What Effect Does Cocaine Have on Nose?

cocaine nose

Cocaine is an extremely addictive stimulant that gives the user the feeling of euphoria, pleasure, and increased energy. Cocaine high makes the user think he is “on-top-of-the-world”. Most users take cocaine for different reasons. Unfortunately, Cocaine is an addictive stimulant, if you take it once. There are over 50% chances that you are going to try it again.

Despite the “seemingly” rewards of cocaine, it comes with a lot of consequences. Your risk of serious heart problems and even sudden death increase each time you take cocaine. You also risk damaging other parts of your body and internal system permanently. Despite the government’s war on cocaine, the use of cocaine in the United States and other countries are increasing. Even high school students are now exposed to this dangerous substance.


Cocaine Inhalation

Cocaine can be introduced into the body through different ways. Some prefer to smoke it, others inject it, while there is a group of people that like to snort (inhale) cocaine.

When cocaine is snorted, it goes into the bloodstream by passing through linings in the nasal interior. These linings are known as the mucous membranes.  When you snort cocaine, you are exposing yourself to various forms of nasal damage. It might include septum perforation, rhinitis – which is a chronic allergy-like condition. Moreover, degradation of the nasal sidewalls can result in permanent facial deformity.

cocaine abuse


Consequences of Snorting Cocaine (on the Nose)

Cocaine snorting or inhalation can lead to septum perforation.

Some users prefer to inhale powdered cocaine through the nose where it is absorbed through the nasal tissue. On the other hand, there are users who also inhale crack cocaine. They do this by heating the crack to produce vapor which they inhale and absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs.

Inhalation of powdered cocaine is one of the leading causes of injury to the nasal septum which can lead to a septum perforation. Septum Perforation occurs when the use of cocaine causes serious damage to the septum’s cartilage. This damage may be big enough to form a hole and provide abnormal access between the right and left portions of the nasal cavity.

Most users experience septum perforation after a habitual snorting of cocaine for a very long period of time. Alternatively, there are some users that are not so lucky and will develop this problem only after a short period of snorting cocaine.  When there is a large hole in the septum, the victim will experience several problems. It could be breathing difficulties, uncomfortable changes in normal nasal pressure, mild or severe nosebleeds, and crustiness in the mucous membranes.

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Nasal Inhalation of Cocaine Is Extremely Dangerous

The vasoconstrictive effects of cocaine on the delicate blood vessels can lead to trauma to the mucosa when a vapor from the heated crack cocaine is inhaled. When this happens, it will impair the way that air is humidified before it reaches the lungs. Continued misuse of this substance can lead to the septum collapse.

Secondly, nasal inhalation of cocaine can also lead to nonallergic rhinitis. When this happens, the victim will suffer from conditions such as stuffy nose, runny nose, unpleasant leakage of mucus down the throat, and constant sneezing. In some cases, the victim will develop other health problems. It is usually a sleep apnea, asthma, loss of a normal sense of smell, recurring middle ear infections, and a condition known as sinusitis.

Finally, nasal inhalation of cocaine can also damage the bones which form the cavity’s sidewalls. Snorting cocaine for a long period of time can degrade the bone in the cavity’s sidewalls to a point they lose their structural integrity and collapse. When this happens, they create a nasal deformity which is known as “saddle nose”.


Other Effects of Cocaine on Nose

There are other effects of cocaine on the nose. These effects are not as serious as septum perforation or “saddle nose” but they can worsen the prognosis of septum perforation treatment.

They include:

  • Chronic infections
  • Epistaxis
  • Nose whistling
  • Allergy exacerbation
  • Ansonia
  • Nasal collapse
  • Snoring
  • Perforated septum
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Social isolation



Cocaine inhalation or snorting can cause a lot of damages to the nose. The best alternative is to stay away from cocaine and undergo cocaine withdrawal. Cocaine is an addictive stimulant and a very dangerous substance, continuous use of this substance can lead to major problems such as heart problem, heart attack, or even sudden death.


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