Cocaine & Amphetamines

What they are:

Cocaine, commonly called coke, is an illegal drug made from the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine is often a powder that is snorted up the nose, or rubbed onto the gums. This type of cocaine is often referred to as blow or snow. Cocaine can also be processed into a rock crystal, called freebase cocaine, rock or crack.1

Some amphetamines, like Adderall, are legally prescribed by doctors to treat conditions like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Other formulations of amphetamines, like methamphetamine (meth or crystal meth), are illegal and don't have a medical use.2

How they're taken:

Prescription amphetamines are taken in pill form. They can be used appropriately, as prescribed by a doctor. They can also be misused, when taken without a prescription or at a higher dosage.

Cocaine and other amphetamines of misuse can be snorted or smoked.

What they do:

For someone with a medical need for Adderall, the medication has a calming, focusing effect when taken as prescribed.

Stimulants that are used recreationally make users feel more alert and attentive, with an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Users will often experience increased energy, attentiveness, and sexual arousal at first. When the drugs wear off, the come down can be harsh. Users experience anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.3

Long term, cocaine and amphetamines can cause heart and respiratory problems.

Signs someone is misusing:

Someone misusing cocaine or other amphetamines can seem extremely alert and talkative. The user might eat less and sleep less. Drug paraphernalia like aluminum foil, vials, baggies, rolled-up dollar bills, and pipes may be found in the user's bedroom or living space.

find treatment for substance use disorder

Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to speak with an addiction specialist or visit the treatment locator.

SAMHSA Facility Locator
1. NIDA. Cocaine. June 2016.
2. NIDA. Methamphetamine. December 2012.
3. SAMSHA. Stimulants. 2 March 2016.