Effects of Injecting Cocaine

When a person takes cocaine by injecting it, he or she can get high very quickly. Injecting cocaine also is associated with many risks, such as addiction and infections, some of which are deadly. Keep reading for more effects of injecting cocaine.


Cocaine is injected by being dissolved in water and inserted directly into the bloodstream with a needle. This method of using cocaine causes a high that begins very quickly and feels very intense, but also wears off quickly leaving the person craving more cocaine.

When it is injected into the bloodstream, cocaine quickly travels through the bloodstream and reaches the brain, where it blocks certain chemicals, which control emotions, from being reabsorbed. The buildup of these chemicals is what causes the high feeling.

The short term effects of injecting cocaine can be very powerful and include:

  • Being very happy
  • Feeling energetic
  • Having a lack of fatigue or not feeling the need to sleep
  • A sense of increased alertness
  • Believing oneself to be powerful or supreme
  • Paranoia and fear
  • Irritability
  • Feeling restless
  • Anxiety

When a person has injected cocaine, he or she may move and talk very quickly, and may have dilated pupils. The effects of the high users get from injecting cocaine usually wear off fairly quickly. This leaves the person craving more cocaine. This cycle can lead to cocaine addiction, where the person will keep injecting the drug despite its dangers and the negative effects it has on his or her life. Cocaine can cause addiction and death even the first time it is used.

Some dangerous effects on the body from injecting cocaine:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure, which can cause heart attack
  • Stroke due to constricted blood vessels
  • Seizures
  • Unusual or violent behavior
  • Ulcers and stomach damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Reduced sexual function
  • Increased temperature
  • Inability of the brain to feel pleasure without the help of cocaine, when cocaine has interfered with the brain's chemical communication systems
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Hallucinations
  • Drug seeking behavior, such as stealing to get money for drugs or trading sex for drugs
  • Tolerance, where the person needs more of the drug to get high, and
  • Addiction and withdrawal, such as depression and anxiety
  • Suicide

Mixing cocaine with other drugs increases the risk of death.

Injecting cocaine also increases the risks for infections at the injection site, and certain deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. These diseases often occur in people who share needles. Because cocaine use and addiction reduces a person’s ability to make healthy choices, a person injecting cocaine may share needles to if they are craving the drug. HIV/AIDS causes a person's immune system to stop working properly, which is fatal. Hepatitis affects a person's liver, which can cause cancer and death, as well as long term health problems.

A person who is injecting cocaine and can’t stop will need medical help and support to overcome their addiction to cocaine and treat any harmful side effects of injecting cocaine.


WebMD, "Cocaine Use and Its Effects" [online]

National Institute on Drug Abuse, "NIDA InfoFacts: Crack and Cocaine" [online]

Nemours, TeensHealth, "Drugs: What You Should Know" [online]

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