Cocaine Overdose

How Much Cocaine Does it Take?

Table of Contents


Cocaine has been used by people as an energy booster for thousands of years. Cocaine is a potent drug that carries the risk of overdose. Let’s discuss some of the factors involved, as well as signs, symptoms, and treatment for a cocaine overdose.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a natural substance that comes from the leaves of the Erythroxylon coca bush. It is extracted and processed into a white powder. Abusing this stimulant drug results in feelings of higher levels of alertness and energy. This is done by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain.

Cocaine is abused by being snorted up the nose or rubbed on the gums. Crack cocaine is a potent form of cocaine that is typically smoked.

How Much Cocaine Does It Take to Overdose?

The amount of cocaine required to cause an overdose varies from person to person. A large factor is not how much cocaine was taken, but if other drugs are mixed with the cocaine. In recent years, the drug most often mixed with cocaine is fentanyl. This synthetic opioid primarily used for pain control in cancer patients is 50 times more potent than heroin and cheaper to produce.

Many people who have combined cocaine and heroin are not aware of the differences between heroin and fentanyl, so they end up combining too much of the latter with cocaine, leading to overdose.1

Deaths from Cocaine Overdose

Deaths from cocaine overdose have risen sharply in recent years. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), overdoses involving cocaine increased 34% in the United States between 2016 and 2017, due to a resurgence in the popularity of the drug.

Overdoses Involving Cocaine Increased 34% Between 2016 and 2017

The country of Columbia, the number one source for cocaine in the U.S., has expanded the cocaine market, resulting in lower prices. The lower cost has caused cocaine abuse to rise once again.

In fact, the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that 2 million people in the U.S. abused cocaine regularly, an increase from 1.4 million in 2011.1, 2

Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine overdose, also called cocaine intoxication or cocaine “overamping”, may have the following symptoms:4, 5

  • Feelings of excitedness, excess talking
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Excess sweating
  • Enlarged, unreactive pupils
  • Muscle tremors
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure

More severe symptoms include:

  • Disorientation
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A bluish tint to the skin

Because of its effects on the heart, cocaine overdoses increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and seizures in people who abuse the drug regularly.6

Treatment for Cocaine Overdose

A cocaine overdose is a medical emergency. Anyone showing the above signs of cocaine overdose should receive immediate treatment in a medical facility. Do not attempt to “ride out” a cocaine overdose at home. If symptoms are severe, treatment may include:

  • IV fluids
  • Medications to treat symptoms, such as anxiety, nausea, high blood pressure, or seizures
  • Breathing support, including oxygen and intubation if breathing has stopped
  • Treatment for complications involving the heart, muscles, brain, or kidneys

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

If you’ve been using cocaine for a while, a comprehensive treatment program may be required to stop using the drug. There are currently no medications approved for use to treat cocaine addiction, but a treatment program may include other forms of treatment, such as:

  • Medically managed detoxification
  • Behavioral treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Marriage and family counseling
  • Community-based support groups

Cocaine addiction significantly increases the chances of experiencing a dangerous and possibly deadly cocaine overdose. If you or someone you love is addicted to cocaine, seek help today.


  2. Ibid.

If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
623-523-4748 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

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