Learn About Crack Cocaine Addiction and Treatment
Crack cocaine is an extremely addictive illicit drug that has swept the streets of cities across America since the 1980s. Crack use can be a deadly habit, especially since it carries a higher risk of overdose than powder cocaine.
Luckily, there is hope for crack cocaine users in the form of treatment and rehabilitation centers. Learn more about crack cocaine addiction here.
Forms of Cocaine
Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug that works on the brain?s reward center. Cocaine prevents the brain from recycling dopamine, a chemical transmitter in charge of controlling pleasure and movement. This leads to a buildup of excess dopamine and a euphoric feeling or high.
Cocaine comes in a few different forms:
- Users snort cocaine powder via the nose or rub it on their gums. Cocaine is hydrochloride salt in its powder form.
- Some users dissolve cocaine in water and inject it directly into the bloodstream. Others mix cocaine and heroin and inject it, called a speedball.
- Rock crystal cocaine is what?s known as crack or crack rocks. Users heat the crystals and inhale the vapors.
To make crack cocaine, a drug manufacturer combines powder cocaine with water and another substance. The other substance is usually baking soda or a similar ingredient. Then, the manufacturer boils the mixture, creating a solid. Once the solid cools, the manufacturer breaks it into multiple pieces. Crack cocaine is typically white, tan, light brown or cream colored, while powder cocaine is white.
Crack Cocaine vs. Powder Cocaine
Users heat crack cocaine crystals and inhale the vapors into the lungs. The term ?crack? comes from the cracking sound the drug makes when heated and smoked.
Powder cocaine and crack cocaine produce different highs. Snorting or rubbing cocaine on the gums takes longer to produce a high, but the effects last longer. Smoking or injecting cocaine gives a more intense, but short-lived, high.
The effects of crack cocaine last about 30 to 60 minutes, and begin within a minute of smoking the drug. Due to the instant high from crack cocaine, it is more psychologically addictive than powder cocaine.
Brief History of Crack Cocaine
Cocaine originates from the leaf of the coca tree, a plant native to South America. The coca plant is found mostly in Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. The Jones Act of 1922 banned domestic cocaine extraction from the coca plant, resulting in a sharp drop in cocaine use in the U.S. Soon, drug traffickers were smuggling cocaine into the country through Central America. They also shipped cocaine from the Caribbean and Bahamas to Miami, Florida.
Crack was originally developed as a more affordable alternative to cocaine. Crack initially appeared in major cities, in small batches, in 1981. The first large-scale use of crack cocaine occurred in Los Angeles in 1984. By the late 1980s, crack cocaine use became an epidemic in the United States.
Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Use
Crack is highly addictive. It sometimes takes only one hit for someone to become hooked on the substance. Users often binge on crack cocaine to prolong the short, 15-minute feeling of euphoria.
Short-term symptoms of crack use include:
- Hypersensitivity to touch, sight and sound
- Dilated pupils
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate
- Intense drug cravings
These effects are similar to those from powder cocaine use, but are often more intense. Consistent crack cocaine use has devastating effects on the mind and body.
Long-term crack use results in symptoms such as:
- Movement disorders such as Parkinson?s disease
- Severe paranoia
- Auditory hallucinations
- Mood swings
The risk of overdose is much higher with crack than with cocaine. Crack is absorbed through the lungs? membranes during smoking, entering the brain and bloodstream within 15 seconds. Crack overdose can lead to convulsions, seizure, coma and death. Signs of crack overdose include hyperventilation and rapid heart rate.
Crack Cocaine Abuse Around the Country
According to the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, as of 2014, there were about 354,000 current crack cocaine users. Cocaine use dropped slightly in preceding years, due in part to the rise in prescription opioid and heroin use. Admissions into treatment centers for cocaine addictions dropped from 14 percent of all admissions in 2004 to 5 percent in 2014.
There remains a major crack cocaine problem in the U.S, however. Crack was the primary substance of abuse in 4 percent of all treatment center admissions in 2014. In 2014, 72,301 people in the U.S. sought treatment primarily for a crack cocaine addiction.
In 2015, nearly 7,000 Americans people died from cocaine overdose (including crack cocaine). This is a big jump from the number of cocaine overdose deaths in 1999, which was less than 4,000. The more a cocaine user knows about available treatment, the less likely he or she will suffer an overdose.
Crack Cocaine Addiction Treatment Is Always Available
Crack cocaine destroys lives and can eventually take them. If you or someone you know continually abuses crack or another form of cocaine, seek help from a reputable treatment center. Recovery from crack addiction is possible with the right professional help.
Crack Cocaine?Addiction Tears Apart Lives. The Treatment Center in Florida Is Here to Help Every Step of the Way!