15 things to know before you take cocaine
Our cocaine use checklist will help to keep you safer.
Cocaine (also known as coke, blow, charlie, and flake, among other street names) is a white powder stimulant that is regularly snorted.
In collaboration with Global Drugs Survey, we have produced a checklist of things you should do, or consider, before you take cocaine.
Emergency situations can still occur even when following all of this advice, but this checklist will ensure you are as prepared as possible to reduce the risk of harm to your health caused by taking cocaine.
If an accident or emergency situation occurs, always call the emergency services and be honest about what you or the person at risk has taken. You will not get into trouble for attempting to save someone’s life.
Cocaine use checklist
1. You’ve done your homework and know lots about cocaine. For a full list of facts about cocaine, its duration, risks and side effects, visit the Talk To Frank website.
2. You’ve identified a trusted person who will keep an eye on you and look out for you during this experience.
3. You’ve planned ahead and know where you will be, what you will be doing and who you will be with. Ideally this should be a familiar location.
4. Be aware you will be breaking the law: know your rights and the potential consequence if you get caught by the police.
5. Drinking alcohol when using cocaine tends to increase your consumption of both substances, so your experience is more expensive. This combination can also make accidents more likely and cause more health problems: it produces a toxic chemical called cocaethylene in your body that can damage the heart, liver and brain.
6. Cocaine purity has increased a lot in the UK in recent years. If someone else is preparing your first line, let them know if it is your first time. Start with a smaller ‘test’ line and wait at least a few hours before re-dosing. Also consider doing this if it’s the first time using from a new supply.
7. If you are planning to snort cocaine, use your own straw to avoid cross-contamination.
8. Have some gum at hand as this can help to reduce grinding of your teeth.
9. Stay well hydrated: have access to water and other non-alcoholic drinks.
10. Avoid having any commitments, important appointments or responsibilities coming up in the days following your cocaine use. During the days after using cocaine, you may feel lower in mood and more anxious.
11. Cocaine can make it difficult to sleep and several days of not sleeping can worsen your comedown.
12. Make sure you’re in a good headspace and feel physically well before you use cocaine. Cocaine can cause people to feel anxious and panicky and can worsen whatever state you are in when you take it. If this does happen, remember the effects are usually short lived and anxious or panicky feelings will often reduce after about 30 minutes.
13. If you are taking any medicines (e.g. some antidepressants) they may interact and make unwanted effects more likely. Cocaine can potentially make mental health symptoms worse.
14. Know that it’s OK to tell someone if you’re not feeling right or are worried about anything during or after your cocaine experience.
15. Know that you don’t have to take any drug ever, and if it doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it. There’s always another day.
Global Drugs Survey and Humankind agree that the only way to avoid drug related risk is to not use drugs.
Further harm reduction advice can be found on the Global Drugs Survey website.