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(charlie, C, snow, coke, toot, rocks, stones)
Updated June 2009

Cocaine used to be the drug of choice for rock stars and the rich, but recent price cuts and increased imports have resulted in a massive rise in usage and availability. A gram will cost you around £30-£60 for a paper wrap, the contents of which are usually snorted.

Delivering a quick and euphoric high, a blast of top quality coke can make you feel like you've just scored the winning goal in a FA Cup Final.

Confidence soars through the roof, the heart thumps out a drum'n'bass crescendo, while you feel like you're on top of the world. Such is the strength of the drug, even the Grimthorpe Working Men's Club feels like a happening hotspot after a hefty noseful.

Unfortunately the hit doesn't last very long (around 20-30 minutes) and this encourages repeated - and wallet-crushing - doses. Smoking cocaine can give you a stronger hit, but effects can wear off in as little as 10 minutes.

Side effects: You may well feel like a million dollars on coke, but to those around you, you may well appear as an arrogant, loud arsehole with your incessant gibbering and insincere waffling.

And unless you've just won the lottery, you'll find your bank balance tilting perilously into the red because the stuff is so damn moreish.


Health risks: If you can, avoid taking with other stimulants or with alcohol. Expect to feel pretty shitty next day and plan on taking things easy.

Regular cocaine usage can screw up the nasal passages and smoking crack can cause chest pain, lung damage and bronchitis.

Because it's an appetite suppressant, coke can make users vulnerable to malnutrition, and like all stimulants, it can lead to heart problems. Injecting cocaine rapidly destroys the skin tissues and can cause ulcers.

Recent studies have found the strength of UK cocaine to be generally low, with all sorts of cack mixed in by unscrupulous dealers keen to get maximum bang for their buck.

A external linkUK customs study in June 2009 found all sorts of nasties lurking in coke wraps, including insecticides, pet tranquilisers and a chemical used to treat worms and parasitic infestations in animals.

Long term use of coke can result in a range of mental health conditions from mild depression to the extremes of cocaine psychosis with symptoms similar to schizophrenia.

Overdosing can lead to death. In 1994 Dept of Health recorded 14 deaths from cocaine abuse, 38 in 1998. In US, cocaine is implicated in 10 out of every 1000 deaths in hospital emergency units.

A growing danger is 'mixing the gravy' where cocaine and heroin are combined to make a 'speedball'. The combined strength of such a potent mixture cam lead to a very dangerous dual addiction.

Detection periods: Cocaine can be detected in the urine up to 12 hours to 3 days after use at common levels.

The Law: Cocaine is categorised as Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act.


Crack is made from cocaine, baking soda and water. Usually smoked through a water pipe, it produces a rapid, ultra-intense high which lasts for about 2 minutes, followed by a pleasurable buzz which usually lasts around 20 minutes before a long low or crash.

Because the hit is so strong, some people get hooked on the sensation and end up blowing all their cash trying to repeat the high, or overdosing.

Crack has increased in popularity hugely in recent years, with both clubbers and professionals regularly taking the drug (Figures from the Home Office's British Crime Survey reveal that one in 30 British men aged between 19 and 24 has used crack - twice as many as in 1996 and four times as many as in 1993).

Prolonged crack consumption can lead to a need for larger doses resulting in an enormous compulsive craving and complete psychological dependence on the drug.

Despite media claims to the contrary, addiction is very rarely instant. Street prices vary wildly, but a rock of smokable cocaine can cost £12 - £20,

  • Queen Victoria and Freud both favoured the odd toot of cocaine.
  • A recent survey in London found traces of cocaine on 99% of bank notes in circulation.
(See also Crystal Meth)

More info:
Snorting/tooting drugs FAQ
external link Full list of impurities found in cocaine [BBC]

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Special note:
This site is all about harm reduction. We realise that some people will take drugs no matter what advice they are given, so we have reproduced this guide for information purposes only. It is not medical advice. If you are being coerced into taking drugs, or are in any doubt about taking a substance, our advice is to always refuse.

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