Also Known As: Rock, Charlie, Freebase, Cheech, Coke, Chico, Snifter, Chong Snow, Snow, White Stuff, Fairy Dust, Crack
‘Coke’ is a white powder. ‘Crack’ is a form of cocaine made into small lumps or rocks that makes a cracking noise when burnt. ‘Freebase’ cocaine is specially prepared ‘coke’ and is a crystal-like powder; it is less common than 'coke' and 'crack'.
Both ‘freebase’ cocaine (powder cocaine that’s been prepared for smoking) and ‘crack’ cocaine (a ‘rock’ like form of cocaine) can be smoked. This means that they reach the brain very quickly, while snorted powder cocaine gets to the brain more slowly.
Powder cocaine (also called coke), freebase and crack are all forms of cocaine. They’re all powerful stimulants, with short-lived effects – which means that they temporarily speed up the way your mind and body work, but the effects are short-lived.
Taking cocaine makes users feel on top of the world, wide-awake, confident and on top of their game – but some people are over-confident on it and so may take very careless risks. Its effect is much like speed (amphetamines), but is usually stronger and doesn't last as long.
It can also have other effects:
- Raising the body’s temperature
- Making the heart beat faster
- Reducing feelings of hunger
- After a big night on cocaine, it's not unusual for people to feel like they've got the flu.
The effects of crack smoking are virtually immediate, peaking for about two minutes and lasting for only about 10 minutes.
When snorting coke it takes longer to peak but the effects still don’t last that long, only around 20-30 minutes.
When the effects of any cocaine use start to wear off there can be a very strong temptation to take more, particularly with the long ‘come down’, the crash period sometimes lasting for days afterwards.
All types of cocaine are addictive, but by reaching the brain very quickly freebase or crack tend to have a much stronger effect and be more addictive than snorted powder cocaine. Injecting any form of cocaine will also reach the brain more quickly but this has serious additional risks, including damaging veins and spreading blood borne viruses, such as HIV and Hepatitus C.
There are many serious risks with taking cocaine. Here’s what it could do to you:
- Cocaine users have died from overdoses. High doses can raise the body's temperature, cause convulsions, a heart attack or heart failure. Risk of overdosing increases if cocaine is mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
- Over time, snorting cocaine will seriously damage the cartilage in your nose that separates the nostrils. It is not unknown for heavy users to lose their cartilage and end up with just one really big nostril and a mis-shapen nose.
- Using cocaine a lot makes people feel depressed and run down. It can lead to serious problems with anxiety, paranoia and panic attacks. Cocaine can bring previous mental health problems to the surface. If a relative has had mental health problems, there might be an increased risk for you.
- Taking cocaine when you're pregnant can damage your baby. It may cause miscarriage, premature labour and low birth weight.
- Regularly smoking crack can cause breathing problems and pains in the chest.
- Injecting drugs can damage veins and cause ulcers and gangrene. Sharing needles or other injecting equipment can spread HIV and Hepatitis infections.
- Heavy crack users may take heroin to try to dull their cravings, so they may get hooked on heroin as well. ‘Speedballing’, injecting a mixture of cocaine and heroin, can have fatal results.
Cocaine and alcohol.
Using cocaine with alcohol (or other drugs) can substantially increase risk of side-effects. Alcohol and cocaine together can be particularly dangerous, as they mix together in the body to produce a toxic chemical, called cocaethylene.
Cocaine and Crack are Class A drugs - illegal to have, give away or sell. Possessing Cocaine or Crack can lead to a prison sentence of up to 7 years or an unlimited fine or both. Supplying (which includes giving it to a friend) could lead to a life sentence or an unlimited fine or both.
Remember: Having a criminal record can make it difficult for you to get a job or visa if you want to travel abroad.
What's the difference between possession & supply (dealing)? What happens if you're under 16? Learn more about drugs and the law.
Razors, mirrors, something to snort through, glass pipe, needles and syringes.