Fish Scale Cocaine: What Is It?

Fish scale cocaine is high-quality cocaine, an illicit, recreational drug. Cocaine abuse comes with a long list of dangerous effects on the body. Treatment options vary but involve detoxification and intensive treatment programs.

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Dr. Langdon M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly Langdon M.D.


Simply put, fish scale cocaine is the purest form of cocaine. It is an illegal and highly dangerous stimulant drug.

As cocaine hydrochloride is typically cut with other additives, most of what is found on the streets isn’t pure cocaine.

As far as the name goes, fish scale cocaine gets its moniker from its appearance. Regular cocaine is typically a white or off-white powder, depending on what it’s cut with.

On the other hand, fish scale cocaine is a bright, iridescent white powder that somewhat resembles the iridescence of fish scales.

Where Fish Scale Cocaine Comes From

Cocaine primarily comes from South America, specifically, Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia. This is because the plant it’s made from, the coca plant, grows in these countries.

Peruvian Fish Scale Cocaine

Peru has always been one of the top producers of cocaine, right behind Colombia. However, it has become closer to being the number one producer in recent years.

Peru is an ideal spot for fish scale cocaine production due to the prevalence of coca plants and the separation from law enforcement.

Additionally, Peru’s location is ideal for transporting cocaine.

“Bolivian Flake” Cocaine

On the other hand, Bolivia is a top producer of cocaine. However, it is only the third-highest producer of the substance.

Bolivia is also home to endless coca plants. Fish scale cocaine, also known as Bolivian flake, is a huge export for the country.

The Production Of Fish Scale Cocaine

The production of fish scale cocaine is very similar to that of cocaine hydrochloride, considering it’s one of the purest forms of it.

Cocaine is made from the leaves of the coca plant. Then, it is usually mixed with other substances like flour, talcum powder, baking soda, or fentanyl, though this is different for fish scale cocaine, as it’s often uncut.

Physical Characteristics Of Fish Scale Cocaine

Fish scale cocaine is easily identifiable by its physical characteristics. It is bright white in color and has a pearly sheen or iridescence to it.

The other physical characteristic of this form of cocaine is its texture. It is typically a powder but can also be solid and rock-like if it has been converted to crack cocaine.

Cutting Agents In Fish Scale Cocaine

Because fish scale cocaine is a purer form of cocaine, there are not many cutting agents involved in the production of it.

However, the most notable cutting agent is levamisole. This is a medication typically used in veterinary settings and is associated with a high risk of infection, making fish scale coke especially dangerous.

How Fish Scale Cocaine Is Sold

Fish scale cocaine is sold just like other forms of cocaine after being smuggled across the border by drug cartels.

However, fish scale cocaine is sold at much higher prices than other forms of cocaine for sale, due to its higher purity level.

How Fish Scale Cocaine Is Abused

There are a few common ways fish scale cocaine is abused. These include snorting, smoking, and injecting the substance.

Snorting fish scale cocaine is the simplest method of use. The powder is separated into small amounts called “lines” and then inhaled through the nose.

On the other hand, smoking fish scale cocaine is a little different. Cocaine users will heat up the substance and inhale the vapors it produces. This method tends to cause more intense effects.

Lastly, injecting cocaine is the fastest way to feel the effects of the drug. Fish scale cocaine must be mixed with water to be injectable and is injected into the vein via needle or syringe.

While there are a variety of ways to use fish scale cocaine that can alter its effects, they are all dangerous and can lead to addiction.

Effects Of Fish Scale Cocaine Use

Fish scale cocaine can cause a wide array of side effects, though they are fairly identical to those of other forms of cocaine.

The only difference with fish scale cocaine is that the effects may be more intense due to its increased purity.

Effects of fish scale cocaine use may include:

  • insomnia
  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • dilated pupils
  • decreased appetite
  • euphoria
  • increase in energy
  • hypersensitivity to sounds and light

Dangers Of Fish Scale Cocaine Abuse

Much like other illicit drugs, fish scale cocaine abuse can put your health at risk. Dangers associated with this substance can range in severity and are sometimes unpredictable.

Due to fish scale cocaine being purer than other forms of cocaine, it is more likely to cause hazardous effects and harm to your health.

Dangers of fish scale cocaine abuse may include:

  • increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • irregular heartbeat
  • headache
  • cravings or withdrawal
  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • seizures
  • loss of smell
  • nasal irritation
  • infection
  • nausea and vomiting
  • exposure to HIV and Hepatitis B and C
  • psychosis
  • coma
  • overdose
  • sudden death

Treatment Options For Cocaine Addiction

Addiction to cocaine can happen quickly and take over your life in the blink of an eye. Finding treatment for cocaine abuse may seem overwhelming, but there are plenty of options.

Bedrock Recovery Center, located in Canton, MA, is a highly rated facility offering addiction treatment for alcohol, opioids, and other dangerous substances.

There are three main categories of treatment at Bedrock, including detoxification, inpatient programs, and medication-assisted treatment.

After helping you through your detox, our rehab center offers one-on-one therapy sessions, education about addiction and recovery, and group settings to help you find peer support.

Find Addiction Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

Cocaine abuse is a serious medical condition and must be treated as soon as possible. If you or your loved one are addicted to cocaine, call our helpline at Bedrock Recovery Center today.

  1. Berkeley Political Review — The Rise of Cocaine in Peru
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Cocaine Research Report
  3. New York State Department of Health — NYSDOH-OASAS Health Advisory: Levamisole-Contaminated Cocaine
  4. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — Drug Fact Sheet: Cocaine

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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