Health Risks of Crack Cocaine Abuse

Crack cocaine is the rock form of cocaine, a chemical substance derived from the coca plant in a powdered form. It’s made by combining powdered cocaine with water and baking soda. The effects of the drug are instantaneous, though they last for a short amount of time (10-20 minutes, in most cases). This frequently leads to a dangerous cycle of bingeing, which can also lead to rapid addiction.

Crack derived its name from the crackling sound that it makes when heated – those who use crack cocaine will typically smoke the substance – however it can also be taken intravenously. Crack is more concentrated than cocaine in its purest form, and because of this, the risk of dependency is extremely high. The National Institute on Drug Abuse noted that although crack and cocaine are derived from the same base substance, crack produces a much more intense high, based on how it is taken.

Health Risks of Crack Cocaine Abuse

Where Does Crack Cocaine Come From?

Crack cocaine has a reputation, as does its powdered counterpart. It is assumed that those who snort powdered cocaine come from wealth, or are using the drug socially (at a party or at a nightclub, for example). Because of the way it is portrayed in mainstream media, cocaine is almost romanticized – think Pulp Fiction, or The Sopranos, or The Wolf of Wall Street. In most films and television shows, cocaine is associated with affluence. Crack, on the other hand, has the opposite reputation. When crack cocaine is being portrayed in the media, it is usually being used by lower-class individuals, and it is rarely ever portrayed as “glamorous”.

The truth is, crack cocaine was originally formulated as a cheaper alternative to cocaine – which has a very high street value. It was more readily available to those in a lower socioeconomic bracket, and it remained consistently affordable. By the mid-1980s, there was a major crack problem throughout a lot of lower-income communities in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted a study in 1991 that showed the majority of crack cocaine users in the US were Caucasian.

Crack Addiction: Signs and Symptoms 

The effects of this drug include euphoria, heightened alertness, dilated pupils, decreased appetite, cravings, and an accelerated heart rate. However, because the “purity” of this drug is so inconsistent, it can be difficult to predict what the effects will be, how long they will last, and how intense they will be. If an individual smokes the substance, it will be immediately absorbed into the lung tissue, causing the high to take hold almost instantaneously. When it comes to crack, the risk of overdose-related death is exceptionally high. Overdose has been known to lead to convulsions, seizures, and coma. There is truly no “safe” way to take crack cocaine, seeing as it is so potent and can be cut with any number of dangerous adulterants or substitutes. If you believe that you or someone you love has been abusing this drug, it is important to seek professional help immediately.

Withdrawal from Crack Cocaine

Withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, tremors, and restlessness. Because dependency on crack cocaine is both physical and psychological, there will be a host of mental withdrawal symptoms present as well. Because of the potency of the substance, acute withdrawal symptoms are usually quite intense. These symptoms might include anxiety, agitation, depression, suicidal ideation, paranoia, mood swings, insomnia, and recurring nightmares. In order to relieve the physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal, and to prevent any life-threatening complications, admission to a medically monitored detox is absolutely crucial. For more information on crack cocaine addiction or withdrawal, or to learn more about your treatment options, please feel free to reach out to us today.