The Signs of Cocaine Use

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.

3. Sniffling

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.

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8 Comments to this entry | Add Comment

I have been finding cut straws all over the house,my wife has the sniffles 24/7 she has lost a shitload of weight..she takes off and stays gone for hours at a time..has people showing up here all hours of the night..I dont know what to do..I have tried talking to her,she gets very angry and keeps denying it…what can I do?


My Mom, i found cut straws in her dresser, she claims it was a new years present. then i found some in her box on her dresser , she said it wasn’t hers. Finally spoke to my dad for thefirst time in 5 years, he said she used to do it while they were dating, now all she does it deny it and ignore me and say she doesnt want to talk about it .. i dont know what to do or say. I swear she thinks im stupid.


It’s not that she thinks you’re stupid but rather that the addict often operates under a false impression that no one can see what they are doing. They think that they are being smart and covering there tracks and that no one “knows.” In reality every one close to the addict usually knows what is actually happening. It’s too bad but it’s the way the addict mind works.


I have a girlfriend of about nine months who told
me she used to have a cocaine problem about ten years ago.
She made the claim she no longer has a problem. She
doesn’t appear to be showing signs or symptoms of
cocaine abuse. She also claims that her most recent
use, since she got over her problem w/ cocaine, has been
recreational for partying purposes (to stay awake to party longer).
I recently found some cocaine in her chest of drawers and she claims
once we had started dating she threw her stash out and just forgot to throw out what I recently found. Please respond, I need some insight on the matter. Thanks!


Well, cocaine is the type of drug that is best avoided by any person with a past history of abuse. If she used to be an addict, then she is still an addict — that is her brain chemistry hasn’t changed — and it is unwise for her to use cocaine at all.

The main indicator of addiction is that a person continues to use/drink in the face of consequences that they are know are being caused by the drug use. If she is not having any consequences, she either will develop some soon or she is not a true drug addict. Regardless, cocaine is a very nasty drug that causes extensive damage to the brain. It is best not to use it at all, whether you are a drug addict or not. Coke is a dead end street.


Thank you for your response! I would like to add, that after finding the cocaine in her drawer, I purchased a at home urine test for cocaine. When she arrived home, I approached her about finding it and had her take the urine test immediately. She tested negative. Through my own research, I found that cocaine stays in your urine for approximately 3-7 days for non-habitual users. What are the methods that you know of to beat the urine test? Any other suggestions to determine usage (besides what is listed here? We also spend a lot of time together (just like a married couple would, if not more) and besides work or going to the bathroom I don’t know when she would have time to do it. I’m sure since I recently found her stash that she’ll keep it very close by and under her constant control. Is there something I should be looking for that might clue me in as to where she might be hiding it or keeping it?
Thanks again for your comments!


Well, if you saw her use the test, that is she didn’t dilute her urine or use something else, then the test is fairly reliable. But cocaine often only remains detectable in the urine for a few days 2-4, for a non-habitual user.

If she was using a lot of cocaine you would almost surely know. It is hard to keep significant cocaine use a secret.

The bottom line: You simply need to decide if you feel like she is a person that is trustworthy and then base a decision on whether or not she is the right person for you on that.


Thanks for all your comments!
You are right, I guess I am just going to have to trust her
but keep a close eye out for the signs of use and be aware of her actions.
Thanks again!

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