Cocaine Facts

  • The negative side effects of habitual cocaine use that was responsible for coining the phrase, "dope fiend".
  • Cocaine is psychologically addictive and research indicates possible physical addiction
  • Rates of cocaine use by college students over the previous 5 years has varied between 2.0% of all students in 1994 to 4.8% in 2000.
  • In 1997, for example, an estimated 1.5 million Americans age 12 and older were chronic cocaine users. Although this is an improvement over the 1985 estimate of 5.7 million users, we still have a substantial distance to go in reducing the use of this addic


Cocaine is produced as a white chunky powder. It is sold most often in aluminum foil, plastic or paper packets, or small vials. Cocaine is usually chopped into a fine powder with a razor blade on a small mirror or some other hard surface, arranged into small rows called "lines," then quickly inhaled (or "snorted") through the nose with a short straw or rolled up paper money. It can also be injected into the blood stream.

Paraphernalia associated with inhaling cocaine include mirrors, razor blades, straws, and rolled paper money, while paraphernalia associated with injecting the drug include syringes, needles, spoons, and belts, bandanas or surgical tubing used to constrict the veins. Scales are used by dealers to weigh the drug. Sometimes substances such as baking soda or mannitol are used to "cut" cocaine in order to dilute the drug and increase the quantity of the drug for sale.

The high from a typical inhaled dose of cocaine lasts for about 20 minutes. During this time the cocaine user may appear very alert, confident, energetic, and stimulated; physical signs include dilated eyes and a runny nose, and little or no appetite. The high from cocaine is followed by profound depression, an intense desire for another dose of the drug, mental fatigue, restlessness, and irritability. An overdose of cocaine can cause extreme agitation, respiratory failure, heart failure, or death.

History of Cocaine and Crack Use

In ancient times, South American natives used coca for religious and medicinal purposes. They used its stimulant properties to fight fatigue and hunger, and to enhance endurance. The Spanish conquistador banned coca at first, but when they discovered that the addicted natives could barely work the fields in the gold mines without it, they began to distribute it to the workers three or four times a day.

The Spanish conquistadors introduced coca to Europe, where it was used only occasionally until the 19th Century. The active ingredient of the coca plant was first isolated in 1859. Coca leaves were soon processed into cocaine hydrochloride, the powder form of the drug. However, cocaine was taken mostly in liquid form at that time, whether by mouth or by injection. Sigmund Freud experimented with cocaine extensively in the latter part of the century. Doctors began to use cocaine as an antidote to morphine addiction, but some of the patients ended up addicted to both.

In 1863, the coca wine Vin Mariani went on sale throughout France. It contained 6 mg cocaine per ounce of wine in France, but exported Vin Mariani contained 7.2 mg per ounce to compete with the higher cocaine content of American competitors.

German ophthalmologist, Carl Koller, discovered cocaine's effectiveness as an anesthetic for eye surgery in about 1880. Until that time, eye surgery was done without adequate anesthesia, sometimes requiring a conscious patient to move his eye without flinching as a surgeon directed him.

Cocaine was soon sold over-the-counter. Until 1914, one could buy it at department stores. It was widely used in tonics, toothache cures and patent medicines, and in chocolate cocaine tablets.

Coca-Cola was introduced in 1886 and was promoted as a drink "offering the virtues of coca without the vices of alcohol." Until 1903, a typical serving contained around 60mg of cocaine. The new beverage was invigorating and popular. Today, Coca-Cola is still flavored with an extract of coca-leaves, but contains none of the drug itself.

By 1890, the addicting and psychosis-producing nature of cocaine was well understood in the medical community, but no laws banning the general use of the drug were made until 1914. Perhaps it was cocaine's effectiveness in reducing the swelling of mucous membranes, consequently enlarging the nasal and bronchial passages, that gave users the idea of sniffing cocaine. Whatever the origin of that idea, by 1905 it was the most popular method of using the drug. In 1910, the first cases of nasal damage from cocaine snorting were written of in medical literature. In 1912, the U.S. Government reported 5,000 deaths from cocaine use -- when the US population was only a third of what it is today!

In 1914, cocaine was banned in the US Except for a few uses in medicine as a local anesthetic, cocaine has been illegal worldwide ever since. Since 1914, the possession, sale, and giving away of cocaine have been highly regulated and subject to severe legal penalties. During the 1940s, 1950s, and most of the 1960s, the smuggling of cocaine into the United States was very limited and the black market in cocaine was relatively small. Other drugs, such as amphetamines, which were available far more cheaply than cocaine, grew in popularity as drugs of abuse. Late in the 1960s, law-enforcement agencies began cracking down heavily on the amphetamine black market, and cocaine smuggling and cocaine use regained popularity. As it had been early in the century, in the 1960s and 70s, cocaine was mostly sniffed. Cocaine hydrochloride is a fine white powder with a bitter, numbing taste. Some cocaine abusers, no longer able to get the high they were seeking from sniffing the drug, have mixed it with water and injected it intravenously. However, most people are unwilling or unable to inject themselves. Soon, a smokeable form of cocaine was developed. Freebasing cocaine involves mixing it with highly explosive solvents, such as ether, and heating it. This technique is physically dangerous because the solvent tends to ignite.

