cocaine identification

You had to take your partner’s car to work recently when your car was at the shop. During your drive, you opened the glovebox at a stoplight and started looking around for a napkin for your morning coffee. During your search, you noticed something that seemed out of place. Amongst the car’s manual and insurance papers was a plastic baggie with some sort of white substance in it. What on earth was this doing here? Did your partner know about this or did one of their friends stash it there?

When you parked at work, you got a closer look at the bag. What was it? How could you identify it? What should you do now that you’ve found it? You wanted to know exactly what you were dealing with before you potentially spoke with your loved one about it.

As a facility with the largest alumni network in San Antonio, our team at San Antonio Recovery Center is well-connected to and cares about, our community. We know exactly how scary it can feel to find an unknown substance in your loved one’s possession. Today we’re going to talk about cocaine identification and what steps you should take after you find an unknown substance.

What You Need to Know to Identify Cocaine

There might be many things running through your mind after finding an unknown substance. You might have a few different inclinations on how to figure out what it is, so let’s talk through some of the options and ways you can figure it out. First, let’s talk about exactly what cocaine is.

Cocaine is derived from a coca leaf which is native to South America. It is a stimulant that is often taken through either snorting, rubbing it on the gums, injecting, or smoking.

What Does Cocaine Look Like?

Cocaine comes in two main forms: a white powder, or a white to off-white rock-like substance. The powdered version of cocaine often looks similar to baking powder or crushed chalk.

The rock-like form of cocaine is commonly referred to as crack cocaine. This form is mostly opaque and can range from white to off-white with hints of yellow or even pink tones.

Other substances come in powdered or rocky forms, however, so are there other ways to tell apart cocaine from other substances like heroin?

What Does Cocaine Smell Like?

The exact scent of cocaine can vary depending on how it’s made and what other substances might be laced or mixed with it. Some people describe the scent of cocaine to be a strong, chemical scent while others report the scent to be on the more mild side.

One of the most common ways to consume cocaine is via snorting or inhalation. It’s never safe to try and smell an unknown substance, as particles could get into your lungs and system as a whole.

What Does Cocaine Taste Like?

If you find an unknown substance, especially a white powder, it might be tempting to taste it to figure out what it is. You probably could recognize the taste of flour or even baking soda, right? The taste of cocaine is generally a strong, bitter taste.

The way that you find this substance should be a strong indicator of what it might be. The average person doesn’t store flour in a plastic bag tucked away in a drawer or other hiding place. Cocaine is water soluble and commonly consumed by rubbing it on the gums. Tasting an unknown substance isn’t safe as you don’t know what you might be putting into your body.

tools and techniques for cocaine identification

What Are Other Signs Your Loved One Might Be Using Cocaine?

If sight alone isn’t going to help identify cocaine, and tasting and smelling it aren’t safe, what other options do you have to try and figure out what the substance is?

Context clues can be an important part of identifying a substance that you’ve found. This can range from the way someone is speaking to the way they look or act. Are they using cocaine street names? Are they exhibiting signs of cocaine use? Let’s take a look at some of the things to look out for.

Common Street Names for Cocaine

If you’ve found a substance in the possession of a loved one, try paying attention to the things they talk about. There are many different code names, or “street names,” for substances like cocaine. People utilize street names to talk about substances without explicitly revealing what it is they’re talking about.

Street names can vary from state to state, and country to country. Not all street names are known online, or they wouldn’t be very effective. Here are some of the known and commonly used street names for cocaine: blow, coke, crack, crank, flake, nose candy, rock, snow, stardust, and white lady.

Common Side Effects of Cocaine Use

Another way to help identify an unknown substance is by paying closer attention to the behaviors and symptoms your loved one might be showcasing. Long-term substance use often comes with side effects that can impact them both physically and mentally.

Some of the most common cocaine side effects you can keep an eye out for include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Altered sleeping habits
  • Increase fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Altered appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Increased nose bleeds
  • Difficulties with breathing

Substance use as a whole can also result in some behavioral changes. Some people might start to hide more from their friends and family. Some might start to have trouble with finances or maintaining a job. Other times you might notice a loved one showing a decreased interest in hobbies and activities they used to love. Any combination of these side effects and behavioral changes could be a sign of a cocaine use disorder.

What Should You Do if You Find Cocaine?

You have several options after discovering a substance like cocaine. If it wasn’t found in the possession of a loved one and you simply stumbled across it in a public space, it’s best to keep your distance and report it to the proper authorities.

If you found it in your loved one’s belongings, it’s best to try and approach them about it. There are a few things to keep in mind to try and make this conversation more successful. Let’s go over them.

How to Talk to Your Loved One About Their Cocaine Use Disorder

The most important piece of advice we can give when it comes to talking with your loved one about potential substance use is to make sure you have a clear mind before you do. Take some time after finding the substance and think about how it makes you feel. Then, think about what they might be feeling or going through. If you approach them in an aggressive or accusatory way, they’re going to be less receptive to what you have to say.

There’s a good chance your loved one knows that what they’re doing is generally “looked down upon.” Substance use disorders are rarely cut and dry and often have other factors at play. What they need from you is support and understanding, not harsh words.

Remind them that you care and want to see them living a happy and healthy life. Ask them about how they feel regarding their substance use and how they picture their future. Offer your help with finding a rehab center and give them ongoing support during the process. This can mean anything from researching to find a good facility to helping drive them to their first visit.

recognizing cocaine physical characteristics

How to Help Your Loved One Find Cocaine Treatment in San Antonio, Texas

You can support your loved one without enabling them. Tell them how you feel about it, but make sure to remind them that you feel that way because you care and are concerned about them. No matter what their history of cocaine use is or any potential things that have led up to or been impacted by their cocaine use disorder, there is help out there.

Cocaine addiction treatment programs can help teach the skills needed for long-term recovery. A good program should address all aspects of recovery, from detox to therapy and wellness programs. Substance use often impacts nearly every facet of a person’s life, so addressing multiple needs can set them up for success.

If you’d like to learn more about the recovery programs here at San Antonio Recovery Center, you can give us a call anytime at 866-957-7885. We offer an 8 to 1 client-to-therapist ratio, ensuring everyone gets the hands-on help and support they need during their recovery journey. There’s no wrong time to get started, so give us a call today.

Strength. Acceptance. Recovery. Community.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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