Everyone knows that drugs are harmful and dangerous. But when it comes to the world of drugs, there is a perceived hierarchy in terms of what drugs are cool and “safe” to experiment with. Some drugs, such as crack cocaine, meth and heroin, are looked down upon by everyone. These drugs are seen as incredibly dangerous and only taken by people with severe drug addictions. Conversely, other drugs — such as marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine — are seen differently. Despite being serious and harmful, these drugs are often deemed okay to experiment with. This idea is hazardous and can give a false impression that these drugs are safer than they really are. Keep reading to learn more about cocaine, including the potential effects of long-term cocaine damage on the nasal system.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant found in South America. It comes as a white powder and is typically snorted up the nose. Users feel a very quick and sudden high which gives them energy and makes them overly confident. Cocaine can suppress your appetite and make you hyperfocused.

The effects of cocaine can wear off quickly, causing people to go back for another “hit” repeatedly. This cycle can lead to overuse and quickly spiral into an addiction.

As cocaine is a costly drug and is often used by the wealthy and famous, societal perception of the drug is skewed. People believe this drug is a lot safer than it is. In addition to the danger of addiction and overdose, one of the most common side effects of regular cocaine use is “coke nose” damage.

Long-Term Cocaine Damage: “Cocaine Nose”

Cocaine can be used in various ways, including snorting, rubbing on the gums and mixing it with water to inject it. Of all these options, the most popular method is snorting. If snorted, the “high” lasts between 15-30 minutes, which is longer than if cocaine is consumed in any other way.

One of the main physical effects of snorting cocaine is a condition known as “coke nose.” This is the term used to describe any damage caused to the nose by cocaine usage.

So, why does cocaine nose happen? Your nose is a lot more fragile than it may seem. The blood vessels in the nose are very close to the surface, which is why the drug can be absorbed so quickly into the body. But this is also why snorting the drug can cause so much damage to the nose. Cocaine causes constriction to the blood vessels in the nose, decreasing blood supply to the nose’s lining. Over time, the nose’s lining becomes weaker and is at a higher risk for damage.

Cocaine can cause damage to the nasal system in many ways, including:

  • Nosebleeds and nose scabs
  • Sinus infections
  • Perforated septum
  • Collapse of the nose
  • Hard palate damage
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Lung infections

Does Damage to the Nose Happen Immediately?

Of course, the more someone uses cocaine, the higher the risk of damaging their nose. Frequent snorting of cocaine causes continuous damage to your nose and is almost guaranteed to result in some nasal system issues.

Still, it’s important to understand there is a serious risk of complications from even a single use. Every time you snort cocaine, your nose is at risk of damage.

How long does coke nose last? Well, it depends on how severe the problem is. If you only have a nosebleed or a sinus infection, it can be a matter of days before you’re healed. Other severe issues, like a lung infection or nose collapse, will take significantly longer to repair.

Severe Cocaine Nose Damage Cases

When it comes to long-term cocaine damage, the most severe cases are where there is permanent damage to the nose, and surgical intervention is necessary.

Nasal Perforation (Cocaine Nose Holes)

Nasal perforation, also known as cocaine nose holes, is when cocaine use has started to impact more than just the nose lining. The constricted blood vessels can eventually affect the septum, which is the piece of cartilage that separates the two nostrils. In severe cases of blood circulation in the nasal system, a hole can form in the septum, and the tissue in that area rots.

Deviated Septum

A deviated septum is caused by the same thing as a nasal perforation, although it’s not quite as bad. With a deviated septum, a hole is formed in the nose, and the septum cannot keep its normal shape. As a result, the septum collapses on one side, restricting airflow from one nostril. The nose becomes misshapen, and breathing can be challenging.

Collapse of the Nose

Commonly known as “saddle nose,” the lack of blood flow to the nose can cause tissue to die slowly. Over time, the bridge of the nose can collapse as it rots, causing the nose to take on the shape of a saddle.

Lung Infections

When someone snorts cocaine, they’re putting a dangerous, foreign substance into their airways. This can result in a lung infection or pulmonary diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema.

Need for Surgical Intervention

Wondering how to heal your nose from cocaine damage? If you use cocaine to the point you have holes in your nose, rotting tissue or a collapsing nose, you’ll likely need surgical intervention. In many cases, an experienced surgeon can reshape and rebuild your nose. But there’s no guarantee you’ll have the same nose you had before.

Clearly, the potential negative consequences of using cocaine are significant. You could be left with a permanently ravaged nose which could even make it difficult for you to breathe. Cocaine may start as a fun party drug, but regular use can quickly lead to a serious addiction.

If you or someone you know is using cocaine, it’s time to address the problem and seek help.

Sunlight Recovery Offers Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

If you’re struggling with a cocaine addiction, know you can get the treatment you need. At Sunlight Recovery, we believe that everyone can live a happy, drug-free life. Our compassionate and experienced staff will help you through your recovery journey in any way that you need us. Take the first step today by calling us today.