Medical Specialty >> Cardiology

Doctors Lounge - Cardiology Answers

Back to Cardiology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site. 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Heart Failure

Question: Will swallowing 20 grams of cocaine be lethal?

 Davidx - Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:19 am

I've had several suicide attempts in the past that were obviously unsuccessfull, I'm extrememly mentally ill and my parents have recently past away leaving me with my grandmother who is very old, I must die before she does so my next attempt will be to swallow the 20 grams of cocaine in a hotel room where there is no medical assistance. I'd just like to get a professional opinion as to how certain this is... once before i was admitted to hospital and my heart stopped three times from cocaine overdose and I was in ICU for 3 days. Will 20 grams definately kill me? how painfull will it be etc?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:01 pm

User avatar Hello -- Cocaine is highly unpredictable, which means, from a medical point of view it is impossible to tell you whether or not this attempt would be certain to succeed. What you must also understand, however, is that we are sworn to keep people well and work to preserve lives, not end them. We are not in the business of giving advice on how to commit suicide. That said, it's clear you are deeply distraught and acknowlege mental illness. This is a serious-enough situation and first off I must tell you, for your own welfare (assuming you were to go through with this attempt) that because of the unpredictability of cocaine effect on any given individual, this amount might only achieve for you what's happened with previous attempts, it may not even get you to that point, or it could, worst case, cause a sufficiently prolonged heart stoppage to leave you alive but in a brain-damaged, perhaps vegetative, state. You could well wind up conscious and aware but unable to communicate or otherwise express your feelings or wishes. This obviously is a non-starter for someone seeking to escape life's problems via suicide. The risk of failure or worse is far too great. The very fact you have been successfully resucitated in the past proves the current idea has a great chance of not only failing but of possibly making your situation infinitely worse. As an alternative I'd suggest a deal wherein you agree to a new arrangement for treatment of your mental illness (I assume you've been through therapy and other disciplines already and haven't had much success). The fact that it's called mental illness implies the potential for a cure, which could result in a happy or at least satisfactory life. I would strongly urge you to engage with us here in some steps toward finding a better solution to the pain you're feeling right now. The cocaine approach really is a wildly unpredictable one and as I said earlier, could result in a situation far worse than you can even imagine. Please do us the kindness of talking to us here about what's been tried in the past and what seems to be the central mental issue, given you have been through enough real-life stressors to make you feel despondent and hopeless recently anyway. What you must realize is that we all have things like this we deal with. Taking your own life doesn't make the world a better place. This is your challenge. I hope you'll take it up and at least consider the potential horrors of a failed cocaine overdose.

My best to you. Please stay in touch here. We do this work for a reason. Right now you are the reason.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us