Question of the Week: How Much Cocaine Is Too Much?

“If u weigh 220 and r 5 ft 10…How much cocaine will make u over dose and what are signs of an over dose?”

A.G.

Excellent question!  Unfortunately, it’s not that simple to answer.  Overdose depends on a number of factors other than weight and height, including:

*Personal health history
*Method of administration (snorting, injecting, etc.)
*Individual tolerance level
*Other drugs taken
*Environmental factors (temperature, external stressors, etc.)

A person’s tolerance to cocaine increases with each use.  According to Medscape.com, long-term cocaine users may dose as often as every 10 minutes for 7 days at a time and use up to 10 or more grams per day.  In an inexperienced user, this would most certainly lead to overdose.

Because injection puts the drug directly into the bloodstream, it is most likely to result in overdose in smaller amounts.  Taking other drugs at the same time greatly increases overdose risks as well.  Medscape states that 74% of cocaine-induced deaths in the U.S. involve another drug like alcohol or heroin.

Even seemingly trivial factors like climate and temperature can play a role.  According to Reuter’s Health, fatal cocaine overdoses are more common on hot days.  Other variables like lack of sleep, high stress levels and underlying health conditions can further increase overdose risks.

SYMPTOMS OF OVERDOSE

Cocaine overdose can be fatal if not promptly treated.  Symptoms include psychosis, rapid or irregular heartbeat, profuse sweating, confusion and vomiting.  Cardiovascular crises can result from cocaine toxicity and are a common cause of death in abusers of the drug.  Severe headache, chest pain, visual impairment and slurred speech are possible signs of heart attack or stroke.

If overdose is suspected, seek immediate medical attention.  Too many drug users avoid calling an ambulance for fear of getting into legal trouble, and these people are what I like to call dead wrong…or just plain dead.

Your Nose Candy Know-It-All,

Mary M.

References

Medscape:

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/813959-overview

Reuters Health:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6293H120100310

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