If you or someone around you is experiencing a cocaine overdose, it’s important to call 911 or local emergency services.
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug. It’s popular for its stimulant effects, such as high energy and decreased appetite.
A cocaine overdose can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as paranoia, aggression, vomiting, temperature spikes, and seizures. In severe cases, a cocaine overdose can lead to serious complications such as stroke, heart attack, coma, and even death.
Cocaine is often mixed with strong and dangerous opioids, such as fentanyl, that can increase your risk of accidental overdose.
An overdose is a medical emergency
It’s important to call 911 or local emergency services or get to an emergency room right away if you or someone else experience any symptoms of a cocaine overdose. Especially if you or they:
- have lost consciousness
- have difficulty breathing
- can’t keep down fluids
- are running a temperature of 103°F (39.4°C)
An overdose is a medical emergency and can be fatal. When the ambulance arrives, tell the paramedics about your symptoms and about your cocaine use.
It’s important to be honest with emergency workers. You won’t get in trouble, but it could help save your life.
Cocaine overdoses can have a variety of signs and symptoms. As a rule, a signal of cocaine overdose is any symptom that marks a significant and negative departure from the wanted effects of cocaine.
This means that while people who’ve taken cocaine typically experience the desired effects, such as high energy levels, euphoria, increased confidence, and decreased appetite, people who experience a cocaine overdose might have symptoms such as:
It’s very common for other substances to be mixed, or cut, with cocaine. Sometimes, these other substances are harmless, but often, cocaine is cut with harmful, and very powerful, additional drugs like fentanyl, carfentanil, or other synthetic opioids.
These drugs greatly increase your risk of overdose, but people who use cocaine don’t always realize that these opioids have been added to their cocaine. This can make it very easy to accidentally overdose. It can also cause additional symptoms, such as:
A cocaine overdose can be fatal. The only guaranteed way to prevent an overdose is to avoid using cocaine. But not everyone is ready or able to make that step.
If you’re going to use cocaine, there are some steps you can take to be safer and to be prepared for the possibility of an overdose. For instance, you can:
- Always take cocaine with others: It’s a good idea to avoid being alone while you use cocaine. Having others around can ensure there are people to spot any effects of an overdose.
- Don’t share cocaine supplies with others: While it increases your safety when you use cocaine at the same time as other people, it’s safest to never share methods, such as needles and straws, of cocaine consumption.
- Always use clean needles and supplies: It’s safest to always use sterile supplies when you use cocaine.
- Avoid drinking alcohol while you use cocaine: Alcohol increases your risk of cocaine overdose.
- Avoid mixing cocaine with medications or other drugs: Any substances you take at the same time as cocaine can increase your risk of overdose.
- Don’t binge on cocaine: Bingeing describes using large amounts of cocaine in a short period of time, such as over a weekend. It can lead to overdose.
- Use fentanyl test strips: You can
get free fentanyl test stripsfrom many hospitals, health clinics, and rehabilitation centers. These strips can find fentanyl in other drugs. They can help you avoid cocaine that’s been laced with fentanyl.
Changing your relationship with a highly addictive substance like cocaine can feel overwhelming, but you don’t need to do it alone. When you’re ready, there are resources you can turn to that will you help you on your journey.
You can learn more about the options for detox and rehab here, or look into:
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) helpline: You can call the free SAMSHA hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to get connected to resources including rehabilitation and recovery programs and counseling centers in your area. Help is available in both English and Spanish. You can get started by calling 1-800-662-4357.
- Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery: SMART Recovery is a free online resource that offers tools and support to people who are changing their relationship with cocaine and other addictive substances.
- Partnership to End Addiction: You’ll find resources to help you create a plan, find treatment, and get support during recovery when you visit the Partnership to End Addiction website.
You can also learn more about cocaine, addiction, and recovery by reading:
- What You Need to Know About Substance Abuse Disorder
- What is Cocaine Addiction?
- Does Using Cocaine Kill Brain Cells?
- What Effects Does Cocaine Have on Your Heart?
- How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?
- Cocaine and LSD: What Happens When They Mix?
- Cocaine and Depression: Does One Really Lead to the Other?
- What Happens If You Do Cocaine Once: Side Effects & Risks
Cocaine is a highly addictive drug, known for its stimulant effects. Overdosing on cocaine can cause unpleasant and fatal side effects. These can include changes in mood, such as paranoia and aggression, as well as physical symptoms, such as spikes in your body temperature, changes to heart rate, and vomiting.
Cocaine is sometimes cut with powerful opioids, such as fentanyl, and this can increase your risk of an accidental overdose and can cause additional symptoms such as skin dislocation, clammy skin, and loss of consciousness.
The only way to completely prevent an overdose is to avoid using cocaine, but if you’re not able or ready to take that step, precautions such as not using alone, using fentanyl test strips, avoiding binges, and not mixing cocaine with other substances can help you stay safer.