A person holding a blade to make a line of cocaine and engage in substance use.

Artwork by Sankalpa Raychaudhary

A person holding a blade to make a line of cocaine and engage in substance use.

Snorting Cocaine - The Dangers and The Solutions

Medically reviewed by

Written by Bharat Hegde

85 Billion Dollars. That’s how much the global cocaine trade is worth. The prevalence of cocaine consumption is also reflected in the fact that over 20 Million people consume cocaine each year. The numbers reflect that there is a serious problem with illegal trade and the consumption of cocaine. However, why is cocaine consumption so problematic and why should it be addressed?

At Cadabams, we have seen the effects of Drug Addiction up close. We believe, after seeing the debilitating effects of drug addiction on individuals, that this is a topic that needs addressing. In this blog, we will focus on the effects and cocaine side effects. 

Cocaine: What is it?

Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant drug that is obtained from the leaves of the Coca Plant. It can be consumed in multiple forms. It can be snorted, its fumes can be inhaled or a liquid mixture can be injected into the veins of the individual. Cocaine produces great feelings of euphoria or joy. It achieves this by sending high levels of dopamine to the areas of the brain that control pleasure. 

Cocaine is highly addictive as the human brain develops tolerance to it quite quickly ( maybe even during the first exposure). Slowly, the individual might need greater doses of the substance to produce the same feelings of euphoria within themselves. This leads to dependence and brings with it multiple serious side effects and a risk of overdose. 

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The Effects of Snorting Cocaine

You might have seen this in multiple movies or shows. A flat surface on which fine white powder is being separated into multiple lines. A person snorting this powder and suddenly getting high. This is how to snort cocaine works. It is a fine white/yellowish powder that is snorted through the nose to produce a high.

The high produced after snorting lasts for about 15-30 minutes. This is still longer than the high achieved through other routes of administration. Cocaine produces very short bursts of intense highs which is why individuals who consume cocaine may consume large amounts of it in a short period ( binge consumption). This is also a reason behind the risk of overdose that cocaine brings with it. 

The other signs that someone has consumed cocaine include dilated pupils, higher body temperature, a faster heartbeat, high blood pressure, muscle twitching, and dizziness. The effect of alcohol on mental health in the short term is that it causes panic, agitation, mood swings, paranoia, and tremors.

Snorting Cocaine: The Side Effects are Serious

Cocaine is a very serious drug and its consumption has very very dangerous side effects. One of the major risks of Cocaine consumption is the risk of overdose. Since the high produced by Cocaine is very short-lived, individuals tend to consume large amounts of it in a short time. This can very realistically cause an overdose. Overdosing on cocaine can lead to seizures, heart attacks, and other serious issues. Overdose can in some cases lead to death. 

The physical side effects of sniffing cocaine include a diminished sense of smell (which may occur during first exposure itself), runny or stuffy nose, frequent nosebleeds, sinus infections, and perforations in the nasal septum. These are just some of the effects of snorting cocaine. However, many more serious side effects exist as well. 

Depending on how much cocaine is consumed, multiple serious effects are also present. These include convulsions, lung damage, sexual troubles, in some cases Bowel Decay, mood issues, changes in your brain chemistry, and more. Together, these can lead to a complete breakdown in daily functioning. 


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Is Recovery Possible?

Multiple treatment options exist that can help you recover from any form of addiction. Especially in the case of Cocaine consumption, help must be sought as soon as possible. Cocaine is a dangerous substance, the addiction to which must be addressed immediately. Treatment options can be availed on an OPD basis, In-Patient basis ( for acute cases of overdose or other emergencies), and Rehabilitation (at a de-addiction center which is more suitable for long-term sustainable recovery).

Treatment options include:

  • Counseling: Counseling is one of the most effective ways to treat Cocaine addiction. Having sessions with a trained therapist can help an individual modify their thought processes and reactions to ensure that they can stay away from consuming cocaine.
  • Group Therapy: Group Therapy is seen to be very effective in helping individuals overcome multiple types of addiction. Group Therapy helps individuals feel more involved in their recovery journey and helps them learn from each other’s experiences.

Other than this, there are multiple other treatment options available to treat Cocaine Addiction. However, the best treatment option for you will be suggested by your mental health professional. If you or anyone you know is facing issues around cocaine consumption or addiction, please reach out to our experienced mental health professionals. 

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