Cocaine Overdose

Part of the complete guide to understanding addiction

Table of Contents
  1. Cocaine Overdose
  2. What is Cocaine
  3. What is an Overdose?
  4. Cocaine Overdose Symptoms
  5. Can You Overdose on Crack?
  6. How Much Cocaine Does it Take to Overdose?
  7. Cocaine Abuse Resources

Cocaine Overdose

Drug abuse and addiction is far more widespread than we would like to believe. AQ recent survey found that roughly 5 million individuals in the United States used cocaine in 2020 alone.

Additionally, 2% of 8th graders in the U.S. used cocaine in 2020, noting a trend of substance abuse in youth. Drug abuse runs rampant within our society, and knowing which signs hint at possible overdose is crucial in saving lives.

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What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is an illegal stimulant drug found in South America and derived from two different coca leaves – Erythroxylum coca and novogranatense. Cocain is a “Schedule II” drug, which means it is illegal when used recreationally but can be prescribed by physicians for medicinal purposes. Cocaine abuse is still a rapidly growing trend. To learn more about cocaine addiction, including when cocaine was removed from Coca-Cola, read our online resources.

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What is an Overdose?

An overdose is the body’s reaction to a drug dosage which overwhelms the individual’s tolerance. Overdoses are not to be taken lightly and require emergency medical support to help stabilize and potentially save the life of the patient.

Learn more about overdose

It is important to note that a cocaine overdose can lead to severe outcomes other than death, such as heart attacks, seizures/convulsions, and stroke. These ailments cause significant damage to the body and lead to chronic health conditions.

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Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

A common question is: Can you overdose on cocaine? The answer is yes; if a large enough dose is taken, cocaine overdose is possible. The risk increases when cocaine is taken in tandem with other drugs or alcohol. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), men are three times more likely than women to overdose on cocaine1.

When a cocaine overdose occurs, one may experience a cardiac arrest – a complete halting of the heart’s beating. Breathing difficulty will immediately ensue and death will follow a short time later. If you see someone displaying overdose symptoms, call 911 or emergency responders as soon as possible. You may be saving the victim’s life.

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Can You Overdose on Crack?

Can you overdose on crack – a more base, inexpensive form of cocaine – as with cocaine itself?

The answer is yes. Crack is known to be more potent than cocaine, which often leads to a higher rate of addiction and overdose. The symptoms of crack overdose are like that of a cocaine overdose. It may be considered “easier” to overdose on crack simply due to its potency.

Individuals who use the drug even for the first time run the risk of overdose, especially when attempting to use the same amount as more long-term, experienced users. Experienced users require higher dosages, as their bodies have developed a higher tolerance to the drug.

If you suspect a crack overdose, call 911 immediately. Here are some actions to take while you wait:

  • Stay and monitor the individual until help arrives
  • Apply cold compresses to keep the individual’s body temperature down
  • Move away sharp objects and anything that may cause harm to the individual in case they experience a seizure

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How Much Cocaine Does it Take to Overdose?

It is difficult to determine what amounts of cocaine are lethal, as it depends on several factors – as well as the fact that Cocaine is often laced with other substances, such as baking soda or fentanyl.

Here are a few factors that can impact overdose capability:

  • Age: The younger one begins, the larger the risk of cocaine addiction and overdose.
  • Gender: Men have a higher likelihood of overdosing on cocaine than women.
  • Weight: One’s weight impacts the dosage their body needs to feel the effects of the drug. Miscalculating dosage can lead to overdose.
  • Drug use history: The higher the frequency of use, the higher the tolerance. Increased tolerance can result in the need for higher doses of cocaine, leading to accidental overdose
  • Mixing substances: Mixing powerful drugs may cause your body to hit a threshold never crossed before, and the results may be fatal.

So, how much cocaine to overdose? It depends on you, your current health status, history of cocaine usage, and whether or not you are mixing the drug with other substances. If you must use, do so carefully and responsibly.

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Cocaine Abuse Resources

When one is addicted, seeking help is hard—but it is the most important and worthwhile journey for them to embark on. Many treatment modalities are available, including behavioral therapy, pharmacological intervention, motivational interviewing, and rehabilitation.

It can be difficult to take the first step and have a conversation with someone who doesn’t know you, but can guide you to/ provide you with the help you need. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a free, confidential hotline available for any questions about substance abuse or mental health help. The number is 1–800–662–4357.

Additionally, Avenues Recovery Center has excellent resources and treatment programs to help guide and support you through your journey to recovery.

To learn more about drug overdose, including what the fentanyl lethal dose is, read our online resources.

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1 Sex and Gender Differences in Substance Use

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