In the early 1980s, a more convenient and less dangerous method of producing smokeable cocaine became common. The process involved concentrating ordinary cocaine hydrochloride by heating the drug in a solution of baking soda. This process rarely ended in fires or explosions. In addition, it allowed dealers to "stretch" the raw material; a tiny bit of cocaine hydrochloride made a full dose of the new freebase. Freebase cocaine vaporizes at a low temperature, so it can be easily inhaled from a heated pipe. This type of freebase cocaine makes a crackling sound when heated, so it was named "crack." The wholesale price of a kilogram of cocaine dropped from about $55,000 in 1981 to about $25,000 in 1984. In addition, turning cocaine hydrochloride into crack meant that one "dose" went from about twenty dollars to about five dollars. When each dose became so much cheaper, dealers could sell to rich and poor alike and make more money. A cocaine addiction epidemic was underway.

The following table contains most of the slang names used for cocaine powder, smokeable cocaine or crack, and injected cocaine. Street drug language changes all of the time, so as soon as a list is published it�s somewhat out of date. The slang used for cocaine in your area may include some of these terms, and may include totally new terms.

Street Term Form of Cocaine
Badrock Cocaine powder
Base Smokeable cocaine/crack
Ball Smokeable cocaine/crack
Bazooka Cocaine powder
Beam Cocaine powder
Beat Smokeable cocaine/crack
Berni (ce) Cocaine powder
Big C Cocaine powder
Big flake Cocaine powder
Biscuits Smokeable cocaine/crack
Blast Cocaine powder/Injected
Blizzard Cocaine powder
Blow Cocaine powder
Blunt Cocaine powder
Bones Smokeable cocaine/crack
Boost Smokeable cocaine/crack
Bouncing powder Cocaine powder
Boulders Smokeable cocaine/crack
Boy Injected cocaine
Brick Smokeable cocaine/crack
Bump Smokeable cocaine/crack
Bunk Smokeable cocaine/crack
C Cocaine powder
Cabello Cocaine powder
Cakes Smokeable cocaine/crack
Caine Cocaine powder
Candy Cocaine powder
Casper Smokeable cocaine/crack
Caviar Cocaine powder
Chalk Smokeable cocaine/crack
Charlie Cocaine powder
Chicken scratch Cocaine powder
Coca Cocaine powder
Cocaine blues Cocaine powder
Cocktail Cocaine powder
Coconut Cocaine powder
Coke Cocaine powder
Cola Cocaine powder
Colombian Cocaine powder
Cooking up Cocaine powder
Cookies Smokeable cocaine/crack
Crack Smokeable cocaine/crack
Crumbs Smokeable cocaine/crack
Do a line Cocaine powder
Cubes Smokeable cocaine/crack
Damablanca Cocaine powder
Devil Drug Smokeable cocaine/crack
Dust Cocaine powder
Esnortiar Cocaine powder
Everclear Injected cocaine
Fatbags Smokeable cocaine/crack
Flake Cocaine powder
Flame cooking Freebased/cooked cocaine
Flamethrowers Freebased/cooked cocaine
Flash Injected cocaine
Flex Cocaine powder
Florida snow Cocaine powder
Foo Foo Cocaine powder
Freebase Freebased/cooked cocaine
Freeze Cocaine powder
G-rock Cocaine powder
Girl Cocaine powder/Injected
Goofball Cocaine powder
Gravel Smokeable cocaine/crack
Happy dust Cocaine powder
Happy powder Cocaine powder
Happy trails Cocaine powder
Hardball Smokeable cocaine/crack
Heaven Cocaine powder
Hell Smokeable cocaine/crack
Kibbles n� Bits Smokeable cocaine/crack
King Cocaine powder
Kryptonite Smokeable cocaine/crack
Lady Cocaine powder
Lady caine Cocaine powder
Late night Cocaine powder
Line Cocaine powder
Love Smokeable cocaine/crack
Mama coca Cocaine powder
Marching dust Cocaine powder
Marching powder Cocaine powder
Mojo Cocaine powder
Monster Cocaine powder
Moonrocks Smokeable cocaine/crack
Mujer (Spanish) Cocaine powder
Nieve (Spanish) Cocaine powder
Nose Cocaine powder
Nose candy Cocaine powder
Nuggets Smokeable cocaine/crack
Onion Smokeable cocaine/crack
P-dogs Cocaine powder
Pebbles Smokeable cocaine/crack
Peruvian Cocaine powder
Piedras (Spanish) Smokeable cocaine/crack
Piece Smokeable cocaine/crack
Pimp Cocaine powder
Powder Cocaine powder
Press Cocaine powder
Prime Time Cocaine powder
Ready rock Smokeable cocaine/crack
Roca Smokeable cocaine/crack
Rock(s) Smokeable cocaine/crack
Rock star Smokeable cocaine/crack
Roxanne Smokeable cocaine/crack
Rush Cocaine powder/Injected
Scotty Smokeable cocaine/crack
Scrabble Smokeable cocaine/crack
Shot Cocaine powder
Shootin� Caine Injected cocaine
Sleighride Cocaine powder
Smoke houses Smokeable cocaine/crack
Smoking gun Cocaine powder
Sniff Cocaine powder
Snort Cocaine powder
Snow Cocaine powder/Injected
Soda Cocaine powder
Speedball Cocaine powder
Sporting Cocaine powder
Stardust Cocaine powder
Stones Smokeable cocaine/crack
Sugar Cocaine powder
Sweet stuff Cocaine powder
Teeth Smokeable cocaine/crack
Toke Cocaine powder
Toot Cocaine powder
Tornado Smokeable cocaine/crack
Trails Cocaine powder
White horse Cocaine powder
White lady Cocaine powder
White powder Cocaine powder
Working bags Cocaine powder
Yeyo (Spanish) Cocaine powder
Zip Cocaine powder/Injected

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