Guide for Parents: Facts about Cocaine


Facts for Parents

Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant with both physical and psychological addictive properties. Cocaine powder can be inhaled or injected. Free base "Crack" cocaine can be smoked.

Physical and psychological effects may occur in seconds and last as long as 60 minutes. When the immediate effects have diminished, "crashing" commonly occurs. This is extremely unpleasant and often accompanied by depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, tremors, irritability, feelings of fatigue and depression, plus a craving for more cocaine.

Even first time users may experience seizures or heart attacks, which can be fatal.

How can I tell if my child is on drugs?

Symptoms of drug use might include:

  • Excessive mood changes
  • Loss of appetite and/or unexplained weight loss
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Changes in friends and activities
  • Symptoms of paranoia
  • Be alert for drug paraphernalia and/or unusual odors

What Should I Do if I Suspect My Child Is Using Drugs?

Get help. Call your pastor, school counselor, medical personnel, and/or law enforcement. They can give you advice or refer you to someone who will help. Document why you suspect your child may be on drugs. Don't just ignore your feelings, your child's life may depend on your actions.

How Can I Prevent My Child From Getting Involved With Drugs?

One of the greatest deterrents is talking with your kids about drugs. Drug usage is almost always due to rebellion, alienation, despair, peer pressure, or some combination of those factors. As a parent you can have a powerful effect on how your kids deal with these things.

Take a stand. Talk to your kids about drugs. Start when they are young. Kids will probably be exposed to drugs from kindergarten on, so say it early, say it often.

Set the rules! Be specific and consistent. Kids need to know exactly what the rules are. They must be clear, reasonable and enforced. Every kid will try to find out exactly how far he or she can go.

Educate yourself. Learn why drugs are so dangerous and how they can destroy your family.

Get involved. Participate in your child's life. Get to know their friends and their teachers. Encourage them to participate in school and community activities and become involved in those activities yourself. Be available for your child when he or she wants to talk. Listen attentively! Be a good role model.