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Cocaine Bear: Let’s Talk About It


In 2022, actress and filmmaker Elizabeth Banks released a film that left audiences both intrigued, humored, and flat-out confused. The plotline sounds so bizarre and outlandish that many assumed it was factiously constructed in a writer’s room. This could not be farther from the truth. Yes, we are talking about the movie Cocaine Bear and the bizarre situation that inspired its production. Banyan Treatment Centers Palm Springs is here to go over the facts regarding this mind-boggling case, how the drug can affect these animals, and what actually happened to the bear in question.

How Long Did Cocaine Bear Live?

The life of the infamous “Cocaine Bear” was tragically brief. The bear died suddenly in 1985 after taking a substantial amount of cocaine dropped from an airplane. The potent stimulant turned out to be fatal, resulting in an overdose and the bear's premature death. Although unusual and tragic, this incident has evolved into a curious footnote in the history of true crime tales, acting as the basis for numerous works of fiction and entertainment. Despite the bear's brief existence, its tale has had a profound impact on popular culture.

How Does Cocaine Affect Bears?

Cocaine, a potent central nervous system stimulant, can have severe and often fatal effects on bears, much like it does in humans. When ingested, it leads to a range of physiological and behavioral changes that can be extremely dangerous for these animals.

The effects of cocaine on bears include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Agitation
  • Elevated heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Disorientation

Given the significant dangers posed by these cocaine bear effects, it is crucial to prevent any potential exposure to the substance and to prioritize conservation efforts to protect these magnificent creatures from harm.

What Does PETA Say About Cocaine Bear?

Elizabeth Banks was praised by PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, for her considerate attitude to the production of Cocaine Bear. Banks received a "Beary Best" Award from the group for choosing to use CGI and a human "bear performer" rather than putting real bears through stressful and sometimes hazardous situations on set. According to Lisa Lange, Senior Vice President of PETA, the film's hyper-realistic portrayal proved that technology, not using animals for entertainment, was where filmmaking was headed. PETA praised Banks for realizing that using a live bear in her dark comedy would not have been amusing, highlighting the significance of treating animals with compassion in the film business.1

Investigations conducted by PETA and law enforcement agencies into the procedures of animal suppliers to the film and television industries have shown worrisome behaviors, such as the mistreatment and abuse of animals. In particular, a variety of brutal practices were used on bears, including separating them from their moms too soon, which caused them to suffer long-term psychological discomfort. Handlers would frequently use severe techniques such as food deprivation, beatings, electric shocks, and chaining to break the bears' spirits, enforce obedience, and make them act as instructed. These disclosures emphasized how important it was for Banks to choose humane substitutes when making Cocaine Bear.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment at Our Palm Springs Rehab

We are committed to offering thorough and sympathetic care for those battling with cocaine addiction at our rehab in California. To ensure a comprehensive approach to recovery, our skilled team of specialists blends evidence-based therapies with individualized treatment levels. We enable individuals to overcome the difficulties of addiction and lay the groundwork for a healthier, drug-free future by providing a nurturing and supportive environment. We are dedicated to assisting our customers in achieving long-lasting sobriety by providing a variety of treatment modalities, educational materials, and aftercare support. Every person has the capacity for change, and we at our California rehab center are prepared to walk this road to recovery with you.

Call our Southern California rehab at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our cocaine addiction treatment program and all that it involves.


  1. PETA - Two Paws Up: Elizabeth Banks Nabs PETA Award for Cocaine Bear
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Cocaine Bear: Let’s Talk About It
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