attempts to detox and the person subsequently relapsed, the around-the-clock supervision provided by an inpatient medical detox can be invaluable.

Also, if a person suffers from a co-existing mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, a medical detox followed by integrated inpatient addiction treatment can address both withdrawal management and mental health needs.

One of the more severe withdrawal effects that can result from acute coke withdrawal is an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. People who try to stop using cocaine after long-term abuse or addiction has developed can experience severe depression and wild mood swings, including thoughts of suicide.

With chronic, routine cocaine use, the brain grows accustomed to an abnormal amount of dopamine. Over time, the reward circuit is interrupted and becomes less sensitive to dopamine – this is called tolerance. At this point, the person needs increasing amounts of cocaine to feel the desired effects – without it, they may feel deeply depressed and discontented with life.

If a person has a history of depression or suicidal ideations, medical detox is often recommended to ensure the patient is safe and protected during the withdrawal process.

Withdrawal Timeline

Most of the symptoms of acute coke withdrawal should resolve after about 7-10 days. However, like with many psychoactive substances, cravings for cocaine may continue for much longer and could spontaneously reemerge, months or years after the person achieves abstinence.

Cocaine has a fairly short half-life, and among people with a severe dependence, withdrawal symptoms can onset as soon as 90 minutes after the last use.

The timeline for withdrawal symptoms will vary somewhat depending on the individual and factors such as the following:

Duration of Use and Average Dose

People who have abused cocaine for a relatively short period are less likely to have prolonged, intense withdrawal symptoms. People who have used cocaine for many years, however, may suffer from lingering withdrawal symptoms that persist for weeks.

Also, those who have used very large doses may suffer more intense withdrawal symptoms than someone who typically used lower amounts.

Polysubstance Dependence and Co-occurring Mental Health Conditions

A person who has developed a dependence to more than one substance may encounter withdrawal symptoms associated with both, potentially complicating the progression of withdrawal symptoms and adversely intensifying the experience of the person undergoing detox.

Also, people who abuse substances commonly suffer from one or more co-occurring mental or physical health conditions such as depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, or cardiovascular disease. Similar to polydrug abuse, these additional conditions may also complicate the coke withdrawal process.


If coke was used to escape from a stressful or traumatic environment, stress might trigger the desire to use again. Therefore, environmental factors that cause stress, such as relationship issues, work challenges, or other factors may intensify cravings for cocaine, and complicate the withdrawal process.

Treatment for Coke Withdrawal

Unlike some substances, such as opioids and alcohol, there are currently no medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of coke withdrawal. However, some medications may help people lessen both acute and long-term withdrawal symptoms.

For example, pharmaceuticals used to treat depression and anxiety could be beneficial to those undergoing cocaine withdrawal, as they work well to stabilize moods and prevent worse outcomes. These could be especially helpful for people whose withdrawal symptoms persist longer than a week.

After detox, patients are highly encouraged to undergo intensive addiction treatment in either a partial hospitalization or outpatient program and take advantage of comprehensive, evidence-based treatments such as behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, and education. Research has shown that programs that meet these conditions result in the best outcomes for those seeking to overcome addiction.

You CAN restore happiness and harmony in your life, free of drugs and alcohol! Contact us today to find out how we can help!

List of Illegal Drugs

List of Illegal Drugs | Recovery by the Sea

Illegal drugs are those scheduled by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a controlled substance, having little or no medical value, and a high potential for abuse or addiction.

That said, there is much controversy surrounding the DEA’s decisions when classifying drugs – some wonder, for example, why marijuana and LSD, two drugs that are not known to cause chemical dependence are scheduled higher than notoriously more dangerous drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine.

List of Common Illegal Drugs

Cocaine and Crack Cocaine

Cocaine and crack cocaine are extremely addictive stimulant drugs. Crack cocaine is more potent than traditional powdered cocaine and is often smoked rather than snorted. Long-term abuse can result in seizures, heart disease and cardiac arrest, stroke, overdose, and damage to the septum and surrounding nasal tissues.


GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) is primarily produced in illicit laboratories, although the prescription drug Xyrem (sodium oxybate) is also considered to be GHB. GHB is most often used recreationally as a party/club drug but is also infamous for its use as a date rape drug. The depressant effects of GHB include cause drowsiness, unconsciousness, seizure, coma, and in rare cases, death.

Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs

Hallucinogens and dissociative drugs alter the user’s perception of reality and thinking patterns. This can include audio, visual, tactile, or emotional changes or shifts in the way a person perceives time. Some individuals may feel dissociated from their body or their environment.

These drugs include the following

  • Ayahuasca/DMT
  • Ketamine (Special K)
  • Khat
  • LSD
  • Mescaline (peyote)
  • PCP (Angel Dust)
  • Psilocybin mushrooms
  • Salvia


Despite its legal status in several states for medicinal and even recreational purposes, marijuana is still illegal on a federal level as well as in many other states. Although it is not known to be chemically addictive or cause withdrawal symptoms, it can become psychologically addictive and a hard habit to break.

