Safer ways to use powder cocaine

We recognise that some ways of using powdered cocaine carry less risk than others. This information can help you reduce harm.

How to reduce harm when using powder cocaine 

Using cocaine will always carry risk but you can reduce harm by snorting it or putting up your bum, instead of injecting.

Here are some other methods you could try.

Snorting (sniffing) it

To snort cocaine:

  1. Roll up a piece of paper or card into a straw
  2. Put a small amount of cocaine onto a smooth, clean surface
  3. Chop it with a clean razor blade or knife to get rid of any lumps
  4. Use the razor blade or knife to make a short line of cocaine
  5. Put one end of the straw into your nose then run the other end along the line and sniff the cocaine in one go

Things to bear in mind

  • Over time snorting cocaine can damage the inside of your nose. Using a saline nasal spray (available from pharmacies) after snorting can help you avoid this

  • Use your own straw to help prevent the spread of BBVs like hep B, hep C and HIV.  You can get clean equipment from any substance use service and many pharmacies

Putting it up your bum

The inside of your bum (anus) has a good blood supply. That means anything you put up there gets into your bloodstream quickly.

To take cocaine via your bum:

  1. Get it ready in the barrel as though you were going to inject
  2. Take the needle off 
  3. Lie on your side and apply lubricant, as this will help to reduce the risk of tears
  4. Put the tip of the barrel about an inch into your bum and push the plunger - you’re aiming for just inside the rim 
  5. Remove the barrel and stay lying down for at least 30 seconds 
  6. Wash your hands with soap and water

Having a bathroom nearby may be helpful in case you need the toilet.  

Need more advice?

For more advice on less risky, safer ways to use cocaine or other drugs, you can visit our substance glossary, talk to us confidentially online or get in touch with one of our services in England and Scotland.