How to Tell if Someone is Sniffing Coke

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Maybe a friend or colleague has suddenly become a ball of blazing energy.  She may seem to be accelerating through the days, moving at the speed of light with bursts of euphoria and excitement punctuating her movements.  Wow, either she has been drinking too much coffee, you think, or maybe she has employed a little “help,” a stimulant, to supercharge her mind and body.

It is only a matter of time before the truth becomes clear.  Maybe the hyperactive movements displayed earlier have given way to intense irritability, angry outbursts, or extreme exhaustion.  This person most likely has a problem with cocaine, but how did you miss the signs? Knowing how to tell if someone is sniffing coke can take a bit of sleuthing.

Woman tempted by cocaine


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Signs of Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine, also known as coke, is a stimulant and a Schedule II controlled substance. Cocaine use has, thankfully, been in a continual decline for the last ten years.  This can be explained by trends in recreational drug use, the high cost of cocaine, and replacing one stimulant with another, such as Adderall. According to data published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as of 2014 there were 1.5 million past-month cocaine users over the age of 12, with the highest rates among young adults.  In addition, the DAWN report stated that cocaine was associated with 505,224 emergency room visits in 2011.

Learning how to tell if someone is sniffing coke involves first knowing the signs and symptoms of cocaine abuse and addiction.  These might include:

  • Traces of white powder around the nose
  • Constant sniffing, runny noses, sneezing, nasal congestion
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dilated pupils
  • Extreme excitability
  • Euphoria
  • Boundless energy
  • Mood swings
  • High confidence level
  • Lack of appetite, weight loss
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Agitation
  • Needle marks on arms, legs, hands, feet, or neck
  • Paraphernalia, such as razor blades, tubes, small mirrors, syringes
  • Financial difficulties

If you want to know how to tell if someone is sniffing coke, it will probably be evident by the number of the above signs and symptoms that are present.

Long-term Effects of Cocaine Abuse and Addiction

Cocaine can have very serious adverse health effects when abused.  The physical health conditions related to long-term cocaine abuse and addiction include an enlarged heart, heart attacks, vascular damage, cardiac arrest, destruction of the interior nasal tissue and cartilage.  There is also deterioration of mental health, including depression, insomnia, cravings, and anxiety disorder.

Short-term adverse effects might include paranoia, aggressiveness, delusions, hallucinations, exhaustion, and fast heart rate.  Cocaine abuse is also linked to job loss, financial devastation, and divorce.

Bag of Cocaine


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Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Recovery from cocaine addiction involves first completing the detox and withdrawal process.  A medically supervised detoxification program is recommended, mostly due to the intense drug cravings that occur.  Without supervision and medical management of withdrawal symptoms, the individual would likely give up detox and go back to using the drug.

Once the detox phase is complete then the individual will transition to therapeutic treatment for the addiction.  Treatment involves several types of therapy, including talk therapy (usually using cognitive behavioral therapy), group counseling, family therapy, addiction education and making a relapse prevention plan, 12-step or similar recovery group participation, and stress-reduction techniques.

The Treatment Specialist Finds High Quality Cocaine Treatment Programs

The Treatment Specialist is exactly what the name implies—a team of addiction and mental health specialists that can reliably guide you or your loved one to the best cocaine addiction treatment program.  Finding a program that specializes in cocaine addiction is the best way to approach getting the help you need. The Treatment Specialist can tell you how to tell if someone is sniffing coke, and will match treatment needs with the most appropriate program.  Contact the Treatment Specialist today at (866) 644-7911.


For individuals looking for treatment options for mental health and addiction conditions, offers a confidential helpline that provides assistance. Treatment Specialists are standing by to answer your questions and provide treatment recommendations based on your unique needs.

Calls to The Treatment Specialist website will be answered by a Featured Treatment Program.

If you are looking for a specific treatment provider, you can search our treatment directory and see if they are listed. You can also contact our helpline at 866-644-7911 for any questions, or visit SAMHSA.

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