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What Does Cocaine Smell Like?

    what does cocaine smell like

    What Does Cocaine Smell Like?

    What is Cocaine Made From? How is Cocaine Made? Cocaine Smells Like Gasoline. How Does Cocaine Taste Like? Cocaine Addiction Treatment Near Me

    What is Cocaine Made From?

    Cocaine is a severely addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant. It increases the natural chemical messenger (dopamine) levels in brain circuits related to the control of movement and reward. Cocaine comes in a few different forms [1]. The most common is a fine, white powder. It can also be made into a solid rock crystal. What is the difference between crack cocaine and cocaine?

    Today, cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance [2], which means that it has a high potential for abuse but can be administered by a doctor for legitimate medical uses, such as local anesthesia for some ear, eye, and throat surgeries. For people who use cocaine, depression after use is common, even when they do not use it regularly. The reason cocaine and depression have this relationship has to do with how the brain works. As a stimulant, cocaine activates the sympathetic nervous system, which governs the fight-or-flight response.

    No matter how much cocaine is taken, it is dangerous. Some of the most common serious effects of cocaine use include heart attack and stroke. Addiction recovery professionals recommend facing cocaine addiction with a long-term treatment plan that promotes positive decision-making and overall health improvements that include learning coping skills.

    What Does Cocaine Smell Like?
    What does cocaine smell like? Some chemicals that are often used to manufacture cocaine, we never recommend that you taste cocaine in an effort to identify the drug.

    Cocaine is a highly addictive illegal drug used by 14-21 million people worldwide [3]. In 2018 there are 874,000 new cocaine users [4]. Since cocaine is combined or ‘cut’ with other chemicals, people have no idea if the dose will be weak or strong. These other chemicals may include fillers, such as paint chemicals, cornstarch, fentanyl, and its analogs, which are added purely to boost profits and often lead to the risk of cocaine perforated septum and cocaine and erectile dysfunction.

    How is Cocaine Made?

    Different methods are used to make cocaine. In one method, dried coca leaves (the main ingredient in cocaine) are soaked with lime water or other alkaline liquids and then extracted with gasoline in metal drums. Workers use sulfuric acid to extract the dissolved cocaine and form a liquid solution to which lime or other alkaline liquids is added, leading to the precipitation of coca paste. Workers then add acid and potassium to remove impurities, followed by bicarbonate to cause the base to separate. The base is further dissolved in a solvent like acetone and then soaked again in acid. Finally, the cocaine paste is filtered through a cloth to separate, then dried.

    Alternately, the base can be dissolved in a solvent, such as acetone, ether, or ethyl acetate, and heated in a bath of hot water. Methyl ethyl ketone is another solvent that workers add to the hot liquid mixture, along with hydrochloric acid, leading to cocaine hydrochloride crystallizing in the solution. Solvents are pressed out by hand, followed by a hydraulic press, then the mixture is heated in a microwave to create cocaine powder.

    Powdered cocaine can be further processed into crack by first mixing it into a solution of either ammonia or a combination of baking soda and water, then heating that mixture to create a substance that forms rocks for smoking. Alternately, an alkali substance can be mixed into a heated liquid cocaine solution that then settles to the bottom as a solid. Some adulterants, or cutting agents, can be filtered out through the creation of crack cocaine.

    What Does Cocaine Smell Like?

    Pure cocaine has a sweet and flowery scent, but the likelihood that someone with a history of cocaine use is buying a pure derivative is little to none. Because of the process of extracting cocaine from coca leaves — and the prominence of cheap cutting agents and additives in street-cut cocaine — the result is a more metallic smell. Some chemicals and additives that are combined with pure cocaine have distinctive smells, allowing the user to identify what ingredients are in their batch of cocaine.

