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drug information


  1. What it is

    Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that stimulates the central nervous system by speeding up the messages sent between the body and the brain. It reduces appetite, increases energy and provides a euphoric sense of wellbeing.

  2. Health effects

    Short term effects

    Cocaine’s effects can last from 20 minutes to several hours depending on the dosage, purity and how it was taken. Common initial signs are an intense sense of euphoria, hyperactivity, restlessness and increased blood pressure and heart rate.

  3. Dependence, addiction and overdose risk

    Dependence and addiction

    The high from cocaine can be intensely rewarding but the experience is very short lived, producing an intense craving which can develop quickly into an addiction. Tolerance can develop very quickly, meaning the user must take more cocaine to achieve the same effect.

  4. Law and penalties

    Cocaine is illegal in New Zealand and is classified as a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. This means it attracts the highest penalties.

  5. Drug trends

    Cocaine is not used extensively in New Zealand and has rarely been the focus of media attention or the cause of a significant number of hospital admissions.

  6. Reducing the harm

    The Drug Foundation’s message is clear: no drug use is the safest drug use. However, we know there will be occasions when people ignore warnings and use drugs in a dangerous manner. To help keep communities safe we therefore provide information about proven methods of drug harm reduction.

  7. How to get help

    If you feel you or anyone you know needs help, there are a number of treatment organisations you can contact in strict confidence.

  8. Links

    A list of relevant links to further information and resources about cocaine: