Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How dangerous is cocaine?"
I have a friend who has used it several times over the last month. How bad is this for her brain? Should she see a doctor?
Cocaine is an exceedingly dangerous drug. I would strongly recommend that you discuss this frankly with your friend. I would also strongly encourage that she see a medical professional. Start with her primary care doctor. Often people use illegal drugs because of psychological problems -- and if this applies to her, the primary doctor can refer her to either a psychologist or psychiatrist (mental health specialists). Also common, people use illegal drugs to "self medicate" pain or other problems -- her primary doctor might be able to better address these issues. Firstly, cocaine is a very dangerous drug and can result in death. It directly acts on the heart and blood vessels to "rev them up." Similar to adrenaline, it causes significant strain on the heart. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes and other kidney injury. The strokes that occur from cocaine can be very harmful to the brain. The way one takes cocaine can also cause problems. Smoking or snorting cocaine can cause serious lung damage or damage to the nose. Injection of cocaine is possibly the most dangerous. Injection use also can result in transmission of HIV or Hepatitis. Finally, cocaine can be addictive and the dependence on the drug can very severely hurt someone's life. She should immediately see a doctor.