Coke Nail – “Handy” Little Built-In Shovel For Snorting Cocaine

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Coke Nail: The United States, for all its faults and imperfections, is still the international leader in any number of arenas. By gross domestic product, the nation’s economy is the largest in the world. It has the biggest, most advanced military of any developed nation. The U.S. also drives the global illicit-drug marketplace by, among other substances, being the chief importer and consumer of cocaine in the world.

Despite cocaine’s pop culture heyday in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when a “coke nail” was likely more socially acceptable in certain circles, it’s less prevalent now. But that comes with a caveat: cocaine use hasn’t actually declined. As Newsweek reports, cocaine use increased from 2015 to 2016 and was the second cause of overdose deaths in 2014.

Now, with the addiction of the opioid epidemic, fentanyl-laced cocaine is becoming a serious issue. Even a tiny amount of cocaine contaminated with fentanyl, scooped up in a “coke nail” is enough to be fatal.

Though the latter isn’t necessarily a national point of pride, America’s relationship with cocaine spans more than 40 years and has taken on mythic proportions, in large part because of films like “Cocaine Cowboys” and “Blow.”

Coke Nail

A “coke nail” is another, perhaps lesser known, hallmark of the cocaine subculture. Generally, a “coke nail” is a fingernail that’s substantially longer than a person’s other fingernails, most often the pinky finger, that’s used to scoop a small amount of the drug for inhalation through the nose.

“The coke nail,” according to the Urban Dictionary, “becomes the vessel as opposed to needing an item to snort a line of coke through, i.e. a straw, a rolled up bill, etcetera.”

Having a solitary fingernail that’s longer than the rest of them isn’t always a sign that someone has a cocaine habit, however. In other words, not all long fingernails are a “coke nail.”

Did “Princess Leia” Show off Her Coke Nail While Filming “Star Wars”?

Carrie Fisher, the now deceased actress, who famously played Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” trilogy movies and who succumbed to a struggle with addiction, died with multiple drugs in her system. Her autopsy confirmed cocaine as well as traces of heroin, morphine, methadone and MDMA were in her system when she died December 27th 2017.

She weighed in on her alleged “coke nail” featured in a photo of her and Harrison Ford during the making of the films.

  • “I never used my fingernail for drugs,” Fisher claimed in this tweet, “I used dollars or tiny spoons like any other former respectable drug addict.”

However, a Guardian article claims Fisher admitted doing cocaine while co-starring in the classic sci-fi epic “The Empire Strikes Back”.

Other Methods Of Cocaine Use

Of course snorting cocaine isn’t the only way users ingest the stimulant. Coke can be cooked down to liquid form and injected intravenously. It can also be sprinkled on cigarettes or in marijuana and smoked. Anyone familiar with the ’80s and ’90s crack epidemic also knows that cocaine can also be cut with baking soda and water to form small, chunky rocks that are sold for less than powder cocaine and smoked using a pipe.

Not All Longer Finger Nails Are “Coke Nails”

All that to say that the presence of one long fingernail on a person isn’t the best gauge of whether or not it’s a “coke nail.” Signs that a person might be abusing the highly addictive central nervous stimulant include some of the following:

• Increased energy, the inability to stay still or even jitteriness while experiencing a cocaine “high”
• Frequent trips to the restroom or another private place to use the drug
• Sexual arousal combined with the inability to perform sexually
• Excessive teeth grinding, running their tongue across their upper teeth or rotating the jaw back and forth
• Excessive swallowing etc, as the drug dissolves in the nasal cavity and drips down a user’s throat
• A sense of paranoia
• Swollen, red or scabby nostrils

Some musicians prefer to keep longer fingernails for picking their stringed instruments. The late Bob Ross, the beloved American painter most famous for painting “happy clouds” on his show PBS “The Joy of Painting,” kept a long pinky nail for scraping off excess paint from his canvases.


Coming down from cocaine is particularly uncomfortable, both physically and mentally. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), users often experience anxiety, depression, irritability and insomnia combined with an intense craving for more of the drug. Needless to say, this one of the reasons the stimulant is so addictive.