Slang names include coke, Charlie, snow, blow .
Cocaine is a white powder made from the leaves of the coca plant, which grows mainly in South America. It is usually used by snorting the powder up the nose. 'Crack' cocaine is not a different drug, but a different, more addictive form of cocaine. 'Crack', which is also called 'rock', 'stone' or 'free-base', is usually smoked. Cocaine is sometimes injected.
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant, and users feel more alert and energetic, and also feel less hungry or thirsty. These effects can last for up to 20 minutes after each use. Smoking 'crack' cocaine gives a shorter but more intense high.
Because of its powerful effects, cocaine users are often left craving for more. Large doses can lead to exhaustion, anxiety and depression, and sometimes users may become aggressive.
Snorting cocaine can cause permanent damage to the inside of the nose. Cocaine use can damage the heart and lungs, and high doses can cause death from heart attacks or blood clots. The depression that follows the 'high' can be severe, and can lead to suicide attempts. With long-term or binge use, the excitement caused by cocaine can turn to restlessness, sleep loss and weight loss. Some people can develop a paranoid psychosis where they may be violent. The strong cravings for cocaine, especially 'crack', can lead to an urge to take the drug all the time, and the person can lose control of their drug use.