Drug and Alcohol
Detox Center
113 E. 60 St.
New York NY 10022
Ask a question info@ascendantny.com
Admissions (917)779-8448
Back to all blog posts

Coke Nose: Side-Effects, How To Spot It, & What To Do If You Or A Loved One Is Struggling With An Addiction

July 3, 2022

Cocaine is an incredibly powerful drug that is not only highly addictive but has serious side effects both physically and psychologically on a person suffering from an addiction to cocaine. Cocaine is a stimulant drug that is made from the leaves of a plant native to South America called the coca plant.

Recreational use of cocaine is illegal, so it is referred to as a street drug. Cocaine is generally a white crystal powder, but can also come in a crystallized form called crack cocaine. Cocaine is often mixed with other drugs or white powders to increase profits for the drug dealer. A white powder like talcum powder, flour, or cornstarch is very popular.

Some dealers may mix their cocaine with other stimulants or synthetic opioids. It is very common for cocaine to have fentanyl added to it. Although there are many different ways to consume cocaine such as intravenously, or smoked, snorting it is the most popular method of consumption.

As you can imagine, snorting a crystallized, fine powder into the nose over and over again can cause some serious damage to the person using the drug. This is when something called “coke nose” can occur. Coke nose is a sign of a larger addiction to cocaine, and it is a symbol that cocaine usage is affecting the person’s physical health and likely their psychological and emotional health.

Please read on to find out more about coke nose, how to spot coke nose, and what to do if you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to cocaine.

What Is Coke Nose?: How To Spot Coke Nose

As stated earlier, cocaine can be consumed by snorting the powder through the nose. This is how many people choose to get high on cocaine. However, this method of consumption can cause some serious problems physically. The most common occurrence because of snorting cocaine is coke nose.

Coke nose is the name of the damage done to the nasal passages and nose caused by long-term cocaine consumption through snorting. Coke nose occurs because snorting cocaine can constrict or close blood vessels. So when the cocaine is snorted in through the nose, it can cause the blood vessels within the nasal passage to constrict or close. Over time, chronic usage of cocaine can cause a prolonged constriction of the blood vessels within the nasal passage lining. This is serious, dangerous, and has extreme consequences on the rest of the nose and nasal passages.

Prolonged constriction of the blood vessels in the nasal passage can cause tissue death within the nasal passages. Tissue death can result in sores that line the nasal passages and in the septum. These sores can cause perforations in the septum, as well as put the individual at a greater risk of contracting an infection in their nose or nasal passages.

Many times this tissue death and the sores can cause the cartilage that supports the nose to break down, causing disfigurement of the nose. Scarring can also occur. Eventually, the nose cannot support itself anymore and it collapses within itself. 

The deformities that are caused by chronic and lengthy cocaine use are fairly varied but typically have the same basic appearance. The nose appears to collapse in upon itself, due to the loss of cartilage as well as the tissue desk. Cocaine nose does not look too scary from the outside and sort of appears as a smushed nose, but on the inside, the lining of the nasal passages, the nasal passages themselves, septum, sinuses, and throat are all seriously affected by coke nose.

The easiest way to spot and identify a coke nose is by its telltale smushed appearance. Coke nose is characterized because it appears like the nose has been smashed in towards the face. So instead of the nose coming to a point near the septum, the nose is flat against the skin or it does not protrude as it should.

Side-Effects & Risks Of Coke Addiction & Coke Nose

Coke nose is a very serious side effect of cocaine usage, and therefore it needs to be treated as such. Not only is coke nose considered a cosmetic issue, but it can cause serious issues with breathing. Coke nose is known to cause problems with how air is humidified as it goes through the trachea and into the lungs

The issue is, that the internal damages to the natural processes of breathing are permanent. The news can be restricted through cosmetic surgery, but that does not always mean that the issues caused by the coke nose will be fixed. 

Most of the issues caused by coke nose are caused by long-term cocaine usage, typically seen in extreme addicts. However, cocaine can cause damage to a person’s nose and nasal passages very quickly and easily. A few uses can cause a lot of damage without the user even realizing it.

Short-term cocaine use is often characterized by runny noses, nosebleeds, sneezing, nasal congestion, and fidgeting with the nose or nasal passages. Many people who use cocaine will also develop scabs in and around their nose or nostrils, experience difficulty breathing, or experience an increased number of sinus infections.

Although these are not signs of coke nose, they are signs that the cocaine use is reaching a point where their nose is struggling to keep up with the amount of cocaine being used. Over a long time with chronic and extreme cocaine usage, these short-term symptoms can develop into a coke nose and permanently damage the person’s nose and nasal passages.

In addition, the nose, throat, and ears are all connected within the body. Damage that is done to the nose has a ripple effect on the ears and throats’ ability to do their jobs properly as well. 

Coke nose can also cause some serious self-esteem issues. Even as a person is recovering from their addiction to cocaine, looking in the mirror every day and seeing the physical deformity caused by their addiction to a drug may be a serious psychological trigger.

Triggers are images, sounds, environments, people, or other sensory inputs that cause an individual to think about an event or time of their life that had an impact on them. Many people have triggers associated with traumatic events in their life. Drug use and drug addiction are often considered a traumatic event in many people’s lives because it takes such an emotional, psychological, and physical toll on the individual and their life.

When a person is in recovery, they must avoid the triggers that cause them to think about their addiction and drug use. This can help them avoid relapsing and prevent them from turning to drugs again.

However, if an individual is looking in the mirror every morning and seeing the results of their Addiction on their face as a physical deformity, they may feel extremely self-conscious, embarrassed, ashamed, and triggered by this image. People must avoid triggers, but how can a person avoid their face?

Therefore, individuals suffering from the side effects of long-term and chronic cocaine usage and who have the physical deformity of a coke nose may feel drawn towards using cocaine again to cope with feelings of embarrassment or humiliation.

This is not to say that every person with a coke nose will relapse and cannot get sober, but it can be a huge roadblock in achieving the satisfaction that they wish to have with their life. Sobriety and recovery is a very long and complicated road for many people who have struggled with addiction in their life, and often memories of their past mistakes and addictions can be difficult to manage. 

What To Do If You Or A Loved One Has Coke Nose

If you believe that a loved one has a coke nose, the most important thing to do is discuss your concerns with them. They may feel like they are struggling and they don’t know where to turn or they do not know who they can trust. Be a safe space and ask them if they are struggling with addiction.

If you have a coke nose as a result of cocaine addiction or chronic usage, the first step towards getting out of this time of your life is to find reliable resources. Talk to your friends and family and build a social circle that can give you the morale boost you need to take these scary and important steps towards a better life.

The best way to beat addiction and live your life healthy and happy is to go to a professional care facility and detox in a safe and medically supervised environment. You deserve the opportunity to get well. Reach out to a top drug detox facility to get on the path to a better tomorrow today.