Cocaine is unique from other drugs in its pattern of use. While most other drugs are abused on a daily basis, cocaine users typically binge, or re-administer the drug within a short period of time until the supply is diminished. During a binge, an individual is focused on the euphoria experienced and the amount of cocaine that is left. Thoughts of responsibilities, family or loved ones, safety, money, or morality typically do not enter consciousness during a binge. The chronic toxicity created from frequent and large doses of the drug can lead to negative side effects, such as irritability and paranoia. In severe cases, a cocaine binge can lead to psychosis, in which the individual experiences hallucinations and loses their sense of reality. This can increase the potential for violent behaviors.

    The high created by cocaine varies depending on the method of administration. The faster the cocaine enters the bloodstream and brain, the more intense and short-lived the high is. There is also a correlation between the level of euphoria and the severity of the unpleasant side effects, or “crash”. The more intense the high is, the worse the “crash” becomes. In low to moderate doses, cocaine causes the user to feel euphoric, self-confident, and more social. However, high doses can cause extreme paranoia or psychosis.

    The charts below show the typical pattern of a cocaine binge for each form of the drug. The lowest points represent the re-administration of the drug, and the highest points signify the peak of the high associated with each additional administration. The initial high is the most intense; the re-administrations after the initial use result in a less extreme high.

    Though this graph depicts several administrations of the drug; not all users will experience this number of doses in the time period illustrated. Length of time of each binge and number of drug re-administrations will vary.  Dose, “quality” of substance and tolerance can influence each individual’s perception of the high as well. This graphical illustration depicts the biological “high” as opposed to the perceived high. Users “high” will also vary based on poly-substance use.