The Risk Of Cocaine-Related Death

Cocaine is a stimulant drug created from the leaves of the coca plant. Also called snow, coke, or blow, cocaine is a Schedule II drug with a high potential for addiction. Cocaine severely disrupts the central nervous system and can permanently affect the body and mind. But can cocaine kill you? The answer is a clear and resounding yes.

Despite this, it is often seen as a party drug, and in 2020 alone, 1.9% of people aged 12 or older in the United States had used cocaine in the past year. How is it possible for cocaine to kill you? If so, how much does it take? Perhaps most importantly, what should you do if you or someone you know uses cocaine reguarly and needs help?

Keep reading to get the details on all of these important cocaine questions, and how to get effective treatment with Pathfinders Recovery!

Can Cocaine Kill You?

Let’s answer the most pressing question first: Can cocaine kill you? Unfortunately, the answer is still an emphatic yes. Cocaine can kill you, and deaths related to the use of cocaine are not uncommon in the slightest.

In fact, cocaine was responsible for around 19,447 deaths in the United States in 2020 – a number that has continued to increase throughout the years despite heightened literacy and awareness surrounding drug use. Cocaine increases dopamine production and leads to a sense of euphoria, which is often the appeal of those who use the drug. Note that not every cocaine-related death is accurately reported, nor are all cocaine overdoses, so the total number of deaths might be even higher than statistics suggest.

As for how much cocaine it takes to kill you, the answer varies, but the most important thing to remember is that cocaine use is never without risk. Whether it’s your first time using cocaine or you are someone who has engaged in cocaine use continuously, overdose and death are always possible. Furthermore, cocaine-related deaths can occur at any time and may be sudden.

What Increases the Risk of Death from Cocaine?

What Increases the Risk of Death from Cocaine

When you use cocaine, it speeds up the heart and constricts blood vessels. This affects the cardiovascular system in any case and is why cocaine abuse is so strongly associated with heart attacks. Several factors raise the chance of cocaine-related deaths. You may be at an inflated risk of dying from cocaine use if you:

  • Combine cocaine with other drugs
  • Consume high amounts of cocaine
  • Use cocaine continuously

Older adults may also be at a heightened risk of cocaine overdose and death from cocaine use. However, cocaine overdose, sudden death, and heart attacks can and do occur in anyone who uses cocaine. Even if someone does not intentionally combine cocaine with other substances, it is not uncommon for cocaine to be laced with another substance, such as fentanyl.

When two drugs are taken at once (e.g., alcohol and cocaine, fentanyl and cocaine, or cocaine and methamphetamine), it heightens the risk of death, overdose, heart attacks, and other effects substantially.

What are the Side Effects Of Cocaine Use?

Side Effects Of Cocaine Use

Cocaine is life-threatening, but sudden death and overdose aren’t the only risks associated with the drug. Some effects of cocaine use range depending on how you use it, though some are consistent across the board.

There are both short and long-term effects of cocaine use that you should know about if you or someone you know uses cocaine.

Possible risks of using cocaine include:

  • Movement disorders (like Parkinson’s disease)
  • An increased risk of heart disease
  • Disturbances in heart rhythm
  • Impaired psychomotor activity
  • Hallucinations and paranoia
  • Agitation or anxiety
  • Memory problems
  • Perforation of the septum
  • Nose bleeds
  • Infections
  • Headaches
  • Liver damage
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Headaches
  • GI pain
  • Nausea

Cocaine abuse can affect a person and their life in many different ways. Strained interpersonal relationships, job loss or problems at work, risky or impulsive behavior, criminal activity, the use of other drugs, and financial problems are other possible concerns associated with cocaine abuse, use, or addiction. If you live with cocaine addiction or might be, know that it is possible to recover.

Can You Overdose from Cocaine?

Signs of cocaine overdose

As mentioned previously, cocaine overdose is a sad reality for too many people. Knowing the signs of a cocaine overdose can help you spot it so that you can seek medical attention for yourself or someone else before it’s too late.

Here are some of the possible signs of cocaine overdose:

  • Stroke
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Heart attack or cardiac arrest
  • High blood pressure
  • High body temperature
  • Trouble breathing
  • Cardiac arrhythmias or rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme or intense sweating
  • Blue-toned skin
  • Chest pain
  • Tremors


If you believe that you or someone else is experiencing a cocaine overdose, seek attention from a medical professional immediately or call 911.

Stopping the use of cocaine is the only way to fully avoid cocaine-related deaths and cocaine overdoses. It can be tough to reach out for help for substance abuse, but it’s something to take pride in, and the decision to do so saves lives.

Treatment Options For Cocaine Abuse

Intensive outpatient program

There are a number of different treatment options for cocaine abuse and other forms of drug abuse. We offer various levels of care for cocaine addiction, including:

Many people use other forms of support, such as support groups and therapy, after treatment to help themselves maintain sobriety. Treatment often involves a range of therapeutic activities and helps you create a relapse prevention plan to set yourself up for long-term success.

Cocaine and Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis care is often ideal for those who experience another mental illness alongside a substance use disorder, as it helps individuals address co-occurring concerns that commonly pair with substance abuse, like depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Everyone’s path to recovery is different, and overcoming cocaine addiction is more than possible.

Find Help For Cocaine with Pathfinders Now

Pathfinders Recovery Center offers addiction treatment and dual diagnosis care for those experiencing Cocaine Use Disorder, as well as other substance use disorders. We have treatment facilities located in both Arizona and Colorado.

Our hotline is available 24/7, and we are here to check on insurance coverage for you or your loved one, quickly and completely confidentially.

Contact Pathfinders Recovery Center today for a call that can change your life and put cocaine in the past!


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  • (877) 224-0761
  • Mon-Sun: 24x7
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