These days, it seems like cocaine is everywhere. You see it in movies, hear about it in music and read about it in the papers. Cocaine is seemingly popular among celebrities and college students alike, because its energizing and euphoric effects appeal to a wide variety of people. However, behind the glitz and glamor, cocaine is a highly addictive drug. The dangers are often downplayed, but even causal use can quickly turn into a serious problem.

Once someone develops an addiction to cocaine, everything else in life takes a back seat. The short but intense high creates strong cravings that are difficult to ignore, often leading to physical and psychological dependence. Stopping can seem impossible at times, but the licensed specialists at NorthStar Transitions in Boulder, Colorado, can help.

We provide substance abuse treatment for men and women who are struggling with addiction to cocaine, alcohol and other substances. With a full continuum of care that provides support at each stage of the recovery process, our goal is to help individuals achieve the sober, healthy lifestyle they’ve always wanted.


Cocaine is a stimulant produced from the leaves of the coca plant. When snorted, smoked or injected, it makes users feel euphoric, energetic, confident, mentally alert and talkative. It also temporarily decreases the need for sleep or food. Cocaine’s effects are short-lived, so individuals frequently take more to maintain or extend their high.

Cocaine has a long history of both medicinal and recreational use. Before its addictive properties were known, it was considered a “miracle drug” and sold as a cure-all — cocaine could be found in toothache drops, lozenges and even beverages. But once its potential for abuse and dependency became clear, authorities began to take action against unregulated cocaine use and outlawed the drug in 1914. Despite this, it has remained popular throughout the decades, with an even more addictive form emerging in the 1980s: crack cocaine.


Chemically, crack and cocaine are nearly identical — they are two sides of the same coin. Both are derived from the coca plant and produce similar effects. The difference lies in the form it takes: powdered cocaine is a salt (cocaine hydrochloride) that breaks down when vaporized and is much better suited to snorting or injection, while crack is a base (cocaine freebase) with a much lower melting temperature that allows it to be smoked.

Compared to other routes of administration, smoking crack cocaine facilitates a more potent and faster-acting high. The effects take hold almost immediately and peak within three to five minutes. However, this rapid onset also wears off quickly, making it likelier to be abused. Crack cocaine is also considered more harmful to the body, particularly the heart, throat and lungs. But no matter which form of cocaine is used, both can lead to powerful cravings, addiction and dangerous side effects.

Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine works directly on the central nervous system to create pleasurable feelings of euphoria, increased energy and mental alertness. As these effects fade, individuals will often take more of the drug to maintain their high and avoid coming down. This creates a cycle of abuse that can quickly lead to addiction. According to the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), cocaine abuse disorder may be present if you or a loved one exhibits two or more of the following signs:

  • Cocaine is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than was intended
  • Unsuccessful efforts to stop, cut down or control cocaine use
  • A large amount of time is spent obtaining and using cocaine or recovering its effects
  • Cravings or strong desires to use cocaine are almost impossible to ignore
  • Cocaine use results in an inability to fulfill major obligations at work, school or home
  • Ongoing cocaine use despite persistent social or interpersonal problems
  • Recurrent cocaine use in inappropriate or dangerous situations
  • Cocaine use continues despite persistent physical, mental or emotional problems
  • High tolerance for cocaine use
  • Experience physical withdrawals from lack of cocaine use

If you or a loved one suffers from a cocaine use disorder, NorthStar Transitions can help! Please click HERE to verify your insurance and an admission representative will contact you within 24 hours to explore the available treatment options and talk about your coverage.

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Prior Treatment


At NorthStar Transitions, we help men and women achieve lasting recovery from cocaine, alcohol and other substances. We know that drug dependency can wreak havoc on an individual’s mental, physical and emotional health, so we address every aspect of our clients’ addiction to give them the best chance at lifelong sobriety. Throughout the entire treatment process, we utilize a number of evidence-based techniques, such as:

Most individuals spend an average of four to six months in our continuum of care, starting with day treatment (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP), depending on their needs. Treatment timelines may vary from person to person. We join together small groups of clients for therapy, life skills training and more. We also treat addiction as a family disease and provide support for clients and their loved ones.


At NorthStar Transitions, we believe that alcohol and drug testing is an important component of the recovery process that should be performed at all levels of care. At the beginning of treatment, it helps identify what substances are present in the body and helps ensure an effective detox. Later, it helps individuals stay accountable for their sobriety.

Regular monitoring also lets us know if treatment is working. If a client relapses, it may indicate an unaddressed need or factor that’s undermining the healing process. It tells us that something needs to change to get them back on the road to recovery.


Alcohol and drug testing is an important component of treatment and should be performed  at all levels of care.

If you or a loved one suffers from a cocaine use disorder, NorthStar Transitions can help! Please click HERE to verify your insurance and an admission representative will contact you within 24 hours to counsel you on the available treatment options and insurance coverage.

Healing Starts Today

At NorthStar Transitions, we know that addiction can keep people from living their best lives. If you or a loved one is struggling with cocaine, alcohol or another substance, we provide the support you need to achieve and maintain lifelong sobriety. To learn more about our treatment options in Boulder, Colorado, click here to get in touch or call us today at 866-407-2240.

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