Marijuana use can sometimes result in unwanted side effects such as anxiety and paranoia, and long-term excessive use can impact an individual’s motivation and affect social life as well as work and school performance.

MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly)

List of Illegal Drugs | Recovery by the Sea

MDMA is a synthetic “designer” drug that acts as both a stimulant and a psychedelic substance. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), its effects mimic a combination of amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. There is some argument among researchers whether MDMA is a stimulant drug with hallucinogen properties or a drug that should be placed in a class of its own.

Although MDMA is not considered to be chemically addictive, it can be habit-forming and is often mixed with other drugs including ketamine, meth, cocaine, and synthetic cathinones (bath salts.) This fact increases the risk of adverse health problems and overdose, which in rare cases can result in a dramatic rise in body temperature (hyperthermia) and organ failure.


Methamphetamine (meth) is typically found in powder form, while crystal meth resembles shards of glass or bluish-white rocks. Meth is highly addictive, and its stimulant properties can result in cardiovascular problems and death. Effects on the brain can include delusions, hallucinations, psychosis, and aggressive and violent behaviors.

Opium, Heroin, and Other Opioids

The effects of illegal opioids are similar to that of prescription painkillers, in that they produce a pain-relieving effect and euphoria. Opioids are synthetic versions of opiates, which are naturally-occurring compounds found in the opium poppy. Opium itself is illegal, while compounds contained within the dried latex, such as morphine and codeine, are available by prescription.

Illegal opioids include the following:


Heroin is a hugely popular and highly addictive illegal street drug that is derived from morphine. It is a potent painkiller and in large doses can cause heavy sedation and unconsciousness.

Heroin can be smoked, snorted, and injected intravenously. In addition to overdose and other physical and mental effects of addiction, heroin users who use or share needles are at high risk for abscesses, infection, collapsed veins, and blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV.


Fentanyl began as a prescription drug with limited use, and currently is indicated for the treatment of severe pain when all other methods fail, as well as general anesthesia for surgery. Illegal fentanyl, however, is made in clandestine labs, often in China, and sold on the street as heroin, oxycodone, or other less-potent drugs.

Fentanyl is roughly 50 times more potent than heroin and is involved in thousands of deaths each year in the U.S.


Carfentanyl is similar to fentanyl but 100 times more powerful. It is not indicated for human consumption and is only legal for use by veterinarians for the sedation of large animals such as elephants. Still, carfentanil is occasionally found cut into other street drugs and is responsible for a number of deaths in the United States and Canada.

Other illegal opioids include U-47700 (Pink) and fentanyl analogs. Also, Grey Death is a name used for a street drug that has have been found to contain U-47700, heroin, and opioids including fentanyl and carfentanil.


Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) is a tranquilizer up to ten times more potent than the popular benzodiazepine Valium. The drug is available as a pill and users often crush the pills into powder and snort it, sprinkle it on marijuana and smoke it, or even inject it.

Like GHB, Rohypnol is famously used as a date rape drug – it is sometimes added to an alcoholic drink at parties and clubs unbeknownst to the drinker, thus rendering them incapacitated and paralyzed. They may be awake are aware of what is happening, but are powerless to move or defend themselves. They are also usually unable to fully remember the event just hours after it occurred.


Anabolic or “muscle building” steroids are synthetic versions of the male sex hormone testosterone. Some common names for anabolic steroids include Juice, Roids, and Stackers.

People who use anabolic steroids usually take them orally or inject them into their muscles. Steroids can also be applied to the skin as a cream, gel, or patch.

Synthetic Cannabinoids

Synthetic cannabinoids or synthetic marijuana are psychoactive chemicals with effects that often do not resemble marijuana at all. They are often sold as liquids for vaporizers or are sprayed on dried plants for smoking.

These substances can cause hallucinations, psychosis, aggressive or violent behavior. Two common names for these drugs are Spice and K2.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

List of Illegal Drugs | Recovery by the Sea

Regardless of a person’s drug of choice, if a person is chemically or psychologically addicted, he or she needs professional help. In addition to physical and mental health issues, extended drug abuse and addiction can adversely affect a person’s relationships, career, and academic goals.

Depending on the drug abused, some people require more intensive care, including a medically-supervised detox. Comprehensive, evidence-based treatments, such as behavioral therapies and counseling, help to heal the emotional and mental impacts of addiction while teaching individuals the coping skills they need to prevent relapse and enjoy long-term sobriety and wellness.

Our medical and mental health staff specialize in addiction and can provide clients with the tools necessary to achieve and sustain their recovery goals. Recovery from addiction is a long-term endeavor, but you don’t have to it alone. Contact us today to discuss treatment options and discover how we can help you begin your recovery journey!

We Accept Most Insurance Plans!