Cocaine / Crack

Know the facts about cocaine/crack and connect with help and support to keep your child safe.

What are some slang terms?
Big C, Blow, Coke, Flake, Freebase, Lady, Nose Candy, Rock, Snow, Snowbirds, White Crack

What is it?
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. Crack is a derivative of cocaine.1

What does it look like?
Cocaine is distributed illegally 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 is it used?
Cocaine can be snorted, rubbed into the gums or dissolved in water and injected. Crack can be smoked.2

What do young people hear about it?
Kids and young adults hear that cocaine/crack produces a euphoric ‘rush’ and immediate high upon snorting, injecting or smoking that provides a burst of energy and reduced fatigue.

What are the risks?
Cocaine’s effects are short lived, and once the drug leaves the brain, it leads to a “coke crash” that includes depression, irritability, and fatigue. Smoking crack/cocaine can produce a particularly aggressive paranoid behavior. When addicted individuals stop using cocaine, they often become depressed. Prolonged cocaine snorting can result in damage of the mucous membrane of the nose.2

What are signs of use?

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased temperature
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Paranoia
1NIDA. “Cocaine.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6 May. 2016, Accessed 26 Oct. 2018.
2NIDA. “Commonly Abused Drugs Charts.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, July. 2018, Accessed 26 Oct. 2018.
Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); MedlinePlus

Additional Photos

crack cocaine

Next Steps

Look for Warning Signs

Do you think your child may be using drugs? If so, have you noticed any of these changes or warning signs?