Crack and Cocaine
Cocaine comes from the leaves of a South American plant called the coca bush. At the beginning of the 20th century, cocaine was legal and could be consumed in forms of tonics and beverages (Coca-Cola actually contained a small amount of cocaine). Crack is a stronger and cheaper form of cocaine (Parlons drogue).
- In the 1970’s, cocaine was known as the drug of the rich and famous;
- You never really know what is mixed with cocaine. It’s usually “cut” or mixed with other products such as talcum powder, cornstarch, anesthetics (used by Doctors to put people to sleep during surgery) and amphetamines (used by Doctors as a relaxant);
- Cocaine is often used with other drugs. When mixed with heroin and injected, it is called a “speedball”;
- A 2009 survey of Ontario students in grades 7 to 12 reported that 2.6 per cent had used cocaine and 1.1 per cent had used crack at least once in the past year (CAMH).
Coke, Powder, Freebase, Rock
How it works
Cocaine is a strong stimulant that affects the brain and makes you very energetic and alert. It comes in the form of a white powder that is snorted or injected, or in the form of little crystals or rocks that are heated and then inhaled. This form is referred to as “freebase” and “crack”. The method of consumption (smoked, snorted or injected) will have an effect on the type of “high” the user will get (CAMH).
The use of cocaine and/or crack can cause dangerous consequences both in regular and casual users. Euphoria and increased alertness are among the most common side effects of the drug. It is also possible to experience severe agitation, rapid heart rate, faster breathing, tremors, nausea, anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia and delusions.
Those who share drug supplies such as needles, pipes, spoons and straws are at a higher risk of severe infections including HIV and hepatitis B and C.
Someone can overdose even on a small amount of cocaine. Cocaine can cause abnormal heart beats, strokes, seizures, slower breathing, respiratory arrest and in some cases the use of cocaine may result in death.
Cocaine can produce many undesirable effects that have not been mentioned on this page. If you would like more information, visit the Health Canada: Learn About Drugs web page.
Tolerance and Dependence
Tolerance and dependence are likely to occur with regular cocaine use. Crack is a more addictive drug due to its faster, stronger and shorter high. Users who stop using cocaine/crack abruptly may experience some withdrawal symptoms including depression, hunger, cravings for the drug, suicidal thoughts and violent behaviour.
In Canada, cocaine is governed under by the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Unlawful possession, traffic, production, and any other related drug activities are considered criminal offences.
What you can do
For more information on cocaine or crack cocaine, please talk to your family doctor or your school counsellor or check out the links below. If you or someone you know is using or is addicted to cocaine, talk to an adult you trust or call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you think someone might be overdosing or reacting badly to a drug, do not hesitate to call emergency services, it could save someone’s life.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Health Canada: Learn About Drugs
Health Canada: Treatment and Rehabilitation
Parlons Drogue: Cocaine
Parlons Drogue: Crack
RCMP Drug Identification Chart