Cocaine and Crack Cocaine in Photographs

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Raw Cocaine

Raw Cocaine
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Do you wonder what cocaine and crack cocaine look like? You may have seen it depicted many times in film and television, and wonder if you'd recognize it if you came across it. Here are photographs from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration of cocaine and crack cocaine in various forms and stages, from small street-level amounts to shiploads.

Cocaine is a drug that is extracted from the leaves South American coca plant. People in South America may chew the leaves themselves or use them to brew tea for a mild effect.

Once extracted as a paste from dried leaves, cocaine is produced by further extractions and can be seen in flake and rock forms. This purified cocaine is a strong stimulate that affects the body's central nervous system. Repeated use has many health effects and can lead to addiction.

This is a closeup photo of raw cocaine before it is crushed to be snorted or liquefied to be injected.

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Coca Leaves

Coca leaves
Indiana Prevention Resource Center

Raw cocaine is processed from coca leaves like these, and then it is extracted and purified into a fine white powder. These coca leaves are also chewed by many people in South America to get a mild stimulant effect, much like coffee. This photo shows the coca leaves from which cocaine is manufactured, along with purified forms

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Powdered Cocaine

Powdered cocaine
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

A common form of cocaine is a white crystalline powder. It is often mixed with sugar, cornstarch, vitamins, and flour. After the raw cocaine is produced, the cocaine is cut with these substances, often each time it changes hands along the illicit supply chain. The final potency of cocaine bought on the street, and the substances it is mixed with, is impossible to predict.

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Bagged Cocaine

Bagged Cocaine
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. Nearly one percent of Americans, or 2.1 million people, are currently using cocaine. It is commonly transported in plastic bags or condoms. This photo is of a large quantity of cocaine wrapped in plastic and ready to be used or sold.

 

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Baggies of Cocaine

Cocaine in baggies
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

This photo shows how cocaine usually appears as it is sold by street dealers, in small plastic bags. The tiny size allows them to be easily passed in a short encounter, with an amount of the drug that the customer can afford to purchase. If you see these sort of packets being exchanged or see discarded packets, you might suspect they contain cocaine or other illicit drugs.

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Cocaine Bricks

Cocaine Bricks
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

As cocaine is being smuggled into the United States or transported from one region to another, it is usually in the form of "bricks" that usually weigh about one kilogram or 2.2 pounds. These bricks, wrapped in paper showing a scorpion logo, were seized by the DEA.

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Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Crack cocaine looks like a small rock, chunk, or chip and it is sometimes off-white or pink in color. While it is the same drug as cocaine, it can be smoked. Like powdered cocaine, it might be cut or diluted with other substances.

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Crack Cocaine Bags

Crack cocaine bags
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

These are typical baggies of crack cocaine as they are sold by street dealers. The "rocks" are placed in a pipe and smoked. If you see similar baggies being exchanged or find them discarded, they might be suspicious of illicit drugs.

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Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine rocks
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Crack cocaine creates a strong sense of exhilaration. Users generally feel invincible, carefree, alert, euphoric and have a lot of energy.

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Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

After crack cocaine is cooked down from powdered cocaine, it can sometimes appear to have a pink color like these rocks.

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Smuggled Cocaine

Smuggle cocaine
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Because cocaine is usually shipped in bulk it is difficult to conceal, like these bricks that were confiscated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This is 9,291 kilograms of cocaine, over 10 tons, seized aboard a ship by the DEA.

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Cocaine Baggie

Cocaine baggie
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Cocaine is potent and dangerous. The short-term and long-term health effects of cocaine are equally dangerous. The dangers of experiencing cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory failure are equal in both short and long term abuse. With use comes the risk of addition.

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