Is My Friend Overdosing on Cocaine?
If someone is showing signs of a cocaine overdose, call 911 immediately.
You’ve been having a fun weekend. After a busy and stressful work week, you and your friends had decided to let loose and just party it up this weekend.
It’s Saturday night, though, and things have taken a turn for the worse. One of your friends is vomiting with a fever and may have just had a seizure. They’ve also shown signs of trouble breathing.
What is happening? Maybe it isn’t totally obvious, or maybe there have been small things you’ve noticed. For one, they’ve been going to the bathroom a lot. They’ve also been acting very hyper and talking extremely fast — faster than normal.
These small things you’ve noticed may be all the proof you need that your friend or loved one has been consuming cocaine. Now with these symptoms you’re seeing, there is rightful concern they may be having an overdose.
This blog post will help you determine if they’re overdosing, what to do now if they are, why they may have been consuming cocaine, and more.
Signs of a Cocaine Overdose
Cocaine is a high-impact drug that is very harsh on a person’s mind and body. An overdose of cocaine will have psychological and physical signs.
Often, cocaine overdose is explained in stages. Early stages of a cocaine overdose include these symptoms:
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
- Rapid breathing
- High blood pressure
All of these symptoms are pretty vague and can be confused with any number of things. Unfortunately, because of that, a lot of people have lost their lives because the overdose has gone unnoticed.
Stage 2 of cocaine overdose appears more obvious and serious. At this point, you may notice:
- Increasingly rapid breathing
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Irregular heartbeat
Knowing these signs can help the overdosed person avoid reaching stage three of a cocaine overdose. Signs they’re in stage three are:
- Loss of pulse
- Loss of ability to breathe
- Heart attack
- Complete respiratory failure
Responding to Cocaine Overdose
This may not seem possible at the moment, but it’s best to stay calm if someone you know is overdosing.
Step One: Call 911
This is the first step because after you do this, if you cannot remember the next few steps, the dispatcher will help you. Even if you remember the next steps, stay on the phone.
You may be dealing with a life-or-death situation. The quicker you get 911 dialed and emergency personnel on the way, the better off the person will be.
Step Two: Turn the person on their side
You have probably heard this before with alcohol consumption. In the scenario that the person begins to throw up or have a seizure, this will help to stop them from choking.
Step Three: Remove any immediate dangers in the area
Remove any sharp objects or heavy objects that can topple over on top of the person.
Step Four: Again, remain calm
You have done everything possible at this point. Wait for emergency assistance and go on from there. Do not hide from the person your concern that this may be a cocaine overdose. This could save their life.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a stimulant drug that comes from the coca plant of South America. It is typically recognized by its powdery white substance and is usually snorted into a nostril.
Cocaine also comes in other forms, however. While its prevalence has declined in recent years, crack cocaine is still around. Crack is pharmaceutically the same as powdered cocaine. The only differences are that crack is created by cooking cocaine powder with baking soda and water to form “rocks,” and those are then smoked instead of snorted.
Cocaine has been illegal for consumption in the United States since the early 1900s.
Why Do People Consume Cocaine?
Cocaine can be consumed in multiple ways and different forms, but the reasons behind cocaine consumption remain fairly consistent. Cocaine provides short bursts of energy, awareness, and alertness. This “high” feeling often only lasts for around 20-30 minutes, but it is intense.
These short bursts of energy, awareness, and focus have come to be common in party scenes and stressful work environments throughout the world. Cocaine is highly addictive because the high obtained from it is very short-lived relative to other drugs.
How Many People Consume Cocaine?
Cocaine has been around for centuries. For the past 20 years in the United States, the number of people consuming cocaine has remained fairly steady.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) most recent findings show that more than 40 million Americans have tried cocaine at least once in their life.
These findings also show that within the past year (at the time of the survey), just under 6 million Americans had consumed cocaine, and 2.2 million Americans had consumed cocaine in the past month.
While crack is pharmaceutically the same thing as powdered cocaine, statistics on crack are kept separately by SAMHSA. According to SAMHSA, around 25% as many people have tried crack in their life for a total of 9.6 million Americans. Nearly 500,000 Americans had consumed crack in the past month.
How Common Is Cocaine Overdose?
This is hard to determine because cocaine overdose is much more common than death by a cocaine overdose. The scariest thing is that cocaine overdose is not something that comes in a build-up. It can happen in just one single dose — even your first dose ever. Because of this, there are no firm stats about the number of overdoses that occur in a given time frame.
In 2019, there were 15,583 cocaine-involved overdose deaths in the United States. A total of 70,630 Americans died by overdose in 2019, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
Signs Your Loved One Is Addicted To Cocaine
There are a few things to look for in a person that may be misusing or addicted to cocaine or any other stimulant. The side effects of cocaine consumption include:
- Sensitivity to lights and sounds
- Paranoia (fear that others don’t like or want to harm them)
- Increased focus
These side effects can be seen after just one dose of cocaine. If you are trying to spot an addiction, there are more things to consider that aren’t exactly physical symptoms.
How is the person doing financially? Cocaine addiction is incredibly expensive. Because of the short bursts it provides, a person with an addiction is going to want to keep going back to the drug over and over again.
A gram of cocaine can be more than $100. This gram can be broken into around 20 “hits” of the drug. At $5 a hit and a high that lasts only 30 minutes max, you can see how it can quickly become expensive.
Are they lying a lot? A person addicted to any kind of substance will become caught in a web of lies to protect themselves and their addiction.
Maybe you’ve noticed they’ve become increasingly paranoid, or they’ve been ignoring their personal cleanliness.
All of these things are signs of cocaine addiction. You can also look for these things:
- Odd sleep hours
- Risky behaviors
- Mood swings
- Lack of interest in things they formerly enjoyed
Overcoming Cocaine Addiction
Overcoming an addiction to cocaine isn’t easy, but it’s very much possible.
While detoxing from the substance, a person will experience deep and troublesome psychological withdrawal symptoms like nightmares, hallucinations, depression, anxiety, and cravings. With medical supervision, these symptoms can be better managed.
After detox, cocaine rehab can truly begin. Treatment for cocaine addiction is best when a mix of evidence-based treatments and alternative treatments is used.
Evidence-based options include counseling, group therapy, relapse prevention, and family therapy. Alternative options could include things such as mindfulness and meditation.
Call Northpoint Seattle
Northpoint Seattle is an outpatient treatment facility located in the Emerald City. We offer outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization options for treatment. All patients are given individualized treatment plans that suit their exact needs. Call us today at (425) 629-0433 if you have any questions.