Crack Cocaine

Scientific name: Benzoylmethylecgonine (cocaine) with varied additives.

Classification: Psychoactive stimulant.

Legal status in US: Illegal to possess, manufacture, sell or consume crack cocaine. Although cocaine may have occasional medicinal uses under strict laws and restrictions.

Origin: Coca plant grown in South American countries like Peru, Colombia and Bolivia.

Estimated use: 3.5% of Americans over the age of 12 have tried it at least once.

Street names:  Crack, