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What Are The Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Use?


Updated May 16, 2014

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What Are The Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Use?

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Question: What Are The Short-Term Effects of Cocaine Use?
Answer: Almost immediately after taking cocaine, the user begins to feel its effects, whether it is snorted, injected or smoked. Even small doses of the drug can make the user feel euphoric, energetic, talkative, and mentally alert.

Users report a heightened sensitivity to sight, sound and touch. They can also experience a decreased need for food or sleep, at least temporarily.

Although some cocaine users find that using the drug helps them perform simple intellectual and physical tasks more quickly, other users report that cocaine has the opposite effect.

The method by which cocaine is used can affect how high the user feels and how long the high lasts. For example, snorting cocaine does not produce as intense a high as smoking it, but the high lasts longer. A high from snorting may last 15 to 30 minutes, while a high from smoking cocaine might last only 5 to 10 minutes.

The faster the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream, the more intense the high, but the shorter the duration.

Short-term physiological effects of cocaine can include:

Users who take large amounts of cocaine might intensify their high, but may experience bizarre, erratic, and violent behavior. They may also experience:

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, repeated doses of cocaine can produce a toxic reaction closely resembling amphetamine poisoning.

Although it is rare, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly with later doses of the drug. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest.

Has cocaine become a problem for you? Take the Cocaine Screening Quiz

Do you think you may need treatment for drug abuse? Take the Drug Abuse Treatment Screening Quiz to find out.

See also other health effects of cocaine use.

Back to: Cocaine FAQ


National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Cocaine: Abuse and Addiction." Research Report Series Updated September 2010

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