What Is Fake Cocaine? How To Identify It

Fake cocaine is a chemically synthesized drug that is different from pure cocaine. As more synthetic drugs emerge on the illegal drug market, experts and law enforcement continuously attempt to bring awareness to what fake cocaine is, and how to identify it.

Fake cocaine is a synthetic stimulant drug that often contains methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), a cathinone stimulant derived from khat plants.

Like other commonly used types of cocaine, fake cocaine products affect the brain by inhibiting dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake, thus inducing intense euphoria and sensory sensitivity.

Heavy substance abuse like cocaine addiction has been an ongoing public health issue, as supply of designer drugs such as fake cocaine increases to meet the demand for real cocaine.

How Fake Cocaine Differs From Pure Cocaine

The chemical ingredients and structure of fake cocaine are entirely dissimilar from pure cocaine, although it is often marketed as a legitimate substitute for controlled substances.

Pure cocaine is 100% unadulterated cocaine hydrochloride crystalline powder, which is naturally derived from the leaves of coca plants, whereas fake cocaine is 100% chemically synthesized.

Physical Characteristics Of Fake Cocaine

The physical aesthetics of fake cocaine may vary depending on the chemicals used in the manufacturing process.

What Fake Cocaine Looks Like

Fake cocaine products like bath salts and synthetic cathinones are found sold as brown or white powder or crystals, packed in plastic or foil packages that say “not for human consumption.”

What Fake Cocaine Tastes Like

The taste of fake cocaine depends on what chemicals were used to synthesize it. Some manufacturers have been sweetening their synthetic drugs, making them taste like candy.

Fake drugs taste bitter if they contain certain chemical additives, such as caffeine or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Other more harmful additives may also affect the flavor of fake cocaine.

What Fake Cocaine Smells Like

The smell of fake cocaine is also dependent on what was used in its synthesis, as well as how it is used. Fake cocaine can be snorted, ingested orally, smoked, or injected.

Smoking fake cocaine may have the most noticeable odor since the vapors released when heat is applied give off stronger chemical smells.

Depending on the chemical ingredients, fake cocaine can smell like:

  • gasoline
  • paint fumes
  • acetic acid
  • sulphuric acid
  • calcium chloride
  • chlorine
  • cement
  • motor oil

Ingredients Of Fake Cocaine

The contents of fake cocaine products depend on what manufacturers choose to add. They may include a wide variety of chemicals that may be cheap, toxic, or poisonous to humans.

Primary Active Ingredients

The most common active ingredient is methylenedioxypyrovalerone, a synthetic cathinone that is not approved for medical use.

Common Additives, Contaminants, And Diluents

There is no way of being certain what fake cocaine products contain or have been mixed with. Manufacturers often use chemical additives and other unregulated drugs to enhance the effects.

Some common chemical additives used in fake cocaine include:

  • levamisole (parasitic worm medication)
  • phenacetin (an analgesic)
  • diltiazem (heart medication, calcium channel blocker)
  • hydroxyzine (antihistamine for allergy and anxiety relief)
  • lidocaine (local anesthetic)
  • caffeine

Fake cocaine is often laced with some of the most commonly abused drugs such as opioids like fentanyl (causing overdoses) and amphetamines (causing heart attacks and sudden death).

Side Effects Of Fake Cocaine

The effects of fake cocaine are often compared to those of MDMA, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The intensity of effects can depend on health factors and the amount used.

Physical Side Effects

People who use fake cocaine may experience a range of physical side effects.

These include:

Psychological Side Effects

The psychological effects triggered by fake cocaine use can be pleasant or distressing, depending on the individual’s neurological reactions.

Depending on how much is used, a person who uses fake cocaine may experience:

  • intense euphoria
  • empathy
  • sensory sensitivity
  • increased alertness
  • hyper awareness
  • increased sex drive
  • lowered inhibitions
  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • aggression
  • paranoia
  • panic attacks
  • delusional thoughts
  • delirium
  • hallucinations
  • suicidal thoughts

Street Names For Fake Cocaine

Like other forms of cocaine, fake cocaine may be disguised by slang terms. Knowing the slang for fake cocaine may help you to identify it.

Some common slang terms for fake cocaine may be:

  • bliss
  • blue silk
  • charge plus
  • white lightning
  • ivory wave
  • energy 1
  • cloud 9

Fake cocaine that is sold online and on apps is also called “bath salts,” “plant food,” “glass cleaner,” and “research chemicals” to evade law enforcement that patrols these retail websites.

Fake drugs such as bath salts are classified as New Psychoactive Substances and Schedule I controlled substance analogues per the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Risks And Dangerous Consequences Of Using Fake Cocaine

The risks and dangers of fake cocaine use are still emerging as more incidents involving these drugs emerge in police reports and the media, including violent deaths and cocaine overdoses.

What is known so far is that this is a high-risk and unpredictable drug that causes extremely volatile behaviors due to the pharmacological effects it produces in the central nervous system.

People can experience intense hallucinations and delirium that cause them to act aggressively and violently, endangering their safety and the safety of others, including their loved ones.

How To Get Help For Cocaine Addiction

Any synthetic stimulant similar to cocaine is highly addictive and even short-term use can inevitably result in cocaine addiction, which is treatable with intervention and abstinence.

Most addiction specialists recommend that someone with a cocaine addiction attend a clinical treatment program that provides a variety of drug treatment options.

At Spring Hill Recovery Center, we believe that anyone can kick cocaine addiction for good. If you would like information about the addiction treatment process, call our helpline to learn more.

  1. Journal of the American Medical Association – A Trip on “Bath Salts” is Cheaper Than Meth or Cocaine https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1486827
  2. Journal Storage (JSTOR) – Quality Control by Cocaine Users https://www.jstor.org/stable/26790164
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse – Synthetic Cathinones (“Bath Salts”) DrugFacts https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/synthetic-cathinones-bath-salts
  4. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – Cocaine Insights 2021 https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/cocaine/Cocaine_Insights_2021_2.pdf
  5. VeryWell Mind – Fake Cocaine: Effects, Risks, and How to Get Help https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-fake-cocaine-66697

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

Prefer Texting?
We've got you covered.

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.
Let us walk you through the treatment process. We're here to help.
For 24/7 Treatment Help:
100% Free & Confidential. Call (978) 321-2696
(978) 321-2696