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Can you overdose on cocaine?

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The answer to “can you overdose on cocaine” may seem like a relatively simple one – however there are many complexities to consider. Whether a habitual user, or a new user, cocaine does not discriminate in its risks. 

Being familiar with the risks of cocaine, as well as the symptoms of overdose, can help protect you and those around you from the potentially fatal consequences of excessive cocaine consumption. 

Experienced elderly doctor listens with a stethoscope to young patient

Is It Possible to OD on Coke?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on cocaine. An overdose occurs when someone takes a quantity of cocaine that exceeds the body’s ability to metabolise and process it, leading to severe and potentially life-threatening consequences. 

This means that any person can be vulnerable to an overdose, even if they are a regular user or if it is their first time using. Often, because of the effects of cocaine, overdose happens when someone continues to take cocaine throughout a high – due to a lack of inhibitions and memory impairment they will typically be unaware of how much they are consuming. 

Even if you are familiar with the effects of cocaine, or with how much you typically consume, please do not assume that you are safe or that it is not possible for you to overdose on cocaine. 

What Are the Signs of a Cocaine Overdose

Being familiar with the signs of cocaine overdose can support you in identifying when you, or someone near you, may be experiencing overdose. These symptoms can vary in severity, and someone may display one or several of these signs: 

  • Agitation and Restlessness: Ongoing agitation, fidgeting, inability to sit still
  • Hyperthermia: This means an increased body temperature, typically occurring quite quickly 
  • Chest Pain: Severe chest pain or discomfort, often demonstrating stress on the heart
  • Confusion and Delirium: Feeling confused, or disorientated due to cocaine’s impact on the nervous system
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Ongoing nausea and vomiting which contributes to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances
  • Elevated Heart Rate and Blood Pressure: Cocaine increases your heart rate and blood pressure, which can cause an irregular heart rhythm and cause palpitations
  • Difficulty Breathing: Shallow or laboured breathing, shortness of breath, or respiratory distress
  • Blurred Vision: Difficulty seeing, with blurry vision
  • Loss of Consciousness: A person may lose consciousness, either briefly or for an extended period, as a severe consequence of overdose.
  • Seizures: Cocaine use can trigger seizures, particularly in cases of overdose.

For more information on cocaine overdose and what to do if you suspect you, or someone you know, is at risk of a cocaine overdose, please read more on this blog that delves into more detail. 

Can You Die From a Cocaine Overdose

It is possible to die from a cocaine overdose, and in fact overdoses are often fatal. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that affects the central nervous system, and consuming too much of it can have severe and life-threatening consequences. 

The risk of death from a cocaine overdose is primarily associated with the drug’s impact on the cardiovascular system. Your heart in particular is quite sensitive to the stimulant effects of cocaine. 

Cocaine causes a rapid and irregular heartbeat, whilst constricting blood vessels in the arteries and veins of the cardiovascular system. This can lead to cardiac arrest, when the heart stops pumping blood effectively, or a heart attack, when the heart is not receiving adequate blood flow. 

This rise in blood pressure can also disrupt the flow of blood to the brain, which may therefore cause a stroke. Strokes can be minor or directly fatal, depending on the severity and location of the stroke. 

The stimulant effects of cocaine not only interrupt normal functioning of the cardiovascular system, but also the respiratory system. Breathing can become shallow, irregular, and difficult, causing respiratory failure, and therefore death. 

Finally, the combined effects of cocaine can increase the body’s overall temperature. This is more significant than simply “feeling hot”, as excessive heat can lead to multiple organ failure and, in extreme cases, death. 

How Much Cocaine Does It Take To Overdose?

It is difficult to make a definitive statement on exactly how much cocaine it takes to overdose, because the answer depends on a lot of variable factors. Because of the extreme number of variable factors there is no fixed “safe” or “lethal” dose of cocaine. Even relatively small amounts can lead to overdose in susceptible individuals.

Some factors include if someone is a habitual user, how much they typically consume, their height and weight, and even if they are using cocaine in the same location they typically do. Of course, the purity of the cocaine, the method of consumption, and if someone is using other substances as well, will also contribute. 

Any use of cocaine comes with significant risks, even if someone has habitually used it in the past without experiencing negative outcomes before. If you are looking for a ‘maximum’ amount that you can possibly take without overdosing, this may be an indication that your cocaine use has become unmanageable and highly dangerous. 

Are You or a Loved One Addicted to Cocaine? We Can Help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to cocaine, seeking help is a crucial step toward recovery. Overcoming addiction often requires professional assistance, support from loved ones, and a comprehensive treatment plan. Clinic Les Alpes is here to help you take that first step in this direction. 

Nestled in the mountainside along the coast of Lake Geneva, our clinic is a fully private and secure location that offers the finest in luxury rehabilitation treatment. With an international team of addiction and mental health experts, we offer a holistic approach to recovery that ensures you and your loved ones can rest assured that we only offer the best. 

Utilising the latest in evidence-based recovery treatments, our medical, therapeutic, and clinical teams work together to provide an interdisciplinary experience that addresses all aspects of health and wellbeing. With our luxury amenities and stunning location, there is no better place to step into the future and achieve your best life. 

Conclusion

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug, and it can produce both pleasurable and dangerous effects. Knowledge is power, and the more informed you can be about both the effects and risks of cocaine, the more safe you can be. 

Now that you know the answer to “can you overdose on cocaine”, and that any person can be susceptible, this will hopefully support you to make health-promoting choices that keep you and those you care about safe. 

Clinically Reviewed By

Brittany Hunt

Brittany Hunt is an internationally experienced clinician, specialised in treating addictions and co-occurring disorders. Having worked in the public and private sector, she utilises holistic and evidence-based approaches designed to empower the patients in their recovery journeys. A graduate of The University of Auckland, she has a Bachelor of Health Sciences majoring in Mental Health and Addictions, a diploma in Psychology and Counselling and a Post-Graduate degree in Health Sciences, majoring in Addictions. She is a fully registered practitioner under the Drug and Alcohol Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (DAPAANZ).

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