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Clinical researchers conducting studies on cocaine use in Canada

15 Facts And Statistics On Cocaine and Cocaine Use In Canada

Cocaine, also known by its street name “coke,” is one of the most notorious substances that lead to drug addiction

Discover the 15 most critical facts and figures about cocaine use in Canada

1. Cocaine Is Made From a South American Plant

Cocaine is an illicit drug made from cocoa leaves, a tropical shrub indigenous to South America. As part of the rich culture of the Andean nation, cocoa is widely cultivated and consumed as herbal medicine, used as a sacred element in spiritual rituals, and leveraged as energy sustenance for the working class. 

But what about cocaine use in Canada? Is it legal?  

While it’s common to see them brew and enjoy it like a slightly indulgent cup of chamomile tea, the cocoa leaf is banned in Canada. A person caught carrying cocoa leaves could be fined $1,000 or imprisoned for six months if they are first-time offenders. It could go up to seven years for more severe offences.

2. It’s a Potent Drug That Can Cause Overstimulation

Stimulants are a classification of drugs that speed up communication between the brain and the body. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that spikes a person’s energy levels, confidence, and alertness. Abusing cocaine can cause overstimulation, potentially leading to aggression, anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, or seizures.

3. Cocaine Use in Canada Is the Second Highest in the World

The latest Global Drug Survey reveals that Canada ranks second worldwide for cocaine use, next to Scotland. 

4. It’s Sold Cheap in Canada

The low price point can be considered one of the primary drivers of cocaine use in Canada. Despite being categorically known as the most expensive illicit substance across the world, cocaine only costs $85 per gram in the country compared to the global average of $120. 

5. Cocaine Is a Schedule-I Drug

Cocaine use in Canada is illegal. In fact, it’s a Schedule-I drug under the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. 

This means that mere possession of this illicit substance can result in seven years of jail time, while trafficking or manufacturing it can lead to life imprisonment.

6. Cocaine Is the Third Most Commonly Detected Illegal Drug in Impaired Driving Incidents in Canada

Trends and patterns in drug-impaired driving reports show that cocaine is the third most prevalent drug found in drivers involved in accidents.

7. Driving Under the Influence of Cocaine Can Result in Imprisonment

Driving under the influence of cocaine and refusing to undergo mandatory drug tests required by police officers is considered a grave criminal offence. Penalties for impaired driving vary, but it can lead to a minimum fine of $1,000 and a maximum jail time of ten years.

A collision between two cars because of drugged driving

8. Cocaine Comes in Different Forms

This powerful stimulant—which is sometimes used as an anesthetic in some ear, eye, and throat surgeries—comes in different forms: powder, freebase, and crack.

  • Powder

Powder cocaine is a white, fine powder that can be snorted, rubbed into the gums, or consumed intravenously. Street dealers are known to dupe buyers by mixing powder cocaine with cornstarch, sugar, or talc. 

In some cases, it’s also mixed with other addictive substances, including amphetamines and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which can lead to fatal drug overdoses. 

  • Freebase

Freebase cocaine is manufactured by dissolving cocaine powder in water and ammonia to remove or “free” the “base” or hydrochloric acid from the cocaine. Once removed, it turns into a solid, crystallized rock of purified, potent cocaine.

However, the process of making freebase is flammable and has caused numerous explosive disasters. 

  • Crack

To reduce the danger of smoking freebase, street chemists developed crack. It’s made by cooking it with baking soda that crackles when heated, thus the name. 

Crack cocaine comes in the form of white or brown pellets called “rocks” that can be smoked.  

9. Cocaine Is One of the Most Commonly Abused Drugs in Canada

According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, cocaine is one of the most commonly abused substances in the country, along with alcohol and cannabis. Approximately two percent of Canadians consume cocaine in some form accounting for 49% of the total number of illegal drug use. 

10. In 2021, More Than Half of Stimulant Toxicity Deaths in Canada Involved Cocaine

The number of stimulant toxicity deaths in Canada in 2021 was high—and 62% of them involved cocaine.

11. The Carbon Footprint of 1 Kilogram of Cocaine Is 30X Greater Than That of Cocoa Beans

The environmental impact of producing cocaine is greater than growing cocoa beans. The production and transit of this illicit drug are taking a toll on our natural resources contributing to 

deforestation, soil degradation, pollution, and the destruction of freshwater and estuary ecosystems.

12. Cocaine Users Have a Higher Risk of Contracting HIV/Aids and Hepatitis

Studies reveal that cocaine use accelerates HIV infection by damaging immune cell function and promoting the spread of the HIV virus. Research also suggests that individuals with HIV and cocaine addiction are also more vulnerable to contracting other disease-causing viruses, such as hepatitis C, a virus that impairs healthy liver function.

13. Cocaine Was The First Local Anesthetic

Modern-day anesthesia is a byproduct of cocaine. After hearing it from Sigmund Freud, Carl Koller, an ophthalmologist from Vienna, Austria, first used it in 1884. Koller performed a surgical operation by putting a cocaine solution in the cornea, producing insensibility.

14. Sigmund Freud Stopped Advocating For Cocaine’s Medical Benefits Due To Side Effects

Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud was one of the earliest advocates of cocaine use in the 1880s. But he stopped immediately after his friend, Ernst von Fleischl-Marxow, developed cocaine addiction. 

15. Alcohol, Opioids, and Cocaine Use in Canada Caused an Increase in the Number of Hospital Stays During the Pandemic 

There were approximately 81,000 recorded hospital stays in Canada between March and September 2020 because of the harm caused by alcohol, opioids, cannabis, and stimulants such as cocaine. This number showed a 4,000 increase in stays compared to the previous year.

a person saying no to a baggy of cocaine

Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Freedom

In response to problematic cocaine use in Canada, Freedom From Addiction offers an intensive, evidence-based, and individualized approach to treating specific substance use disorders. Our Cocaine Addiction Treatment Program includes:

For more information about our drug addiction treatments, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. A member of our team will get back to you shortly. 


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