    Cocaine that has either gasoline or kerosene added to it will give off a petroleum scent, such as the one you might smell after a diesel pickup truck passes you by. What any particular batch of cocaine smells like is also affected by the method in which it is to be used, such as intravenous injection, smoking, or snorting freebase cocaine. Some chemicals that are often used to manufacture cocaine have distinct smells that can help people identify the substance. These chemicals include:

    • Gasoline
    • Kerosene
    • Diesel
    • Carbonate salt
    • Sulfuric acid
    • Ammonia
    • Potassium permanganate
    • Caustic soda

    What cocaine smells like may also vary depending on the method of administration a person uses. Someone who snorts cocaine will probably notice a chemical or metallic smell, but someone who smokes the drug may smell burnt plastic or rubber.

    Cocaine Smells Like Gasoline

    Manufacturers soak coca leaves in gasoline and various chemicals to extract the base from the leaves. The smell of cocaine varies. Sometimes it smells sweet and flowery. Other times, it smells like gasoline, burnt rubber, or melting plastic. Most people can’t detect the odor unless they’re holding cocaine close to them.

    The Smell Of Other Forms Of Cocaine 

    There are several factors that go into identifying cocaine. 

    What Powder Cocaine Smells Like

    Powdered cocaine generally has a mixture of chemical and sweet and light floral-smelling compounds.

    What Crack Cocaine Smells Like

    To the naked eye, cocaine looks different from crack cocaine, but each drug holds very different pharmacological differences—the key difference is how they are ingested.

    Cocaine has many ingestible options, including snorting, injection, and swallowing, whereas crack cocaine can only be smoked in freebase format.

    Crack cocaine usually gives off an odor of burnt plastic and can also smell like many commonplace cleaning solvents, such as bleach, of which ammonia is a primary ingredient.

    The Smell Of Other Forms Of Cocaine

    It can be quite difficult to smell other forms of cocaine that are not in powdered or rock form, as the only other type of cocaine is that which is used intravenously.

    Liquid cocaine is not in its own right a manufactured or synthesized drug but is the result of dissolving the powdered substance in water, weakening the smell drastically.

    You may still be able to smell liquid cocaine faintly and in particular, pick up on the kerosene or ammonia-like ‘notes’ of the substance.

    Factors That Influence The Smell Of Cocaine 

    The purity of the cocaine, as well as the chemicals, solvents, and additives combined into it, have a profound effect on the smell of the drug. Cocaine hydrochloride, for example, is sometimes used during certain types of nasal or throat-passage surgeries as an anesthetic.

    This means that taking a puff of cocaine may reduce your ability to ‘smell’ cocaine, as redundant as it sounds.

    Cocaine Cutting Agents

    Several cutting agents are used in the production of street-quality cocaine to reduce cost and alter the effects of cocaine on the brain and body.

    Some commonly used cocaine cutting agents include:

    • Laundry detergent
    • Creatine
    • Caffeine
    • Powdered local anesthetic such as procaine
    • Boric acid
    • Fentanyl
    • Laxatives

    How Does Cocaine Taste Like?

    Regardless of which additives, chemicals, and cutting agents are used in its production, cocaine always has a bitter and numbing taste, similar to that of peppercorns. The taste of cocaine is often described as bitter. The more bitter tasting the cocaine, the more potent the drug. While cocaine powder is not typically consumed in this manner, people will put cocaine in their mouths to check its purity. Specifically, a person will rub cocaine on their gums when checking purity.

    Cocaine that has not been cut will typically numb the gum line when a small amount is rubbed across it. However, sometimes the cocaine will be cut with a numbing agent so that the result will be the same, and the person may have less pure cocaine without knowing it.

    What Does Pure Cocaine Look Like?

    Regardless of if it comes in a powder or rock form, cocaine tends to be an off-white to pinkish or beige color. Cocaine is derived from the coca plant, native to South America. The coca plant has to be processed to extract the cocaine from the plant. Usually, solvents or acids are used to remove the cocaine hydrochloride from the leaves.

    Cocaine hydrochloride tends to be varying shades of white, but this color can still be different than the cocaine that is sold on the streets. Many drug dealers add cutting agents to cocaine in order to increase profit or make cocaine seem more potent than other types of cocaine. This added substance can change the color of cocaine. Talcum powder or baby laxatives will make cocaine look more white. Other substances, such as powdered caffeine or procaine, can change the hue of the drug significantly and make cocaine look less white.

