Cocaine Overdose: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Cocaine overdose can be life-threatening in some circumstances. By recognizing the risks and the symptoms of cocaine overdose, you can potentially save someone’s life.

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Cocaine overdose is not just possible. In 2020 alone, nearly 20,000 overdose deaths involved cocaine use.

Of the nearly 20,000 recorded, roughly 75% involved the combination of cocaine and synthetic opioids. That is, fatal cocaine overdose rarely involves just cocaine.

Is Cocaine Overdose The Same As Cocaine Toxicity?

Cocaine overdose occurs when you take too much cocaine at one time.

Cocaine toxicity occurs as a result of progressive drug use. The effects essentially build up as you use cocaine repeatedly.

These conditions have similar symptoms and treatments.

Causes Of Cocaine Overdose

Taking too much cocaine, even if it’s your first time, can cause an overdose. However, most cocaine overdoses result from mixing multiple drugs.

It is always dangerous to mix different substances. Taking cocaine alongside alcohol or opioids is especially dangerous.

Common drugs which may be mixed with cocaine and lead to overdose include:

Signs And Symptoms Of Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine overdoses happen quickly and require emergency medical treatment. Learning to recognize the behavioral and physical symptoms of a cocaine overdose could save a life.

Behavioral Signs Of Cocaine Overdose

When you take too much cocaine, there are undesirable behavioral side effects.

You may become paranoid, agitated, and start having hallucinations. This is known as cocaine-induced psychosis.

When someone who has used cocaine becomes erratic or violent, it should be treated as signs of a cocaine overdose.

Physical Symptoms Of Cocaine Overdose

The effects of cocaine wreak havoc on your central nervous system.

If you’re experiencing a cocaine overdose, you may notice:

  • elevated heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • increased body temperature
  • chest pain
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • shaky hands

It can be difficult to see some of these symptoms in another person. Unless you’re paying careful attention, the first physical sign of a cocaine overdose may be a seizure or total collapse.

The Amount Of Cocaine It Takes To Overdose

Cocaine isn’t regulated. Each batch is different, and you never really know what it has been cut with. Testing shows that cocaine could contain anything from baking powder to fentanyl.

The amount of cocaine it takes to overdose is different for everyone. Due to the lack of regulation, there is no way to be sure that you’re taking a “safe” dose.

Certain risk factors for overdose complicate the overdose amount even further. All of this makes it virtually impossible to reduce the risk of overdose to 0.

Factors that may affect your risk for cocaine overdose include:

  • age when you first started using cocaine: People who began at a young age tend to be more likely to develop a cocaine addiction, which increases your risk for overdose.
  • sex: Men are more likely than women to use all types of illicit drugs, putting them at increased risk for overdose.
  • body weight: People with higher body weights may require higher doses of drugs to feel their effects, which can lead to increased risk of overdose.
  • history of drug use: People with a history of drug use may have built up a tolerance, leading them to take higher doses and increasing their overall risk of overdose.
  • use of additional substances: Any mixing of substances increases a person’s risk for drug overdose, as the body can only process so much of any toxic substances at a time.

There is no safe amount of cocaine to ingest, and no guarantee you will not overdose.

The best you can do is to make sure you never mix cocaine with any other substances, especially alcohol and opioids. Speedballs (cocaine and heroin) are exceptionally dangerous.

Dangers Of Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine overdose is life-threatening.

The changes to your cardiovascular system are capable of causing a sudden cardiac arrest. That means your heart completely stops. You stop breathing shortly after.

Alongside cardiac arrest, cocaine overdose has the ability to cause stroke, heart attack, renal infarction, and acute kidney damage.

That’s without even considering the potential risks that arise from sudden erratic or violent behavior.

How Cocaine Overdose Is Treated

A cocaine overdose requires immediate medical attention. If you or a loved one are showing the first signs of an overdose, call 911.

It is absolutely vital that the person is not left alone. Make a mental note of any changes you observe for emergency staff, and roll the person on their side if they begin to vomit.

In the emergency room, the first step is to stabilize the patient. If they are conscious and erratic, they will need to be restrained and sedated for their own safety.

Medical treatment will depend on what symptoms are most dangerous for the patient.

In the case of a cardiac arrest or stroke, those conditions will take precedent. However, if the heart is functioning and the patient is seizing, then the seizures will be treated first to prevent brain damage.

Treatment Programs For Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction can be deadly, especially if you’re using other substances to enhance the effects of the cocaine.

By asking for help, you will have access to medically supported cocaine detox programs. They will help safely guide you through detox while managing your withdrawal symptoms.

With the worst part over, you will be free to treat the damage to your mental health and your body.

A high-quality treatment center will offer inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment so you can get 24-hour support to continue living your life normally.

The goal is to give you what you need to recover best.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment For Cocaine Abuse

At Bedrock Recovery Center, our goal is to provide you with the support you need to get your life back.

We offer a complete suite of treatment options for substance use disorders that allow you to tailor your experience for the best chance of success.

There’s no safer time to quit than today. Give us a call so you can stop living in fear of cocaine overdose.

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information — Cocaine
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Cocaine Drug Facts
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Overdose Death Rates

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2023 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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