Cocaine use disorder is a serious health issue. If you suspect cocaine abuse by someone you care about, here is how you can find out:


Tell-tale findings

First of all, you may find curled up dollar bills lying around. This is because cocaine is done primarily by snorting up the nose, and users do it with the help of a rolled up dollar bill. They could also be using a cut up plastic straw. Cocaine is expensive and you need cash to buy it. If someone is always carrying and spending large amounts of cash, without a good explanation, it is a concerning sign. Users need privacy to use cocaine. They may disappear frequently to the bathroom may be a sign of a cocaine addiction. Secretive phone calls may raise that suspicion further.


Mood & Energy:

They may disappear to use the drug and then return in a very different mood. They may seem excited, talkative, overconfident and exhibit a greater sense of well-being. They may have more sexual energy, and may not feel hungry or exhausted despite getting very little food and sleep. Other symptoms include aggressiveness, paranoia, poor judgment, delusions, hallucinations, depression, agitation, apathy, etc.
The evidence that someone is using crack cocaine include small glass pipes and tiny plastic bags

Physical appearance

You may detect traces of white powder around their nose (if they snort). They may have a runny nose or nosebleeds. They could also be shooting (needle marks) or ingesting (rare cases). They may have dilated pupils and may exhibit photophobia (sensitivity to light).


Crack cocaine is smoked as opposed to being snorted. The evidence that someone is using crack cocaine include small glass pipes and tiny plastic bags. The effects of crack cocaine are shorter lasting (10 – 15 minutes). The user may have burns on lips and fingers.

Long-term use of Cocaine (of any form) includes physical and mental deterioration. These can include depression, agitation, nervousness, tiredness, insomnia.

Staying away from the drug will lead to what’s called a “crash”, where the user experiences depressed moods, anxiety, irritability, apathy, and excessive sleeping.

What do about it

Getting medical help is key! Cocaine addiction treatment is extremely beneficial for many people. It is not a lost cause if your loved one is abusing cocaine. Choosing the right care is very important. A doctor will help you determine if cocaine overdose treatment is necessary, and help you evaluate what other levels of care need to be considered, and navigate through the process.

Comprehensive rehabilitation programs for cocaine addiction are available. It is a multifaceted process and has to focus on the individual to design a program around. These programs help the individual cope with initial overdose or withdrawal symptoms, address associated mental health conditions, learn coping skills to prevent a relapse.  Be careful in evaluating your options in choosing the right program for your loved one – it can make the difference between success and failure.