Extracted from coca leaves, cocaine was originally developed as a painkiller. It is most often sniffed, with the powder absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal tissues. It can also be ingested or rubbed into the gums.
To more rapidly absorb the drug into the body, abusers inject it, but this substantially increases the risk of overdose. Inhaling it as smoke or vapor speeds absorption with less health risk than injection.
What does cocaine look like?
The most common from of cocaine is cocaine hydrochloride. This is a white, crystalline powder with a bitter, numbing taste.
Cocaine hydrochloride can be further processed to produce cocaine base, known as ‘freebase’ and ‘crack’. Freebase is a white powder, while crack generally comes in the form of crystals that range in colour from white or creamy colour to transparent with a pink or yellow hue.
Cocaine hydrochloride is often mixed, or ‘cut’, with other substances such as lactose and glucose, to dilute it before being sold.
How is it used?
Cocaine hydrochloride is most commonly ‘snorted’. It can also be injected. Some people rub it into the gums, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Others add it to a drink or food. Freebase and crack cocaine are usually smoked.
For more information, please click on the Australian Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo Clearinghouse web site link below.