Plugging, or inserting drugs into the rectum, is one way that some people may abuse drugs. While it’s not one of the most popular routes of administration (compared to snorting, swallowing, or intravenous injections) it does happen more than you may realize.
While plugging is often associated with harm reduction, this method of drug use can have potentially dangerous side effects. This is especially true if a person is plugging cocaine.
Some of the most severe risks associated with plugging cocaine include:
- weight loss and malnourishment
- heart problems including aortic ruptures
- increased risk for stroke and seizures
- movement disorders including Parkinson’s disease
- decreased blood flow to the small intestine
- increased risk of overdose
Dangers And Risks Of Plugging Cocaine
Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that’s created from the leaves of coca plants.
It is sometimes used by doctors in the United States for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia during some surgeries. However, it has a high potential for abuse and potentially severe side effects. This is especially true if a person chooses to plug cocaine. When cocaine is inserted into the rectum, it can cause additional physical problems.
In addition to the severe dangers listed above, plugging cocaine may lead to potentially serious side effects, including:
- passing blood
- rectal pain
- tears in the colon
- inability to control bowel movements
- decreased blood flow to the small intestine
- damage or death of rectal tissue
There’s also an increased risk of more severe adverse reactions, including an increased risk of overdose, when plugging cocaine.
Plugging Cocaine Overdose Risk
If cocaine is abused in any way, there’s always a risk of accidental overdose. This risk may be increased if cocaine is being plugged.
Drugs taken through rectal administration can take effect faster and generally have higher bioavailability compared to drugs that are swallowed. That means a person may experience a more intense high that both occurs and fades faster than usual.
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This also means that the desired effects of the drug may wear off before the drug has totally left a person’s body, which may lead them to take more. This can contribute to a rapid overdose.
Common signs of a cocaine overdose can include:
- chest pains
- increased heart rate
- increased blood flow/high blood pressure
- high body temperature
- cardiac arrest (heart attack)
If you suspect a cocaine overdose, call 911 immediately.
Other Dangers Of Plugging Cocaine
In addition to the dangers of cocaine abuse, untreated cocaine addiction can lead to additional undesirable side effects.
Additional dangers of plugging cocaine could include:
- gastrointestinal system issues
- internal tears and ulcers
- cardiovascular effects
- weight loss that could lead to malnourishment
If you’ve seen these signs or symptoms developing in yourself or someone you know, reach out to a treatment specialist to talk about the possibility of cocaine addiction.
Side Effects Of Cocaine Use
Rectal administration of cocaine may lead to a faster onset time and/or a more intense high. Because of this, a person who has recently plugged cocaine may experience more intense side effects.
Common short-term side effects of plugging cocaine include:
- high blood pressure
- increased heart rate
- constricted blood vessels
- tremors and muscle twitches
- increased alertness
Cocaine Effects On The Brain And Body
Cocaine can produce euphoric effects by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. It works to block the reuptake of dopamine, which causes a buildup of the chemical.
Messing with the brain’s natural communication and reward systems can have long-term effects, including new or worsening mental health issues. Rectal administration can also lead to potentially severe physical effects on a person’s body.
When drugs are plugged, they’re absorbed through the lining inside the rectum. After time, this can lead to side effects like persistent diarrhea, rectal tissue damage, and poor blood circulation.
Treatment Options For Cocaine Abuse
If you or a loved one may be plugging cocaine or engaging in substance use in general, don’t put off getting help. There are several treatment options available for cocaine addiction and abuse, including both inpatient and outpatient programs.
Inpatient treatment programs are more immersive. Generally, they’re the most effective type of treatment for people who struggle with cocaine use. With this option, a person will go to a detox facility for several days, weeks, or months and stay full-time.
Alternatively, outpatient treatment programs are available. In these programs, people may visit a treatment center several times each week to receive support and resources.
Whether you decide that an inpatient treatment program or an outpatient treatment program makes the most sense for you, cocaine abuse recovery may include:
- behavioral counseling
- medication-based treatments
- group or individual therapy
- contingency management or motivational incentives
- evaluation and treatment for other mental health problems
- long-term follow-up appointments to prevent relapse
The withdrawal symptoms that a person may experience when they stop plugging cocaine can be dangerous. For this reason, it’s best to contact an addiction treatment specialist to decide on the best route to recovery.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with cocaine abuse or addiction, don’t put off getting help. Contact an AddictionResource.net treatment specialist today to find the right treatment center and program for you.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- National Institute On Drug Abuse: Advancing Addiction Science — Cocaine DrugFacts
- National Institute On Drug Abuse: Advancing Addiction Science — Drugs, Brains, And Behavior: The Science Of Addiction
- National Institute On Drug Abuse: Advancing Addiction Science — How Is Cocaine Used?
- U.S. Department Of Justice: Drug Enforcement Administration — Drugs Of Abuse
- U.S. Food And Drug Administration (FDA) — Cocaine Hydrochloride
- U.S. National Library Of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Cocaine
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health — Bottoms Up: Methamphetamine Toxicity From An Unusual Route
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health — Physiological And Pharmaceutical Considerations For Rectal Drug Formulations