What is Crack Cocaine?
Crack cocaine is a rock formation that is a smokable drug which comes directly from the powder form of cocaine. Cocaine is a commonly-known stimulant drug that is highly addictive. Cocaine (and crack) comes from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. Chemicals within the leaves of coca are extracted through a tedious process often done by hand. When the compounds of the leaves are broken down through being soaked in substances such a gasoline, it is packed, strained, and dried into a powder.
The trouble lies in its refinement to create deadly drugs. Although both crack and cocaine come from the same plant, they are consumed in different ways. Cocaine is a powder, which is often snorted. Crack is a solidified rock that is derived from powder cocaine. It becomes solid “rock” form when users mix it with water and baking soda. Once these three components are heated, it forms in rocks known as crack. The term “crack” comes from the actual crackling sound that is made when the chemicals are being heated.
Cocaine is the powdered form and is often snorted, whereas crack is the crystallized rock form. Crack is made by adding different substances which typically results in colors ranging from yellow, rose pink, or white.
Why Do People Use Crack?
Many persons begin using crack cocaine for various reasons. These reasons may vary from peer pressure to stress or just plain curiosity. No matter what reasons cause someone to take that first hit may be, one thing is always the same: it will most likely lead to an addiction. Crack cocaine is known to be highly addictive.
When crack cocaine has taken effect on the body of a drug user, it gives the user a rush of energy, heightened senses and a feeling of euphoria due to a much higher dose of the brain chemical, dopamine, being released. However, this high feeling only lasts for as long as 10 minutes. Because the user wants to maintain this feeling, they end up taking more than what is needed and abuse the drug.
Some addicts who are using other drugs might come to crack cocaine in attempts to feel a more intense high. What might seem like an innocent taste, “just try it once” as the saying goes, could spiral into a lifelong trap of addiction.
Smoking Crack vs Snorting and Injecting Crack
Due to the fact that crack has a low melting point, users typically “cook” or heat up the crack and smoke it. Smoking delivers drugs to the brain quicker as it enters the respiratory system directly into the bloodstream and into the brain. Therefore, the drug user begins to feel crack’s effects much quicker. When smoked, crack goes directly to the brain resulting in a strikingly powerful high. Although short-lived, the high is euphoric which is why so many users consume so much of it, leading to addiction and in some cases, overdose.
When cocaine is either snorted or dissolved into water and injected directly into your veins, it travels through a longer pathway to get to your brain. Therefore, its effects are not felt immediately. When snorted or injected it may take several minutes for the effects or the high to be felt. Nonetheless, crack and cocaine are actually identical in their effects.
Here is a list of the effects of a crack or cocaine high:
- Euphoria or an intense feeling of overall pleasure
- Increase in heart rate
- Dilated pupils (this means the black part of the eye becomes enlarged)
- Changes in appetite or metabolism
- Increase in alertness
- Hyper-awareness or sensitivity
Although the short-term effects of crack cocaine may seem enjoyable, there are long-term consequences that may occur. This is especially true in situations where the user of crack cocaine is addicted or dependent on the drug. Long-term effects of crack cocaine can include:
- Respiratory issues
- Lung disease including asthma, emphysema, lung cancer
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Increase heart rate or heart arrhythmia
- Psychosis or other mental health disorders
Symptoms of an Overdose
Because crack cocaine is so addictive and potent, it is very easy for an addict to overdose. The more you take the drug, your body starts to build up a tolerance and you will start to feel less of the effects that you typically were used to. Therefore, you might start taking more of the drug in very large amounts in order to achieve the desired high. Hard drugs are dangerous to form a tolerance to as they can damage the body. The best way to prevent a cocaine overdose is to immediately seek a professional to help and stop drug use altogether.
If you do decide to stop your drug abuse, it is most wise to join a medical detox facility. Detox can be harmful to the body and there are professionals out there who will provide care and supervision. As the body and brain readjust to the absence of the drug it became dependent on, chemical imbalances may form. Therefore it’s a healthy choice to get the help you need during the withdrawal and detox process.
Typical signs of an overdose include:
- Chest pains accompanied with abnormally fast heartbeats
- Fatally high blood pressure
- Excessive sweating
- Anxiety, irritability, agitation
- Enlarged / dilated pupils
In some cases, a crack overdose may show no warning signs and only cause sudden death. However, if you or your loved one has survived a crack overdose, it is highly important that medical help is sought immediately as there may be fatal internal damages such as lifelong brain damage, heart damage, and kidney failure.
What To Do if You Suspect A Crack Overdose
If there is a suspicion that you or your loved one may be experiencing a crack overdose, the first thing to do is call for an emergency right away. The faster you can get help for the person who has overdosed, the better the chances of survival stands.
Once you have reached out for help, you may proceed to take caution with the person overdosing, in order to escape fatalities.
These procedures include:
- Try to keep body temperature down
- If a seizure is being experienced, ensure that there are no sharp objects or bright flashing lights near by
- Place a pillow under you or your loved one’s head
- Stay under constant surveillance until medical help arrives
The most important thing to prevent overdose is to discontinue the use of drugs like crack cocaine. If you feel a need to quit but need help getting sober, an addiction treatment center is most likely your best bet. There are many options for your recovery that can be life-changing. Don’t wait and further risk your life with ongoing drug addiction. Get help today.
If crack cocaine has become a problem in your life, please, do not hesitate to seek professional help. There are various treatment centers that have put programs forward to help you break your crack habit and help you to get back to a clean and sober life.
Going into an inpatient treatment center can help you through detox, withdrawal, and gradually guide you to resist any temptations that may lead you to a relapse. Do not hesitate to call our Addiction Helpline at (888) 313-5690 with any questions or concerns of a crack addiction.
Through our professional support, we can help you and your family find the right treatment options available. Thousands of addicts have gotten the help they needed by simply taking the first step to reach out to someone about their addiction. We can provide the tools that work in getting sober from drug and crack addiction. Let us know how we can direct you to a safe and effective recovery. We can help make your life healthier and happier for yourself, your entire family and friends.