Snorting Cocaine: Side Effects And Risks

One popular method of cocaine use is snorting cocaine in the form of white powder. Snorting cocaine comes with the usual effects of cocaine use, as well as some side effects specific to substance use through snorting.

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Dr. Langdon M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly Langdon M.D.


Like any method of using drugs, snorting cocaine comes with its own array of dangerous and potentially life-threatening physical and mental side effects.

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug, with the effects of cocaine use resulting in increased energy, social output, and feelings of euphoria.

Snorting cocaine involves inhaling it through the nasal passages, where the cocaine is absorbed through the bloodstream.

This produces a longer-lasting high than other methods of ingestion, usually about 15 to 30 minutes, resulting in people who use cocaine seeking repeated doses to maintain a consistent high.

How Is Cocaine Snorted?

common way of taking cocaine is to snort it. This is one of the easiest and least messy forms of drug use.

It involves taking a rolled-up banknote, cocaine straw, or small tube of another sort and ‘sniffing’ the desired substance through the nose, with one end of the straw loosely in either nostril.

Some people also employ the help of certain drug paraphernalia, namely ‘bullets’ or ‘bumpers’ which are nasal inhalers used to snort drugs like ketamine, cocaine, and mephedrone.

Signs That Someone May Be Snorting Cocaine

There are a number of physical and behavioral indicators that may point to an ongoing pure coke or crack cocaine addiction.

Some of these warning signs include:

  • dilated pupils
  • long periods of sleeplessness
  • periodic behavioral changes, such as overconfidence and overexcitement
  • frequent bloody or runny nose
  • mood swings
  • financial difficulties
  • lapse in attendance of family, school, or work-related activities
  • mental health disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder

Short-Term Side Effects Of Snorting Cocaine

The short-term side effects of snorting cocaine can be categorized as the immediate bodily and behavioral responses to the drug.

Some of these short-term side effects of cocaine use include:

  • nosebleeds
  • damaged or inhibited sense of smell due to the numbing nature of cocaine
  • increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • dopamine sickness as a result of mental overstimulation

Snorting this substance can result in cocaine overdose, which makes snorting freebase one of the most dangerous forms of coke ingestion.

This is because most street-quality coke products are made with solvents, cutting agents, and other chemicals to fluff the product and purify it.

The acids and other substances in this type of cocaine can make it difficult to judge the potency of the drug without first testing it, meaning overdose can be extremely likely.

Long-Term Side Effects Of Snorting Cocaine

While the short-term effects of cocaine may be pleasurable, repeated and prolonged cocaine use can lead to a debilitating addiction.

Cocaine is extremely addictive because of its effect on the brain, as it manipulates and stimulates neurotransmitters in order to produce dopamine.

This leads to users feeling a desire to use more and more cocaine at increasingly frequent intervals in order to achieve the same effect, making it a ‘snowball drug.’

In some cases, effects of prolonged cocaine use can manifest themselves as:

  • stomach pain and nausea
  • heart palpitations and changes in heart rhythm
  • coronary artery malfunction
  • cardiac chest pain
  • seizures
  • potential overdose
  • sudden death
  • coma
  • behavioral health disorders

Risks Of Snorting Cocaine

Snorting cocaine can lead to overdose, as the amount and potency of each batch vary from one dealer to another.

Additionally, because of the nature of the method in which cocaine is ingested through the nasal passages, cardiovascular issues have a higher percentage chance of developing.

Heat flashes, as a result of withdrawal symptoms, can also be dangerous. This increases overall body temperature and can lead to an increased chance of heart attack.

Treatment Options For Cocaine Abuse

There are a number of substance use treatment programs available to combat cocaine drug addiction.

Some of these addiction treatment options include:

Find A Drug Rehab Center For Cocaine Addiction

If you or a loved one need help for cocaine drug use, reach out to Bedrock Recovery Center today.

Our treatment center, located in Canton, Massachusetts, provides a range of evidence-based treatment programs for substance use. Here you can find detox support, medication management, 24-hour care in inpatient programs, and much more.

Call us today to learn more and to get started on the path to addiction recovery.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Cocaine Drug Facts
  2. National Institute of Health (NIH) — Cocaine Field Report

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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