What Does Cocaine Do To Your Body? Test Your Knowledge

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Illustration of cocaine molecule

©Shutterstock/Maryna Olyak

The 2018 Monitoring the Future study reports that more than 85 percent of teens said they do not approve of somebody even trying cocaine. This is good news, because cocaine use, like all drug use, can have some heavy effects on a person’s body. 

Take the quiz below to learn more. Answers are after the questions.

1. Which of the following is not a short-term effect of cocaine use? 

  1. Feeling sick to the stomach.
  2. Paranoia (feeling that people are out to get you).
  3. Hair loss.
  4. Higher blood pressure and faster heartbeat, leading to higher risk of heart attack or stroke. 

​2. Tr​ue or false: The long-term effects of using cocaine depend partly on how a person consumes it: snorting, smoking, consuming it by mouth, or injecting.

3. True or false: Fortunately, you can’t die from using cocaine.

4. Can using cocaine over and over again lead to addiction?

  1. Yes.
  2. No.
  3. It depends on how a person consumes cocaine.

Answers:

  1. C. Hair loss. Using cocaine can make you feel nauseous and paranoid and can cause higher blood pressure and faster heartbeat. Read more about cocaine’s short-term effects.
  2. True. Here are some long-term effects of consuming cocaine in different ways:
    • Snorting it: loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, nasal damage, trouble swallowing
    • Smoking it: cough, asthma, lung damage
    • Consuming it by mouth: damage to intestines caused by poor blood flow
    • Injecting it: higher risk for HIV and hepatitis (a liver disease) through shared needles
  3. False. In 2017 (the latest year for which data is available), nearly 14,000 people died from a cocaine overdose. Plus, street dealers often mix cocaine with other stimulants like synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, which has caused deaths. Read more about drug overdoses in young people.
  4. A. Yes. Using cocaine repeatedly can lead to addiction; there is no safe way to use it to get high. Addiction is a brain disease in which people can’t stop using drugs even when they really want to. Read more about addiction.

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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