Drugs and Alcohol (young people)
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that comes in the form of powder or crystals (crack). Cocaine in powder form is snorted (inhaled through the nose) so is absorbed slowly into the body. If watered down and injected, cocaine takes effect more quickly. ‘Freebase’ cocaine (also a powder) and ‘crack’ cocaine can be smoked, and so can reach the brain very quickly in high dosage.
Young people we talked to said that cocaine is widely available and more affordable than it has been in the past. Mary Ann commented that cocaine ‘used to be a rich man’s drug because it used to be so expensive’ but that ‘it’s a common drug now’. Some of the young people we talked to said that they suspect cocaine that’s available in the UK isn’t pure. They wondered whether their supplies had been cut with another drug.
Mary Ann started using cocaine at aged 15. It became a thing she did every weekend; drinking...
As a stimulant, cocaine temporarily speeds up the processes of your mind and body. The ‘highs’ associated with cocaine include feeling wide awake and confident but the people we spoke to shared a number of negative experiences. As with all drugs, its effect in each individual person can be hard to predict. The amount and the purity of the substance you are taking and your own emotions at the time you take cocaine, will have an effect on the experience.
What are the negative effects of cocaine?
Those who had used cocaine were amazed at how much their behaviour and temperament changed, even after using it for a short period of time. Peter only snorted a line of cocaine once, but said that it wasn’t for him because he didn’t want to snort drugs and become aggressive.
At first cocaine made her feel energetic but, after a few days of using it, Leah felt she was turning into a ‘horrible’ person and decided to quit.
Taking cocaine and alcohol to escape her problems just made Mary Ann feel worse. (Played by an actress)
But when I was seventeen, I’ve been in a violent relationship since I was fifteen as well, so kind of I think all that adds to it as well, but then obviously not living at home and having that stability, no obviously I know it’s my own fault but, and then as I was seventeen really bad experience happened in my life and I turned to Cocaine because I was working as a well so I had money, I had no child then, and every single weekend, even during the week I was just going out and, that was my escape route, but then every morning I would just feel so down and depressed and everything would just seem a thousand times worse, but then I’d go out and do it again and that’s all I wanted to do, I didn’t want to deal with anything head on I just wanted to go and just get obliviated that’s what I wanted to do, that was my aim.
After trying cocaine twice and not experiencing any of the effects associated with it, Joe lost...
Chloe experienced chest pains after nights out where she mixed cannabis, cocaine and alcohol.
Sam describes how bad he felt after mixing base (crack cocaine) with ecstasy tablets that he suspected had been cut with ketamine. (Played by an actor)
Last reviewed July 2018.
Last updated: January 2015.