Facts About Cocaine

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Cocaine is a powerful and dangerous drug that continues to wreak havoc on individuals, families, and communities throughout the world. Learning the facts about cocaine use, addiction, and treatment can help you to protect yourself and your loved ones from the devastation that this drug can cause.

Where Does Cocaine Come From?

Cocaine is a stimulant that is derived from the leaves of the coca plant. This plant is native to several South American nations, including Peru, Bolivia, Columbia, and Venezuela. 

When the psychoactive ingredient is extracted from the coca plant, it is put through a multi-step process involving several chemicals. This process converts the extracted substance into a fine powder that can be snorted or a rock that can be smoked. 

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has reported that 70%-80% of all cocaine in the world is produced in Columbia, often using plants from Peru and Bolivia. 

Why Do People Use Cocaine?

In years past, cocaine was frequently incorporated into medical procedures, most commonly as a local anesthetic. Variations of this drug are sometimes still used for legitimate medical reasons today, but recreational substance abuse now accounts for the vast majority of cocaine use. 

People who abuse cocaine often do so to experience the intense rush of effects such as:

  • Increased energy
  • Elevated confidence
  • Sense of euphoria
  • Diminished inhibitions

Some people also use cocaine to either intensify or offset the effects of other drugs. This highly dangerous behavior is known as polysubstance abuse.

Though cocaine’s effects can be quite powerful, they are also relatively brief. When the effects wear off, a person may experience a physical and psychological “crash.” The desire to maintain the pleasurable effects of cocaine while avoiding the crash can push people to use the drug over and over again.

Is Cocaine Addictive?

Yes, cocaine is a highly addictive substance. 

According to the 2021 version of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NS-DUH), about 4.8 million Americans ages 12 and above reported using cocaine in the 12 months prior to the survey, and about 1.4 million people met the criteria for cocaine use disorder (which is the clinical term for cocaine addiction). 

This suggests that almost 30% of those who used cocaine became addicted to the drug.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your Blood or Urine?

Drug screens that test saliva, blood, or urine can typically detect cocaine (or cocaine metabolites) for two to three days after a person last used the drug. For people who have a long history of heavy cocaine use, this timetable may be extended.

Cocaine use can be identified for the longest period of time via hair follicle analysis. This type of drug test can find evidence of cocaine use up to 90 days after a person’s most recent use.

Is Cocaine Dangerous?

Cocaine is an extremely dangerous drug. People who abuse it put themselves at risk for considerable physical, psychological, and social harm.


The following are examples of the potential physical dangers of cocaine use:

  • Injuries due to impaired coordination and judgement
  • Elevated risk of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other bloodborne diseases
  • Malnutrition
  • Respiratory problems
  • Nasal damage
  • Heart attack
  • Seizure
  • Stroke 
  • Coma 
  • Death

Cocaine use can also cause the following types of psychological and social damage:

  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Withdrawal and isolation
  • Job loss
  • Long-term unemployment
  • Ruined relationships
  • Being arrested and jailed
  • Financial insecurity
  • Homelessness

It is important to understand that the dangers of cocaine use don’t follow a predictable path. Of course, extended use of cocaine can increase a person’s risk of irreversible damage. In addition, using this drug even once can be extremely harmful, and even fatal.

Can Cocaine Addiction be Treated? If So, How?

There is one piece of good news about cocaine addiction: It is a treatable condition. 

With proper care and concerted effort, people who have become addicted to cocaine can stop using it and start living a healthier life in recovery. 

The ideal course of treatment for someone who has been impacted by this disorder can be influenced by several personal factors, including how long they have been addicted to cocaine, how much of the drug they have been using, how their drug abuse has affected their life, and if they have any co-occurring mental health concerns.

Reputable cocaine addiction treatment programs will consider these and other factors, then develop individualized plans that reflect the full scope of each patient’s unique needs. Additionally, an individualized cocaine addiction treatment plan may include elements such as the following:

  • Detoxification
  • Residential rehab
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • EMDR and other forms of trauma therapy

Detoxification can help a person get through cocaine withdrawal safely. During therapy sessions at the residential, PHP, and/or IOP levels, patients can explore possible root causes of their struggles with addiction and develop the skills that will help them resist future urges to abuse cocaine.

Contact Our Cocaine Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles

Renewal Health Group offers personalized care in multiple locations for adults whose lives have been disrupted by compulsive cocaine abuse. We also serve individuals whose struggles with cocaine addiction are accompanied by anxiety, depression, and certain other co-occurring mental health disorders.

Our cocaine addiction treatment centers in the Los Angeles area are safe, welcoming, and respectful environments where patients receive customized services and comprehensive support from a team of highly skilled professionals. We take the time to get to know each patient as a unique individual, so that we can be sure we’re providing the focused care that best meets their specific needs.

The day you enroll in treatment at Renewal Health Group facility, you take a significant step toward improved health and a drug-free future. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact page or call our center today.

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