How Much Coke Is Bad for Me?
Disclaimer: Some of you might remember this column from a few years back when we still lived at Viceland. Unfortunately, when we moved to VICE.com it disappeared, so now we've dug it up. Enjoy.
Hey, you rapidly decaying protoplasmic sacks of calcium and shit, my name is Dr. Mona Moore. Obviously, that is not my real name, but I am a real doctor. Don't feel bad for me, though, because it means I will always have a job, an apartment ten times bigger than yours, and the right to tell you what to do simply because I will always know better. Enjoy my column!
BOLLOCKS TO THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH - HOW MUCH COKE IS BAD FOR ME?
A dentist friend treated a woman who had done so much cocaine it had rotted a hole between her nose and mouth, as well as perforating her septum. That shits on Daniella Westbrook. This woman had a 1" by .5" wide black rancid pit on the roof of her mouth, through which her rotting nose would drip. Her mouth was her brain’s own colostomy bag.
She was in her 40s and had been using cocaine every day for 18 months, which doesn’t actually seem like long enough to have hollowed her skull. They repaired it using a chunk of her tongue, which they flapped over and sewed to her palette. She also had damage to her lateral nasal walls, which will lead to what is called saddle nose deformity. In other words, her nose will fall in on her face, that is unless she stays off the marching powder.
If this has made you delete your dealer's number and stick your fingers up your nose to test the integrity of that delicate divider, then don’t worry, you’ll get a few warning shots before you wake up with the better part of your nasal cavity in a bloody lump on the pillow. First your nose will feel itchy, then you’ll start getting great crusty goliaths of scabs up there irresistible to pick, then recurrent nose bleeds—particularly in the morning, maybe some facial pain caused by blocked sinuses and eventually some bits begin to fall out, long before which you should have just stopped taking the shit.
Most people in London seem to take cocaine and so I guess many of you do too, and everyone asks the same question: How much do I have to take before the 30-minute rave in my heart will actually kill me?
There isn’t an answer unfortunately. You could piss ten grams for breakfast and have a rolled note permanently up one nostril, or be a class A virgin and choke on your debut line. There is about 50 milligrams in an average line. People have been known to die after snorting 25 milligrams. Other people can have supposedly fatal levels in their blood (above 2 milligrams per liter) and only just break a sweat. It depends on medical history, tolerance, purity of cocaine, and luck. Each line of coke could theoretically cut off the blood supply to your heart, but usually it doesn’t.
Heart attacks aren’t fun. Patients describe it like having an elephant sit on you, or someone tightening an iron belt around your chest until the pain is excruciating. Except if you’re on coke, you might not feel anything except a bit of chest pain. Many serious coke users have scars in their heart from previous heart muscle damage and they never felt a thing.
I had a 26-year-old medical student come into the ER with chest pain after injecting cocaine with needles he took from the hospital. He was shitting himself sufficiently to confess his coke use, which would land him in whole worlds of trouble. But if you don’t tell the doctor, the drugs to treat a normal heart attack could make you worse or kill you.
Now if you’re looking for reassurance this probably won’t make you feel any better. Of the 800,000 coke users in England, where I'm from, about 800 a year need treatment. About 200 of those die. One in four isn’t a great success rate, I admit, but when your heart fails you’re pretty fucked.
So, how much coke is too much? Sorry, there’s only one way you’ll find that out. But in the same way that drinking until you bleed from the ass is like an atomic bomb to your innards, so is snorting too much coke. Even if it doesn’t kill you, with enough dedication you’ll get a uni-nostril and a useless dick. But, whoever actually stops using? Annually? It tends to be just that unlucky 200, I'm afraid.