Cocaine Identification By Look And Smell

Cocaine is commonly believed to be a white powdery substance, thanks to television and movie depictions. However, cocaine can appear in many different ways, and has a very distinct smell.

Cocaine Identification By Look And Smell

The entertainment industry has sensationalized drugs like cocaine for many years. Cocaine has been portrayed as this fine, powdery white substance that is available at parties, clubs, and raves.

Crack cocaine has been shown in movies as a solid white rock form of cocaine, usually available on street corners and for a much cheaper price than cocaine.

The reality of what cocaine and crack cocaine actually look like is somewhat different. There are a number of factors that affect the look and smell of cocaine.

What Does Cocaine Actually Look Like?

Regardless of powder or rock form, cocaine tends to be an off white to pinkish or beige color. Cocaine is derived from the coca plant, native to South America.

The coca plant has to be processed to extract the cocaine from the plant. Usually solvents or acid is used to remove the cocaine hydrochloride from the leaves.

Cocaine hydrochloride tends to be varying shades of white. However, this color can still be different than the cocaine that is sold on the streets.

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Many drug dealers add different substances to cocaine in order to increase profit or make the cocaine seem more potent than other types of cocaine.

Talcum powder or baby laxatives being added to cocaine will give the drug a more white color, Other substances, such as powdered caffeine or procaine can change the hue of the cocaine significantly.

Adding anything to the base form of cocaine will result in a change in appearance. More importantly, it can change the potency of the drug and how a person reacts to the cocaine. This is one of the reasons cocaine has the potential to be a dangerous substance of abuse.

What Does Cocaine Smell Like?

In general, cocaine has a sweet floral scent, but also smells metallic and chemical-like. This should be no surprise, given the amount of chemicals and solvents that are often used in the cocaine extraction process.

Some of the chemicals used to make cocaine and crack cocaine include:

  • carbonate salt
  • kerosene
  • gasoline
  • diesel
  • sulfuric acid
  • caustic soda
  • potassium permanganate
  • ammonia

In addition to the chemical smell of cocaine, many individuals report that crack cocaine smells like burnt plastic or burning rubber when smoked.

What Does Cocaine Taste Like?

Cocaine has a bitter taste, similar to its scent. The reason a person puts cocaine in their mouth is more to check the purity, not the taste of the cocaine. Specifically, a person will rub cocaine on their gums when checking purity.

Cocaine that has not been cut will typically numb the gum line when a small amount is rubbed across it. However, if the cocaine has been cut with a numbing agent, the result will be the same and the person may have less pure cocaine and not even know it.

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Cocaine And Paraphernalia – What To Look For

Because cocaine can vary so much in appearance, sometimes a more convenient way to identify cocaine is by the paraphernalia a person will have in their possession to use cocaine.

Cocaine is usually sold in small, resealable plastic bags, much smaller than the kind available at grocery stores. These baggies can be clear, or have little designs all over them. Some alternatives to the baggies include small brown glass jars, or corners of bigger plastic bags that are tied off.

For example, a person who snorts the powder form of cocaine will often have cut off straws, razor blades, small mirrors, and a powdery residue on flat surfaces.

A person smoking or freebasing cocaine often will have a metal cylinder that has metal wool inside for smoking crack rocks with. They may also use aluminum foil and a lighter to vaporize the freebase version, so there may be burnt pieces of foil laying around.

Injecting cocaine requires another set of paraphernalia. Items such as syringes, rubber hoses (for tourniquets), bent spoons and lighters may also around if a person is injecting cocaine.

Finding Help For Cocaine Addiction

If you suspect your loved one is abusing cocaine, or if you, yourself, find yourself unable to control your own cocaine use, there is help available.

Our specialists are available to help you find a location that can address the struggles with addiction and help start the journey into sober living.

Treatment for cocaine addiction usually starts with an inpatient detox unit, followed by inpatient treatment or outpatient services, followed by an after care plan.

Contact us today so we can help you find the best way to help you or your loved one with the addiction battle.

Drugs and Culture - https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781315578200/chapters/10.4324/9781315578200-15

The International Handbook of Addiction Behaviour - https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=VMNCDQAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT128&dq=cocaine+smell&ots=LHdpLITc3Q&sig=DhC28lUs1Q1xUQKamG6KfXbp3Q0#v=onepage&q=cocaine%20smell&f=false

Forensic Science International - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S037907381630055X

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