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How to Tell if Someone is Using Cocaine

You’re cleaning the house one day and you come across a bag hidden inside the dresser drawer. It’s a white, powdery substance. Could it be cocaine? After some research, you think it is cocaine. But why is it in my house? Could my loved one actually be snorting cocaine? You’re understandably loaded with questions right now.

Did I Actually Find Cocaine?

After some research, you might still be wondering whether or not you’ve actually found cocaine. In all likelihood, you’re questioning because you’ve come across a white, powdery substance, and you know cocaine comes in this form because that is what you’ve seen on television, in movies, or maybe in past experiences. You would be correct that cocaine is most commonly in a white powder form. Unfortunately, there are many things out there that are white, powdery substances — a lot of which are everyday household items like baking powder, sugar, and flour. This alone makes it more difficult to identify cocaine by sight than other drugs. The best way to determine if the substance is cocaine is by taking in the surroundings where you found the substance. Cocaine is an expensive drug. It is also illegal, and possession of cocaine carries a heavy criminal penalty. Anyone with cocaine, unless they are purposefully trying to get caught, will hide it in a safe and secure location. It’s also good to know what to look for around the substance in question. Cocaine is typically snorted using any number of objects. If you happen to see things like cut-off straws, small baggies, rolled paper or rolled dollar bills, or razor blades around, you could have the answer to your questions. In the same light, a person who has been taking crack — a rock-like substance that is simply another form of cocaine — will try to hide their drug as well. Crack rocks, as they are often called, are small and brownish. It’s easier to spot them and know immediately what it is.

What If My Loved One Is Snorting Cocaine?

It is startling when you come across cocaine. It’s devastating when and if you find out your loved one is taking cocaine. Cocaine can be an addictive drug and it might scare you to know you love someone who is feeling a need to consume it. As a stimulant, cocaine provides incredible bursts of energy, focus, and alertness to its consumer. For anyone ingesting cocaine, there is a risk of side effects, and unfortunately, one of those side effects is death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2019, more than 16,000 people died of a cocaine overdose. That number was, unfortunately, not a surprise after the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that in 2018, 5.5 million Americans consumed cocaine. Because cocaine and other stimulants are so popular, it’s important to be aware of the signs of consumption or addiction, even for those who are not currently worried their loved one is consuming them.

How Do I Know If My Loved One Is Consuming Cocaine?

Drug consumption in the earlier years of a person’s life may be subtle. However, over time, especially with stimulants, there are signs that creep their way into the picture. Signs of cocaine consumption are fairly universal. There are many ways to tell if someone has been regularly taking cocaine — emotional, physical, and behavioral signs to look for. The emotional signs of cocaine misuse include:

  • Overconfidence
    • A person who is actively taking cocaine often feels very self-assured and high on themselves.
  • Extreme panic
    • Cocaine brings a person to heights that cannot be reached physically without its presence in the body. This often leaves a person feeling on edge and paranoid (afraid someone wants to hurt them).
  • Hyperactivity
    • Have you ever heard the phrase “a million miles a minute”? Well, when someone is regularly consuming cocaine, they are probably speaking a million words a minute. They may also be very jittery and twitching.

The physical signs of cocaine misuse include:

  • Eyes
    • Check a person’s eyes. If they are currently high, they will have dilated pupils or bloodshot eyes.
  • Nose
    • Cocaine is most commonly snorted. For those consistently snorting cocaine, there is damage done to the nasal pathways. It causes common bleeding and runny noses.
    • This can also cause a dry and hoarse throat, which affects speech.
  • Weight loss
    • Cocaine causes hyperactivity. The activity causes weight loss. On top of this, cocaine curbs a person’s appetite, leading to weight loss.
  • Poor personal hygiene

The behavioral signs of cocaine misuse include:

  • Energy
    • Time and time again, we must mention that an easy indicator of cocaine misuse is hyperactivity. A person will have very high highs and very low lows. When high, they will be very alert and focused while being unable to speak as fast as their brain is processing. During the lows, the person will sleep for extended periods of time and show signs of depression.
  • Suspicious whereabouts
    • If you notice a person being out of contact for extended periods of time and unable to explain where they were, you might be onto them. This is true for when they are seeking out the drug in possibly unfamiliar areas of the city, or when they disappear for 10-15 minutes to the bathroom or elsewhere to consume the drug.

Cocaine Addiction Signs

Because of the powerful and intense high cocaine provides, it’s hard to avoid becoming addicted to it. There is the possibility that someone is able to just indulge in cocaine occasionally, but far too often that irregular use turns into addiction. Cocaine addiction can quickly cause issues in a person’s life with their health, finances, employment, and relationships. So how can I tell if someone I love is addicted to cocaine? The answers lie largely in what we just mentioned as the downfalls of addiction. Sometimes it just takes direction to open your eyes to see changes.

  • Financial struggles
    • Cocaine is not cheap. Becoming addicted to it, regardless of a person’s wealth, will show in finances. The cost weighs heavily on the person who’s addicted, along with the issue of trying to stay employed while addicted to a drug. It often leads to overborrowing, being unable to pay for necessities, and other financial problems.
  • Appearance changes
    • As we discussed earlier, cocaine greatly affects a person’s appetite. It can cause significant weight loss. Along with this, when a person becomes addicted to any drug, their focus is on the next time they can get the drug — not on keeping up with their hygiene.
  • Health issues
    • Cocaine isn’t healthy. It causes a lot of damage to the person taking it over time. For those who snort it, breathing issues take hold quickly as the nasal pathways are damaged. Along with this, decreased appetite can cause issues from the lack of nutrients.
  • Mental health struggles
    • Crack and cocaine cause significant mind alteration. People who consume the drug are likely to experience paranoia, anxiety, hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there), and more mental health issues when or when not high.
  • Withdrawal symptoms
    • For someone very deep into addiction, they have likely become dependent. This means their body craves and needs the drug for proper functioning. When the body doesn’t get what it wants, it causes discomfort. This leads to irritability, fatigue, depression, and many other symptoms.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment

Even though cocaine addiction leads to thousands of deaths per year in the United States, it isn’t a death sentence. Thousands of Americans overcome an addiction to stimulants like cocaine every year. Cocaine addiction treatment often begins with a detox period. As someone comes down from consistent cocaine consumption, they will often feel serious symptoms such as:

  • Depression
  • General discomfort
  • Fatigue

Following detox, treatment using counseling, different types of therapy, and other evidence-based treatments can begin.

Call Ashwood Recovery Today

We are prepared to step in and help today at Ashwood Recovery. Give us a call at (208) 906-0782 if you have any questions or would like to begin the journey to recovery.