What is Cocaine/Crack?


Cocaine is a drug extracted from the leaves of the coca plant. It is a potent brain stimulant and one of the most powerfully addictive drugs. Street dealers dilute it with inert but similar-looking substances such as cornstarch, talcum powder, and sugar or with active drugs or other stimulants such as amphetamines. Crack is the chunk or rock form of cocaine.

What are the street names/slang terms for Cocaine/Crack?


Cocaine – Coke, Snow, Blow, Nose candy, Flake, Big C, Lady, White, Snowbirds.

Crack – Rock and Freebase.

What do they look like?


Cocaine is distributed on the street in two main forms: cocaine hydrochloride is a white crystalline powder and crack is cocaine hydrochloride that has been processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water into a freebase cocaine – chips, chunks, or rocks.

How are they used?


Cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and injected. Crack can be heated and smoked in a pipe, sometimes with use of flammable solvents (freebase).

What are their short-term effects?


Short-term effects of cocaine include constricted peripheral blood vessels, dilated pupils, increased temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, feelings of restlessness, irritability, anxiety, seizures, respiratory failure, tactile hallucinations, aggressive behavior; impaired manual dexterity and motor coordination, a tendency to overreact and overcompensate, false sense of alertness and security, distorted vision and difficulty in seeing, and profound depression. Duration of cocaine’s immediate euphoric effects, which include energy, reduced fatigue, and mental clarity, depends on how it is used. The faster the absorption, the more intense the high. However, the faster the absorption, the shorter the high lasts. The high from snorting may last 15 to 30 minutes, while that from smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes. Cocaine’s effects are short lived, and once the drug leaves the brain, the user experiences a “coke crash” that includes depression, irritability, and fatigue.

What are their long-term effects?


High doses of cocaine and/or prolonged use can trigger paranoia. Smoking crack cocaine can produce a particularly aggressive paranoid behavior in users. When addicted individuals stop using cocaine, they often become depressed. Prolonged cocaine snorting can result in ulceration of the mucous membrane of the nose.

What are their federal classifications?


Schedule II



National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Click on the link below to download the fact sheet for this drug:


Cocaine/Crack Fact Sheet (PDF)