There are several signs of cocaine use and by keeping abreast of these signs you can more effectively determine if someone has been using the drug. As a person with a history of cocaine use, I can testify to the prevalence of these “signs” and symptoms. In my experience with other users and with recovering users in sober house settings, the indicators that a person is using cocaine have always been remarkably consistent.
The following are what I would consider the tell-tale signs of cocaine use:
1. Irregular Sleeping
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant and it is, quite frankly, impossible to maintain a normal sleeping schedule when using the drug. It is not uncommon for a user to go on a binge and stay awake for several days. Sleep becomes less important than maintaining the high and is frequently tossed aside.
Due to this, a cocaine user can live a roller coaster existence, being up for a couple of days or longer at a time and then crashing to catch up on some much-needed sleep. I used to use cocaine for several days without sleeping and then would require at least 24 hours to sleep it off.
Therefore, if someone seems to be doing without sleep for some time and then crashes out for day or so you may consider that a sign of cocaine use.
2. Selling Belongings or Stealing
Cocaine is very expensive — and that’s an understatement. Many addicts have abused their way through all their possessions including houses and cars. Once a user gets going, the costs can add up quick. So cocaine users are always on the prowl for money.
When I was a cocaine user, I valued none of my belongings more than my next high. Visits to pawn shops, title loan outfits, used clothing and books stores, etc. became commonplace. I was relentless in my desire to obtain more cocaine and therefore was always rolling my stuff over for some quick cash.
Obviously, the cocaine addict is unable to get “fair” value for many of these belongings. And in desperation they will often accept anything at all. As a result, cocaine addicts face a dwindling supply of products with which to sell.
If your loved one if a cocaine user, he may ask you for a belonging (especially if you are reluctant to give him cash) that he really “needs.” Be advised that giving an addict an ipod or an xbox is the equivalent to handing him cash since he is just going to pawn it anyway.
The same holds true for stealing. Addicts aren’t bad people by nature, but in the grips of addiction they will go to nearly any length to maintain their high. So it is not uncommon for items belonging to family and friends to go missing. This could be cash or it could be any item that can be exchanged for cash.
The signs of cocaine use can sometimes be obvious. Cocaine, if snorted, wreaks havoc on membranes in the nose. As a result of a heavy dose of cocaine abuse, a user may have the “sniffles” for several days afterward. Now, sometimes this may present itself as just a minor affliction, like that you might see in an allergy sufferer. Other times the sniffling is pronounced. You probably have noticed that your loved one is having some serious trouble with their nose.
When I used cocaine heavily I would need a box of kleenex by my side for days. I struggled with a mucus drip coming out of my nostrils and found myself sniffling frequently, about once a minute or more, to keep this mucus from running down my face.
It’s not pretty. Unfortunately, it is a reality with the disease of addiction.
4. Cocaine paraphenelia
There are certain items which, in and of themselves, are pretty good signs of cocaine use. Cocaine addicts require the tools of the trade. There are several pet items that a cocaine user is likely to have on hand in order to use the drug.
Here are the most common items associated with cocaine use:
- Straws and rolled up dollar bills. If your user is a sniffer then he is likely to have some sort of device in which to consume his drugs. Frequently, addicts roll up a bill or cut a straw in thirds. So be on the look out for these items.
- Aluminum Foil. There is a common phenomenon of smoking cocaine off of foil to obtain a quick high. A roll of aluminum foil in an awkward place is often a tell-tale sign of cocaine use.
- Baking Soda. Baking soda is the key ingredient (along with cocaine) in producing smoke-able cocaine.
- Razor Blades. Razor blades are ubiquitous in the cocaine culture and are used to cut up cocaine into lines among other things.
5. Weight Loss
Cocaine subdues the appetite and increases resting heart rate substantially. Therefore among the most common signs of cocaine use is dramatic weight loss.
A cocaine user, when on a binge, can literally go days without eating anything. Coupled with the fact that cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant, it is quite easy for a user to lose a lot of weight quickly. So, if your loved one is dropping pounds, and I mean significant weight loss, without exercising it is quite likely that they are using cocaine.
Those are the top five signs of cocaine use. After a lengthy struggle with cocaine addiction myself, I feel quite confident in providing this list to you. Of course, there are other signs as well. However, I believe that this list represents the most observable signs of cocaine use that you are likely to find.
If you discover that one of your friends or family is using cocaine, it is recommended that you consult a professional addiction counselor in order to decide upon the best course of action. Addicts can and do recover but it is often a lengthy and difficult process.
Please feel free to browse this site for more information about addiction and recovery. As a recovering addict and alcoholic, you can find information here that is based on my personal experience. As such, you can count on the fact that I will always “shoot straight” with my readers.