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How to Tell if a Person is Using Cocaine

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Did you know that cocaine is one of the oldest recreational drugs? While the popularity of cocaine peaked during the 1980s and 1990s, the original source of cocaine – the coca leaf – has been chewed by people for thousands of years. Nowadays cocaine is chemically produced with pretty rampant use. In fact, there were approximately 1.9 million cocaine users in the United States in 2008, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Cocaine Delivery Routes

There are four main ways that people use cocaine, which can aid in telling whether or not someone is a user. Cocaine can be taken orally (swallowed), intranasal (snorted), intravenously (injected into the veins) or inhaled (smoked). It also can be combined with heroin in what is called a "speedball."

Signs that Someone is Using Cocaine

There are several signs that can make it relatively easy to tell if a person is using cocaine.

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Some short-term effects of cocaine use can include extreme feelings of euphoria or happiness, over-the-top energy and becoming more talkative than usual. The pupils of a cocaine users eyes typically become dilated along with an increase in body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Cocaine use also may cause the user to not be able eat or sleep temporarily.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine

If a person becomes addicted to cocaine, there are other common signs of long-term abuse. For example, long-term users typically partake in "binges" where they use large amounts of cocaine repeatedly over a period of time. Binges can cause the person to become extremely irritable, paranoid and can even cause such severe psychosis that the person can hallucinate and loose touch with reality.

The different administration routes of cocaine also can showcase signs of abuse. For example, snorting cocaine through the nose can cause regular nosebleeds or the loss of smell. Injecting cocaine can leave "track" marks from the needles used to inject the drug.

Finally, long-term cocaine users also may experience significant weight loss due to the suppression of appetite that cocaine causes.

Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse