Cocaine is a stimulant which temporarily speeds up the way your mind and body work but the effects are short-lived. Cocaine is more commonly snorted whilst crack cocaine is generally smoked in a pipe.
Crack tends to have a much stronger effect and can be more addictive than snorting cocaine. Cocaine and crack both effect the levels of dopamine in the brain (a natural chemical which is released when we are happy or having a pleasurable experience) which give users a high. However, long term use of these drugs mean that we have less dopamine in our brains leading to low mood and even depression.
The effects of cocaine/crack can include feeling confident, alert and energised, however the come down after using can result in not being able to sleep, feeling agitated and low mood.
When cocaine and alcohol are used together they combine in the body to produce cocaethylene which increases the risk of damaging organs such as the liver and heart.
Cocaethylene is more toxic than cocaine and alcohol alone and produces a greater increase in heart rates and blood pressure.
Cocaine has potential to cause addiction. This is due to the long term changes that repeated use of cocaine can cause to the brain’s reward system. The reward circuit eventually adapts to excess dopamine brought on by the drug. Therefore, people take more frequent doses to achieve the same high but also to prevent the onset of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as depression, fatigue, increased appetite and insomnia.
Cocaine is often diluted (‘cut’) with other substances and bulking agents such as lignocaine or levamisole. Cocaine purity in Europe is increasing which can mean increased risks for the person using. Be mindful that you can never be fully sure of the contents, purity or how you will react to a product.
Cocaine is very psychologically addictive so you find it hard to live without it. Your tolerance increases over time so you have to keep taking more to get the same buzz.
You may feel tired, panicky, exhausted and unable to sleep, which can cause you extreme emotional and physical distress. This distress can lead to symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, the shakes, insomnia and sweating. You may have long-term effects such as anorexia and depression. Once you stop using, you will have an intense craving for more.
The best way to keep yourself safe is to avoid drugs completely. But if you are using cocaine, there are some simple steps you can take to lower the risks.
Cocaine can cause a number of issues for people. Take the DUDIT Online Self-Assessment tool to identify the impact of your use.
If you’re thinking of addressing your cocaine use, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
There are also some steps you can take yourself to help you cut down or quit:
If you are worried about your relationship with cocaine, it is important to reach out. There are a number of non-judgemental friendly services who can help.
The Switchboard Ireland
Outhouse, 105 Capel St, Dublin 1.
The Switchboard Ireland is Ireland’s longest running support service for the LGBT+ community. LGBT+ volunteers are available 7 days a week on phone, email and online chat to offer confidential listening, support and information. Thursdays: Substance Abuse, Chems, Narcotics, Alcohol 6:30pm – 9pm.
Phone 01 872 1055
Contact: WhatsApp @ 089 26 74 777
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for support & signpost by email
email@example.com for other questions
The MPOWER team of peer sexual health outreach workers offer information, support and resources relating to HIV, STIs and other sexual health & wellbeing needs. The team is available to speak to you by phone, email, WhatsApp, and Zoom.
Phone 01-8733799 and ask for the MPOWER Team (Mon-Fri 10am – 5pm)
Whatsapp on 086 065 7212 (Davy), 0866002996 (Mark), 0892291869 (Diego)
Sexual Health Centre Cork
Sexual Health Centre Cork offer the services of a dedicated Sexual Health Advisor to members of LGBTQIA+ community. Konrad Im provides sexual health advice and support in an understanding and warm environment, on a wide range of matters such as healthy relationships, sexuality, sexual dysfunction, gender and sexual identity.
You can make an appointment by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, calling the Sexual Health Centre on 021 427 5837 or contacting Konrad directly at email@example.com
Drugs helpline: Freefone 1800 459 459
Further information & services at http://www.drugs.ie/drugtypes/drug/cocaine
or from the drugs helpline: Freefone 1800 459 459