    Cocaine Abuse 

    Cocaine is a stimulant that is also overly abused. Cocaine can be used as crack cocaine or in a powdered form. To increase profits, many cocaine dealers mix the substance with things like “cornstarch, talcum powder, or flour” and may “also mix it with other drugs such as the stimulant amphetamine, or synthetic opioids including fentanyl.

    These extra substances make a dangerous compound, as “adding synthetic opioids to cocaine is especially risky when people using cocaine don’t realize it contains this dangerous additive. Increasing numbers of overdose deaths among cocaine users might be related to this tampered cocaine.”

    Whether the user knows if the cocaine has an additive or not, they most likely will proceed with its use. In most cases, people snort the powdered form through their noses or rub it into their gums. The powder can also be dissolved and injected into the bloodstream. Once cocaine is processed, it is called “freebase cocaine”.

    In the heating process, the crystal rock makes a crackling sound. The crystal is heated to create vapors that can be inhaled into the lungs. Cocaine can also be used with other substances. A stronger combination than cocaine and alcohol is cocaine and heroin, known as a speedball.

    Cocaine use disorder happens when a person experiences clinically significant impairment, including cocaine side effects caused by the chronic use of cocaine, including health problems, persistent or increasing use, physical withdrawal, and failure to meet major responsibilities at school, work, or home.

    What does cocaine smell like? Cocaine is sometimes cut with fentanyl, so it is not advised to smell it to test it.

    According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drug overdose deaths involving cocaine rose from 3,822 in 1999 to 15,883 in 2019. Even though males are more likely to die from taking too much of the substance, it can happen to someone of any gender.

    Overdose from cocaine can result in:

    • Stroke
    • Cardiac arrest
    • Respiratory arrest
    • Sudden death

    The risk of overdose is increased when it is used with other dangerous substances like other drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and alcohol. The combination of heroin and cocaine called speedball is particularly deadly. This combination creates a serious risk of overdose.

    Cocaine and Alcohol Abuse

    Cocaine and alcohol don’t negate the effects of one another. Instead, they mask the effects, making people unaware of how intoxicated they are. As cocaine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, the collective pressure they put on your body and mind can be dangerous. Some people use cocaine and alcohol simultaneously to increase the effects of both substances. However, this combination can easily lead to life-threatening consequences such as overdose or alcohol poisoning.

    People who struggle with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are especially at risk of substance abuse and polysubstance patterns. Research has shown that a particular demographic is more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder; people with bipolar disorder. This is because of the attempt to modulate mania linked with the condition.

    Polysubstance use is, unfortunately, more common than we like to think, and one drug does enough harm to the body alone when abused. Both drugs can cause damage to the user’s body and social and emotional well-being, while also increasing their risk of long-term, chronic health issues or overdose. The health dangers of one drug are enhanced by polysubstance use and co-occurring disorder.

    Cocaine Addiction Treatment Near Me

    First and foremost, if you think that a loved one is abusing cocaine, you should first research the drug and addiction associated with it so that you can better understand what your loved one needs. Next, you must plan an intervention to provide your loved ones with options to battle their addiction in a safe and supportive environment. During this intervention, make sure that you offer compassion and support instead of judgment. Lastly, offer your support throughout the entire treatment process.

    In addition, prolonged Cocaine use can have severe physical and psychological effects, so it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible. Inpatient drug rehab offers intensive care that can help you get through the early stages of withdrawal promptly. Now that answered the question “what does cocaine smell like? we’ve learned how it can be cut with fentanyl and rat poison which can lead to overdose and death, so it is important not to smell or taste it just to test its purity.

    Medically-Assisted Detox

    Detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

    Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.


    Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
    • Dialectical Behavior Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
    • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
    • Solution Focused Therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

    Dual Diagnosis Treatment

    Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

    Medication-Assisted Treatments

    Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

    Please, do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to medically assist your recovery. So, reclaim your life, and call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.


    [1] NIDA –
    [2] SAMHSA –
    [3] NIDA –
    [4] NCBI –
    [5] Cocaine Overdose – We Level Up NJ