Molecular model of cocaine.

Can you become addicted to cocaine after using it the first time?

No, you cannot become addicted to cocaine or any drug after using it only one time.

No, you cannot become addicted to cocaine or any drug after using it only one time. Most people who use cocaine do not develop an addiction, and most people who recently used cocaine did not have an addiction. In 2021, it was estimated that 1.4 million people (roughly 30% of people who used cocaine in the past year) met the criteria for a cocaine use disorder.

Physiological dependence is different from substance use disorder.

People can develop a physiological dependence upon cocaine if they use it repeatedly for several days or weeks in a row. Physiological dependence means that someone has developed an increased tolerance for a drug. They need to use more to get a desired effect. It also means they may experience physical withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop using a drug.

Addiction and substance use disorder

A person only meets the criteria for a substance use disorder if, over the course of several months, they continue to use a drug repeatedly despite experiencing numerous harms and negative consequences.

We need a health approach to cocaine.

People have used cocaine for hundreds of years. Learn more about how drug decriminalization and investing in health and overdose prevention centers can keep people safer.

Reviewed and updated by Jules Netherland, PhD, and Dr. Sheila P. Vakharia on 05/02/2023.

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