Cocaine / Crack Cocaine


Also known as

Coke, Charlie, Ching , Chang, White, Nose, Snow, Crack, Freebase, Rocks, Stones.


  • Cocaine is a stimulant drug with powerful, but short-lived effects.
  • It originates from the leaves of the coca plant, native to South America.
  • Powder cocaine, freebase and crack are all forms of cocaine.
  • The desired effects of cocaine use include feelings of increased confidence, energy and alertness as well as a decrease in tiredness, appetite and sleep.
  • Unwanted effects include fear, irritation, panic attacks, paranoia, impaired judgment and disturbed sleep.


  • Cocaine is a white powder.
  • Crack is a form of cocaine that has been processed to make a white/off white rock crystal, about the size of a raisin.
  • Freebase cocaine is described as a crystal like powder.

Method of use

  • Cocaine is typically divided into lines and then snorted up the nose.
  • Freebase and crack cocaine are usually smoked in a pipe, glass tube, plastic bottle or in foil.
  • Some people also choose to inject it.


  • Cocaine is psychologically addictive and can become an expensive habit.
  • People who use cocaine can suffer heart attacks or strokes, which may cause sudden death. The risk increases for anyone who has high blood pressure or a heart condition.
  • The comedown sometimes lasts for days after and can often make people feel depressed and run down.
  • You increase the risk to yourself if you combine alcohol with cocaine or another substance that causes a high.
  • Sharing injecting or snorting equipment risks infection with Hepatitis B or C viruses as well as HIV.
  • Snorting cocaine long-term can cause severe damage to the cartilage in your nose.
  • Regular crack use is linked to pains in the chest and breathing problems, including COPD.
  • Heroin is sometimes used by heavy crack users to soften the comedown or dull cravings; this may result in users becoming physically addicted to heroin.
  • ‘Speedballing’, injecting both crack and heroin, can be fatal.

Keeping safe

  • If you choose to use cocaine, then use it in a safe environment and in the company of someone you trust. Ideally, this person will not have used the substance themselves and will be in a position to get help if things go wrong.
  • Take small amounts first to test strength and effects; start low and go slow.
  • The use of cocaine with alcohol or other substances or other substances should be avoided.
  • Avoid using other drugs to deal with the comedown. Stay healthy by eating regular meals, sleeping well and getting plenty of rest.
  • Cocaine can be habit forming and tolerance can build up. Don’t use too frequently and take regular breaks.
  • Do not share snorting or injecting equipment. If you choose to inject then get safer injecting advice either from us, your local drug agency or nearest needle exchange.
  • If snorting, alternate nostrils and clean your nostrils with warm water to minimise damage.

Legal status

  • Cocaine is controlled as a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
  • Possession of cocaine could result in a prison sentence of up to five years and/or an unlimited fine.
  • Supplying cocaine to someone else could result in a prison sentence of up to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.