What is crack?
Crack, the freebase form of cocaine, is created when cocaine is mixed with water and other solvents (mostly sodium bicarbonate, ammonium bicarbonate, and ammonium carbonate). After mixing, crack cocaine is then cooked into a hard, rock form.
Typically, crack is used by smoking it through a glass pipe. This way, it is quickly absorbed into the blood stream and reaches the brain in a matter of seconds. However, crack can also be injected intravenously directly into the blood system. Users also snort crack, since it affects the brain and the central nervous system (CNS) and produces a quick high when nasally insufflated. However, because there is no way to know how much of the drug is actually contained in any single batch of crack, and using crack can quickly lead to toxic overdose and serious consequences.
Why do people use crack?
People use crack because of the relatively low-cost and the extreme high that results from using it. In fact, crack has become one of the most widely abused drugs in the United States. The “high” crack offers only lasts a few solid minutes, so usually people abuse crack progressively, in order to prolong the effects of the drug. This is also why crack is so addictive.
Crack affects the body as a whole. It changes the brain chemistry by stimulating the release of dopamine in the body. After inhaling crack, users experience an instant rush that can last for a period of minutes. Euphoric effect is then followed by a “crash” that drives them to crave the drug and compulsively use more. As a result, users can experience euphoria and supreme confidence as well as extreme paranoia.
A list of common side effects associated with crack use include:
- Aggressive outbursts
- Extreme euphoria
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased energy
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of sexual ability
- Strain on the heart
- Sudden heart attack or stroke
- Violent behavior
Excessive crack users can also experience formication, nicknamed the “cocaine bugs” or “coke bugs”. Other negative side effects of crack use include:
- Broken interpersonal relationships
- Financial crisis
Crack also influences pregnant crack users and their babies. During the prenatal period, crack cocaine can increase the risk of miscarriage, trigger pre-term labor, or impair an infants’ normal growth. Babies exposed to crack cocaine have low birth weight which can result in death. After birth, if a mother continues using crack, it will be present in her milk and breastfeeding is not recommended.
Is crack addictive?
Yes, crack is addictive. In fact, crack is a highly potent, very powerful stimulant drug; it is known to be more powerful, cause physical dependence faster and to be far more dangerous than powder cocaine. Crack abuse leads to crack addiction very quickly, and the reason is the drugs’ strong potential to cause physical and psychological dependence. Actually, addiction can develop after one single use, or after just a few uses of crack.
Crack addiction is a state of captivity. The drug takes control over a user’s life, making it very difficult to stop. Cravings to smoke crack can dominate the psyche and all daily activities can become directed towards obtaining and using the drug.
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