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Fish Scale Coke

In 2022, 36 non-fatal overdose visits to the emergency department were caused by stimulants here in Sarasota County. Clean Recovery Centers has been bringing education about substance use disorders to the Gulf Coast for years, helping hundreds to find their recovery. Our unique, three-phase approach to treatment addresses mental health alongside quality addiction treatment. Our blog today is investigating fish scale coke and discussing how to identify it.

Fish Scale Coke

What Is Fish Scale Cocaine?

The name fish scale cocaine comes from the appearance of the cocaine powder. In fish scale cocaine, there is a noticeable shine, resembling the iridescent, pearly light that can be seen on fish scales. This shine has two different causes, and both can cause consequences that affect all aspects of life.

Things to Know About Fish Scale Coke

One reason fish scale cocaine has its appearance is that it is almost 100% pure. The process to make cocaine begins with the coca leaf from South America. From leaves to cocaine, the process of creating cocaine involves alkaline and acidic agents. First, the leaves are added to sodium carbonate and water to extract the cocaine alkaloids. Kerosene is then added to bind to the cocaine alkaloids then the excess water and baking soda are drained. After, acid is added and cocaine paste is left. This paste then goes to a special, hydrochloric acid (HCl) laboratory for the final steps. Acetone dissolves the cocaine base to remove any undesirable materials. HCl diluted in acetone is added to the dissolved cocaine base, causing crystallization. The leftover acetone is discarded and the cocaine HCl is dried under heat lamps. This is pure cocaine, and it has the fish scale look.

From here, cocaine would typically change hands from cartel to cartel until it got to the dealer. Throughout these stages, different cutting agents may be added to the cocaine. By the time it gets to the dealer, it is typically less than 90% pure. The dealer can then add in their own cutting agents, further reducing the purity of the cocaine. Fish scale cocaine is a batch that manages to change hands very few times, and has little to no cutting agents added.

Side Effects of Using Fish Scale Coke

Fish scale cocaine produces similar effects to regular cocaine. Some cocaine side effects include:

  • Intense burst of energy and productivity
  • Nosebleeds
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased appetite

Despite not having the presence of as many cutting agents, cocaine can still cause damage to the body. Snorting fish scale cocaine results in damage to the nasal passageway and lung infections. Injecting it can cause abscesses and infections while increasing the risk of contracting a blood-borne illness. Cocaine use also causes the blood vessels to constrict, resulting in a lack of blood flow to certain areas of the body, often the bowels.

Can You Identify Fish Scale Cocaine?

As we mentioned above, fish scale cocaine has a distinct pearl-like shine within the powder. Cutting agents will decrease how noticeable the shine is, so you will know it is not fish scale cocaine. However, there is another instance where fish scale cocaine may be cut with a life-threatening substance, which we will get into later.

Is Fish Scale Coke Different From Other Types of Cocaine?

In short, fish scale coke is essentially the same as other cocaine. The substance cocaine HCl describes all forms of powder cocaine. Fish scale coke is a term that refers strictly to the purity of the substance, but all cocaine itself is derived in the same way from the same plant. Because of its purity, fish scale coke may have a different smell or taste as it contains little to no extra substances.

The Potential Dangers of Fish Scale Cocaine

Fish Scale Coke side effectsAs we mentioned above, there is one other reason for fish scale cocaine to have its appearance. Levamisole is an antiparasitic drug used in cattle, but it has been a common cocaine cutting agent gaining popularity in recent years. The powder also has a pearly, iridescent look about it, and can mimic the purity look of fish scale cocaine. Levamisole causes complications in humans, including joint pain, reduced white blood cells, blood vessel blockages, and skin necrosis. While not often a life-threatening substance, skin infections left untreated can cause sepsis and other complications. Using cocaine laced with levamisole for long periods will result in skin damage that may be permanent if medical intervention is not sought. Let’s look at the other potential dangers of fish scale cocaine.

Risks of Overdose

There are many substances that can cause overdoses, and fish scale cocaine is no different. When too much cocaine enters the body, the central nervous system goes into overdrive. Increased body temperature, racing heartbeat, and constriction of blood vessels are symptoms of an overdose and can result in serious complications such as strokes, seizures, and heart attacks. There is no medication to reverse the effects of cocaine, and medical attention will be necessary to control the symptoms. If a fish scale cocaine overdose is ever suspected, seek medical help immediately.

Health Concerns and Risks

Besides skin infections from levamisole, other health complications can come from fish scale cocaine use. Chronic sinus infections and deterioration of the nasal cavity are common in those who snort cocaine. Heart problems including cardiomyopathy (stretching of the heart muscle) can cause the heart to beat incorrectly, leading to tachycardia, arrhythmias, and atrial fibrillation. You only have one heart, and if it becomes damaged beyond repair, the only hope to fix it is through extensive surgeries or a transplant.

Mental Health Impact

Fish scale cocaine is known for causing an abundance of dopamine within the brain. Dopamine is the reward chemical, which is why cocaine gives the person such a rush of euphoria and joy. However, when cocaine is not being used, the brain no longer produces as much dopamine for rewards like eating a good meal or having sex. Everyday activities become mundane to the brain unless cocaine is used. This results in cycles of depression, anxiety, and overall poor mental health.

Another mental health impact is the financial strain fish scale cocaine can cause. Because of its purity, fish scale cocaine tends to be very expensive. Trying to manage finances can be stressful and cause higher levels of anxiety. Coupled with trying to provide for a family can increase this stress, worsening mental health.

Developing a Cocaine Use Disorder

Cocaine use can quickly lead to dependence as the brain becomes used to having the substance. Frequently using cocaine will lead to tolerance, meaning it will take more to achieve the same effects. Those using fish scale cocaine from the beginning will find when they get a less pure batch, the effects are not as strong. This can result in using more, quickly developing into a cocaine use disorder.

Treatment Options for Cocaine Addiction in Sarasota County, FL

Fish scale cocaine can lead to dependence quickly, often before you realize it. Thankfully, there is help available to begin the journey of taking your life back. Cocaine addiction treatment is the first step to healing. Therapy, skill-building classes, and coping techniques are all part of the treatment process and will help you understand your reasons behind addiction and how to move forward in life cocaine-free. Recovery is beautiful, and all it takes is leaving cocaine where it belongs – in the dust.

If you or someone you love is managing a cocaine use disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out. Clean Recovery Centers has a full-spectrum program that also includes certified, rapid-resolution therapists at each of our locations. This specific therapy works to address and resolve past trauma to move forward in a healthy life. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to learn more about our program.

Get clean. Live clean. Stay clean.

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