Cocaine is white powder snorted through a straw or rolled-up note in the nose. But what does cocaine do to your body? And where does it come from?

Because the buzz is so short it can be tempting to take more and more

What is it?

Coke is a white powder that comes from the Coca plant, which mostly grow in South American countries. It is usually snorted (inhaled through the nose), but can also be injected or swallowed.

It can be made into a smokeable drug - known as crack.

How does it make you feel?

Coke is a highly addictive stimulant that temporarily speeds up the way your mind and body work. It makes you feel exhilarated, confident, excited and awake.

The buzz lasts for up to an hour. There is an immediate comedown when the effects wear off, when the user might feel they want more.

What are the health effects?

Because the buzz is so short it can be tempting to take more and more, which makes it highly addictive - you can develop a tolerance to coke over just one night. By the end of the night you'll need more of it to get the same effect that you got when you started - and a result you can overdose. The risk of heart failure or heart attack is increased when mixing cocaine with other drugs or alcohol.

There is an increased likelihood of taking careless risks, as cocaine makes you feel confident and alert. Snorting coke can seriously damage your nose over time. Long term it can give you heart and breathing problems, and can also make you feel depressed, anxious and paranoid.

The law

Cocaine is an illegal class A drug. The maximum penalty for possession is seven years in prison. For supply it's life in prison. You can get an unlimited fine for both. Head to Talk To Frank if you want more advice.

BBC Advice factfiles are here to help young people with a broad range of issues. They're based on advice from medical professionals, government bodies, charities and other relevant groups. Follow the links for more advice from these organisations.


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