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Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine is a powerful stimulating drug capable of starting a number of reactions in the brain and body. Cocaine is available in powdered form that can be:

  • Smoked
  • Snorted
  • Injected
  • Ingested

Another form of cocaine, known as crack cocaine is available in the solid form that is consumed by smoking most of the times. Cocaine is known to cause intensely pleasurable effects that may force the user to take the drug over and over again until an overdose is resulted. Also, prolonged use of the drug may result into development of tolerance so every time it takes higher amounts of the drug to produce the effects and eventually, the user may end up taking significantly higher amounts of the drug resulting into an overdose. Cocaine overdose is a dangerous condition for body as well as mind and if immediate medical care is not provided, even death is possible.

Withdrawal and detox from cocaine

Table of Contents:

  • 1.Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose
  • 2.What are the health effects of cocaine overdose?
  • 3.How much cocaine is too much?
  • 4.What are the reasons for cocaine overdose?
  • 5.What are the risk factors for cocaine overdose?
  • 6.How to deal with a cocaine overdose?
  • 7.How to prevent cocaine overdose?

Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose:

When cocaine is taken in significantly high amounts, it triggers a number of physiological and psychological changes in the body due of its strong stimulating effects. Some signs and symptoms of cocaine overdose include:

  • Very high energy
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Restless
  • Panic attacks
  • Dilated pupils
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea vomiting
  • Pain in abdomen
  • Excessive talking
  • Involuntary tremors
  • Muscle twitching
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Hyperthermia
  • Headache
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Psychosis
  • Stroke
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Death

What are the health effects of cocaine overdose?

Chronic overdose of cocaine may result into severe damage to body and mind. Same is true for acute overdose. Even though it is possible to survive an overdose but the physical and psychological effects produced by the drug keep haunting the patient for long time. Some health effects of cocaine overdose include:

  • Heart problems such as stroke or heart attack
  • Lung problems such as pneumothorax
  • Damaged stomach and intestine such as development of ulcers and metabolic acidosis
  • Weakened muscles and bones
  • Damage to eyes and even loss of vision
  • Brain and CNS damage. Seizures, coma and intercranial bleeding

How much cocaine is too much?

It is not possible to establish a definite upper limit for cocaine use. Consuming how much cocaine may result into an overdose depends upon a number of factors such as:

  • Purity of the drug being used
  • Tolerance of the user
  • Age and weight of the user
  • Whether or not the user is suffering from some medical condition

The usual amount of drug taken ranges from 30mg to 70mg. But when the tolerance is developed, the dose may increase to even 1g. The estimated lethal dose for cocaine is 1.3 g but it can be even lower for some people so it is never safe to experiment with drugs like cocaine.

What are the reasons for cocaine overdose?

Even people taking cocaine for the first time may overdose. Overdose of cocaine maybe intentional or accidental.

The accidental overdose may result from:

  • Not having a knowledge about the drug
  • Keeping the drug in the reach of children and mentally unstable people
  • Taking higher doses to cope with tolerance
  • Injecting or snorting the drug

While the motives behind an intentional overdose can be:

  • An attempt to cause self harm
  • Suicide attempt

Teens and young adults are most likely to overdose on cocaine in an attempt to commit suicide.

What are the risk factors for cocaine overdose?

When using cocaine, there is always a risk of overdose that cannot be eliminated. There are some situations that increase the risk of overdose even further such as:

  • Combining cocaine with other drugs such as alcohol or meth
  • Taking higher amounts to deal with tolerance
  • Repeatedly keep taking the drug in attempt to maintain the high

It is important to take extra care while dealing with toxic substances like cocaine to avoid unpleasant incidences.

How to deal with a cocaine overdose?

If a person is spotted with signs and symptoms of cocaine overdose, emergency medical care should be sought by calling 911. It is highly likely to die from cocaine overdose so providing medical attention in time is important to prevent the death of the patient. While waiting for help to arrive, some emergency procedures can be implemented to care for the patient such as:

  • Regulating the room temperature to make it suit patient’s needs
  • Holding patient’s head back during a seizure to avoid serious injuries
  • Giving a CPR if a trained person is available and if the patient needs it
  • Keeping the harmful objects out of the reach of patient
  • Caring for and staying with the patient till the help arrives
  • Staying calm throughout the process

It is important to be extremely careful during the process because patient may end up harming himself and people around him.

How to prevent a cocaine overdose?

It is impossible to completely eradicate the risk of cocaine overdose. When the drug is being used, there is always a risk of overdosing. The only definite method to avoid an overdose is to quit taking the drug at all. In this regard, rehabilitation centers can be immensely helpful. Other than this a number of precautionary measures can be taken such as:

  • Having a knowledge about the safe dosage, side effects and overdose symptoms of the drug
  • Keeping the drug out of the reach of children
  • Keeping the drug away from mentally handicapped people
  • Getting the appropriate help to the people fighting with some mental illness. Also, harmful substances like cocaine should be kept out of their reach

Cocaine is an immensely addictive and toxic substance. If a loved one is suffering from the addiction, it is important to get them help before it is too late.


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