Psychiatrist and patient discussing is cocaine an opioid and treatment options

Is Cocaine an Opioid – A Deep Dive

For several years now, America’s opioid crisis has been splashed across the headlines of every newspaper a few times. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every four patients who are prescribed opioids develops an addiction or substance abuse disorder. 

Many people wonder if cocaine is also considered an opioid. After all, cocaine is a highly addictive drug, and most people require extensive rehab to overcome their abuse disorder. It also has a similar effect on the body, with minor differences from opioids. 

Can Cocaine Be Classified as an Opioid?

Cocaine is an illicit drug created from the leaves of cocoa plants mostly grown in South America, while an opioid is a class of drug. Cocaine falls into the stimulant class of drugs. 

Opioids are primarily used to control pain. Some common types of opioids include:

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Methadone
  • Codeine
  • Methadone

Most opioids are synthetic, which means they’re created in a lab, whereas cocaine comes from a plant. Synthetic opioids work by attaching themselves to the pain and opioid receptors in a patient’s body, while cocaine works by affecting the person’s central nervous system.

Sometimes, someone suffering from cocaine use or opioids will combine the two to create a “highball,” which is particularly dangerous but creates a unique high. Both cocaine and opioids are highly addictive, and it only takes the person using them a few times to run the risk of developing a substance use disorder.

Regular use of these substances can lead to drug addiction. Once a person faces drug abuse to either cocaine or prescription opioids, they will need to detox from them and then use therapy to build the tools necessary to live a sober lifestyle. Opioids and cocaine share some mental health and physical side effects and vary in others. 

Cocaine Side Effects vs. Opioids

Some of the side effects of cocaine and opioids overlap, while others are distinctly the cause of one of these drugs. If someone wonders if they or a loved one is abusing cocaine and not opioids, they need to look at cocaine versus opioids. 

Common side effects of opioids can include:

  • Lying or stealing to support the habit
  • Visiting multiple doctors or hospitals to get prescriptions
  • Purchasing opioids online or through third-party sources
  • Stops attending family events and things they used to enjoy
  • Euphoric effects
  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Drowsiness, feeling of sleepiness
  • Nausea, constipation, and other stomach issues
  • Confusion
  • Overdose
  • The need to constantly take more to achieve the same effect

This list of side effects is comprehensive, but someone struggling with opioid addiction might notice other effects. While an opioid slows a person down, cocaine is a stimulant that speeds a person up. 

Some of the most common side effects of cocaine include:

  • Lying or stealing to support the habit
  • Visiting multiple doctors or hospitals to get prescriptions
  • Purchasing opioids online or through third-party sources
  • Stops attending family events and things they used to enjoy
  • Euphoric feeling
  • Racing heart rate
  • Feeling of invincibility
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Higher body temperature
  • Violent or erratic behavior
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety, panic, and paranoia
  • Erosion of the nasal passages
  • Overdose 
  • Stroke or heart attack

Anyone struggling with cocaine or opioid addiction needs immediate help to detox and overcome the abuse. 

Cocaine’s Effect on the Body and Mind

When a person first takes cocaine, the drug hits the brain in seconds. This fast-tracked euphoric feeling is called a rush. However, the intensity of this initial high is determined by the method of ingestion.

If someone injects or smokes cocaine, they’ll experience a much more intense rush than someone who snorts it. After the initial rush, the person who uses cocaine experiences a high along with an increase in energy or manic feeling that can last a few hours.  

Unfortunately, most people quickly develop a tolerance to cocaine and need to increase the amount they use to get the same high. However, higher dosages come with paranoia, erratic behavior, and possible drug overdoses. 

The effect of cocaine on the body is equally immediate, but there are also long-term effects. The heartbeat, body temperature, and blood pressure increase as soon as the drug hits a person’s bloodstream. 

Long-term effects can include irregular heartbeats and other heart issues that can lead to a heart attack or stroke. People who snort cocaine also run the risk of damage to their nasal passages. 

What to Expect During Treatment for Cocaine Abuse Disorder

When a person seeks treatment for a cocaine abuse disorder, they almost always start with inpatient care. During this time, they’ll detox or stop using cocaine, which can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms that require medical professional monitoring. 

Inpatient care usually lasts a minimum of 30 days. During detox, most patients won’t make phone calls or receive visitors while they stay at the facility without returning home. After detox, the patient starts therapy to build the tools they’ll need to avoid a relapse. 

The goal of inpatient treatment for cocaine abuse disorder is to give the patient time to heal and recover from the stresses and triggers they face at home. This can include individual, group, and family therapy to help the person recognize and overcome triggers that lead to cocaine usage. 

Get Cocaine Treatment at Inland Detox

While cocaine isn’t an opioid, it is sometimes mixed with opioids for people looking for a specific type of high. Cocaine is equally as addictive as opioids. Someone struggling with a substance abuse disorder can benefit from detox and developing the tools they need to avoid relapse through therapy. 

At Inland Detox, our team is ready to help someone struggling with a substance abuse disorder recover and live a sober lifestyle, whether they use cocaine or opioids. Our team members create a caring and compassionate environment where a person struggling with substance abuse can heal.