In the third quarter of 2021 (July to September), 211 samples declared as cocaine were handed in for analysis at the Drug Information Centre (DIZ) in Zurich

Risk assessment

In addition to the known Side effects and the great psychological dependence potential of cocaine, the frequent occurrence of pharmacologically active extender substances, especially for regular users, means an additional health risk that is difficult to assess. These are rarely acute side effects, but primarily long-term effects. The evaluation shows that even samples with a high cocaine content often contained pharmacologically active extenders. Apart from the pharmacologically active extender, the strongly fluctuating cocaine content is an often underestimated consumption risk. The higher the cocaine content, the greater the risk of overdose. High-dose cocaine can put a heavy strain on the cardiovascular system and, under certain circumstances and physical conditions, trigger a heart attack or stroke. Information and recommendations for low-risk consumption can be found on at Cocaine safer use can be found.

Cocaine content

In the third quarter of 2021, the average cocaine content of the samples analysed in the DIZ was 81.7 % cocaine*HCl. Compared to the last quarter, the average active substance content increased by 1.4 %. The cocaine content of the samples analysed varied greatly, ranging from 33.6 % to 99.6 %.

Pharmacologically active extender

Cocaine is often a mixture of cocaine and one or more extenders. Some of these extenders are not pharmacologically active (e.g. lactose, starch, cellulose) and have no additional effects on health. However, the extenders are often chosen in such a way that a higher cocaine content is simulated and an effect enhancement and/or prolongation is induced.

In the third quarter of 2021, 33.2 % of all cocaine samples handed in for analysis at the DIZ were laced with at least one pharmacologically active substance. Most frequently, levamisole was added (in 24.2 % of the samples). Other extenders were local anaesthetics (5.7 %), caffeine (4.7 %), phenacetin (1.4 %) and paracetamol (1.4 %).

Evaluation 3rd quarter 2021


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