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How Much Cocaine Does It Take to Overdose?

You may wonder how dangerous taking cocaine can be. Can a cocaine addiction develop? Is the drug truly lethal? And how much cocaine does it take to overdose?

Understanding what it is and how it affects the body may provide some insight.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is one of the most infamous drugs in the world. Obtained from the leaves of two species of the Coca plant – native to South America – it is snorted in a powder form through the nose, rubbed into gums, or dissolved and injected.

Dopamine levels increase through cocaine use, causing more energy, increased social output, and euphoria. Cocaine also prevents dopamine from being recycled back into the cell that released it, causing a flood of dopamine in the reward circuit and a build-up of cocaine in between nerve cells. This reinforces drug-taking behavior.

The drug increases a person’s body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate making it always potentially lethal as all these changes strain the cardiovascular system. It could lead to a stroke, cardiac arrest, heart attack, and seizures, regardless of health and age, and even to someone taking it for the first time.

The drug is even more lethal when combined with other adulterants or drugs, which is a very common. Baking powder, synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and heroin mixed with cocaine make it a lethal concoction. Mixing cocaine with alcohol produces a compound called cocaethylene which strengthens the effects of cocaine, greatly increasing the chances of overdose and even death.

While injected cocaine is more addictive and can lead to more severe behavioral consequences, smoking cocaine causes a shorter and more intense high. This leads to binge use of the drug, and a greater likelihood of overdose. Crack cocaine produces a high that is over quickly while increasing the risk of other adverse side effects.

The repeated use of cocaine can change your brain structure and lead to addiction, as it did to 1.3 million people in the United States in 2020.

Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine Overdose

When the amount of cocaine in your body reaches toxic levels and essentially poisons them, a cocaine overdose occurs. The danger of cocaine overdose is that it is caused by a combination of factors – some of which are in your control, but others are not.

Cocaine overdoses are emergencies and require immediate medical attention. Most cocaine overdoses involve the heart as the drug puts such immense strain and stress on the cardiovascular system – it may not be clear as to whether an overdose will be fatal or not, but around 14 000 people suffered cocaine overdose-related deaths in 2018.

Those who have experienced recovery from cocaine use and have relapsed are at an increased risk of overdose. After stopping, they can misjudge their tolerance and, by returning to the same dose they took before, shock the body resulting in a cocaine overdose.

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

Symptoms may take physical or psychological forms and vary depending on, among other factors, the amount of the drug consumed.

Physical symptoms

Overdose can make someone experience trouble breathing, severe chest pain, high blood pressure, nausea, or vomiting. They may also have a stroke, seizures, tremors, irregular heart rhythm, or a heart attack. High body temperature, confusion, and sweating are common too.

Psychological Symptoms

The psychological cocaine overdose symptoms include extreme anxiety or agitation. A person may panic as they experience hallucinations, paranoia, and delirium.

How Much Cocaine Does It Take to Overdose?

How Much Cocaine Does It Take to Overdose?

You may think that just a small amount of cocaine or the first time of taking it is safe – this is not the case.

DOSAGE and Tolerance

A person’s history with cocaine determines their tolerance, and this ability to absorb cocaine and tolerate it varies from person to person. Someone can overdose after a small dose – taking one gram of cocaine – while another person could snort much more and manage to survive. There is no way to tell how the dosage will affect you, as many factors play a role – including size, body weight, age, sex, and drug use history.

Unlike many other drugs, cocaine use comes with a unique effect where repeated doses will build on one another, meaning that the effect of a single line of cocaine may last ninety minutes but multiplies exponentially when someone repeats intake. These drug properties give rise to longer-lasting effects as well as an increased risk of overdose.


Another reason why someone may overdose with their first – and small amount – of cocaine is because of the common cutting agents. When mixed with other substances to cut costs and enhance effects, a fatal overdose is more likely. It is difficult even for experienced users to notice when the drug contains other substances until it is too late.

Where Can I Find Treatment for Cocaine Addiction and Abuse?

Where Can I Find Treatment for Cocaine Addiction and Abuse?

However deep into cocaine addiction or abuse you or a loved one may be, NP Addiction Clinic can help.

We know that addiction to stimulants such as cocaine can be difficult to overcome. That is why our medically assisted detox can help manage your withdrawal symptoms, and our wide range of treatment options can help you fight the mental health side of addiction. As well as cognitive behavioral therapy, there is an emphasis on personal growth through 12-step groups as well as creative and recreational therapies.

NP Addiction Clinic tailors your individualized addiction treatment program so that it addresses your physical, mental, and emotional needs. This gives the best chance of recovery – contact us for help today to start the journey away from potential overdose and towards long-term recovery and health.

Begin the first day of the rest of your life

To find out more contact our team


Kim L. Buckner


As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. She says she is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns


Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine