Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Around 2% of Canadians consumed cocaine in some form, including freebase and crack, during the past year in 2017. Despite this low prevalence of use, the relative health and social costs of cocaine are high. Understanding the impacts of cocaine distribution and consumption is essential to minimizing the risks and harms associated with this substance. For that reason, CCSA synthesizes the evidence to better support decisions about related policy and practice.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant made from the leaves of the coca plant and consumed for both medical and non-medical purposes The two main varieties available are a water-soluble white powder, which is often mixed with other substances such as cornstarch, to be snorted or injected, and a water-insoluble whitish opaque crystal, known as “crack,” that is smoked or dissolved and injected. Using cocaine with other drugs, particularly opiates, either at the same time or consecutively, is associated with an increased risk of overdose.

Our Experts

Doris Payer, PhD
Senior Knowledge Broker
Samantha King, PhD
Research and Policy Analyst

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