A man who snorted cocaine cutting agents

Cocaine remains the second most popular illicit drug in the United States, behind only marijuana. (1) While the average purity levels of street cocaine in the United States increased in the year 2016, it still remained only about 62% pure. (2)

By the time cocaine reaches the average customer, it has been cut with various substances in order to increase profit margins.

Here we go over some of the cutting agents found in cocaine that may shock you.

What is cocaine?

Cocaine is an alkaloid extracted from coca shrubs indigenous to South America that has a long history of both medical and recreational use. Cocaine is used medically for its local anesthetic properties, and recreationally for its intense euphoric and stimulant high in which it produces when insufflated or injected. Street cocaine typically comes in two forms: powder cocaine, and crack cocaine. (3)

What are the most common cocaine cutting agents?

1) Boric Acid

Boric acid is used for various industrial reasons, such as insecticide, weatherproofing, and as aA man is about to ingest a cocaine cutting agent fireproofing fabric. It is a common agent for cutting cocaine due to its similar appearance.

2) Laxatives

Laxatives can be commonly found laced in cocaine, mainly due to their similar appearance to the drug. Many long-time users will actually incorrectly attribute cocaine use to causing them to need to use the restroom, when in reality it is the cutting agent.

3) Diltiazem

Diltiazem is used for the treatment of various heart conditions, such as high blood pressure and angina. The combination of diltiazem and cocaine can be quite dangerous due to their effects on the heart.

4) Mannitol

Mannitol is a medication used as a diuretic and as an aid for testing kidneys. It is commonly used to cut cocaine due to its ability to keep cocaine a powder and stop it from caking up.

5) Caffeine

Caffeine is a mild stimulant that is found in many of the most common beverages around the world, including coffee, tea, and soft drinks. Caffeine is also used in some medications. Caffeine is occasionally used as a cocaine cutting agent, likely due to its mild stimulant nature and availability.

6) Benzocaine

Benzocaine is a local anesthetic that is used in various creams, ointments, and lotions. Benzocaine is likely used to cut cocaine due to its similar ability to act as a local anesthetic.

7) Creatine

Creatine is a common supplement taken by those who partake in bodybuilding, and is commonly available in health and gym stores. Creatine is also naturally found in the human body. Its reason for being used as a cutting agent in cocaine is likely due to it having a similar appearance to cocaine.

8) Diltiazem

Diltiazem is a medicine used for the treatment of various heart conditions, such as high blood pressure and chest pain. Diltiazem is dangerous for those who do not require it, and the reason for its use as a cocaine cutting agent is not well understood.

9) Dimethylterephthalate

Dimethylterephthalate is a chemical that is used commonly in the production of plastic sheets and films. Dimethylterephthalate is not meant for human consumption. It is currently unclear if dimethylterephthalate is being put in cocaine deliberately or if it is leeching from the bags in which it is transported in.

10) Lidocaine

Lidocaine is another local anesthetic that is commonly used in surgery and in certain ointments, creams, and gels. Lidocaine shares similar local anesthetic properties with cocaine, which is likely the reason why it is used as a cutting agent.

11) Hydroxyzine

Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine that is commonly used as a tranquilizer in veterinarian medicine.  The reason for it being used as a cocaine cutting agent is currently unknown.

12) Various sugars

Various sugars are commonly found to be used as cocaine cutting agents. These include the sugars glucose, lactose, dextrose, sorbitol, and inositol. The reason for their use as cocaine cutting agents is likely due to their ready availability and similar appearance.

13) Phenacetin

Phenacetin is a painkiller similar to acetaminophen that is commonly found as a cutting agent in cocaine due to its similar appearance. Phenacetin is believed to be a carcinogen and only adds to the dangers of cocaine. (4)

True Recovery

14) Fentanyl

Fentanyl is responsible for the explosion in drug overdose deaths in the United States. While most of these are related to the Opioid Epidemic, cocaine laced with fentanyl has been reported countless times. This has led to an increase in cocaine overdose deaths in the last few years. (5)

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2016/NSDUH-DetTabs-2016.pdf
  2. https://ndews.umd.edu/sites/ndews.umd.edu/files/dea-2016-national-drug-price-purity-data.pdf
  3. https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/cocaine
  4. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/8040690.stm
  5. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/fentanyl-cocaine-how-contamination-happens-735155/