Most people think of cocaine and other stimulants as relatively safer drugs.
With a lower abuse potential than heroin and methamphetamines, cocaine is often seen as a casual use “hard drug”. But, cocaine can be significantly dangerous.
It has a high potential for abuse and addiction.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2021 nearly 24,000 people died of cocaine overdose, with death rates increasing by 22% from 2020 to 2021,
If you or a loved one is abusing cocaine, it’s important to take the drug seriously.
Practicing drug safety, not mixing drugs with other drugs or with risky activities, and getting help if you’re struggling are important.
What is a Cocaine Overdose?
A cocaine overdose happens when you take so much cocaine that your blood pressure, heart rate, and cardiac rhythm are overwhelmed.
For most people, this happens through stacking too many doses too close together.
For example, if you’re snorting cocaine, doing too many lines without waiting for the old ones to wear off can cause an overdose. In other cases, it can happen because you attempt to do too much cocaine at once.
Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose
Most people experience cocaine overdose in the form of cardiac and heart problems.
In some cases, it can be impossible or difficult to tell from a stroke or heart attack occurring from other means. Key symptoms to watch for are:
- Extreme agitation
- High blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Significant sweating
- Trouble breathing
- Irregular heartbeat/arrhythmia
- Heart attack
In each of these cases, it’s extremely important to call the ambulance and get yourself or your loved one to a hospital right away.
If someone isn’t breathing, using CPR may keep them alive until the ambulance arrives.
You can receive medical care, likely without a police report being filed about illegal drug use.
How Much Cocaine Does It Take to Overdose?
Unfortunately, there’s no set limit on how much cocaine you can have before you overdose.
Instead, cocaine overdose is often caused by your heart struggling to keep up. Here, dozens of different issues can contribute to the problem. For example:
- The age you first started using. The earlier you start, the higher the risk you are.
- The older you are. Individuals over the age of 30 are usually at much higher risk when using cocaine
- If you’re using cocaine with other substances
- Your body mass composition. If you have very high or very low body fat ratios, you’re significantly more at risk
- Your metabolism
- Whether or not you’ve had caffeine or other stimulants
- How much you’ve eaten throughout the day
- Your activity level
- Your cardiovascular health. For example, if you have an existing arrhythmia or heart problem, you’re likely at very high risk.
- How much you use in a single session, the more you use, the more likely you’re at risk
Eventually, there is no way to reduce the risk of overdosing with cocaine to 0%.
Individuals in good health who use moderate amounts of cocaine are at less risk than someone who has poor heart health and uses a lot of cocaine.
There is no safe dose of cocaine. You are never not at risk.
However, this also means that cocaine overdose is not always caused by cocaine toxicity —where you have too much of the drug in your system.
Instead, it’s caused by the drug’s normal effects on the body changing over time.
You might have a good experience and a bad experience with the same dose.
If you or a loved one needs help with cocaine addiction, reach out to us at Asana Recovery Centers. Our licensed counselors are here to help.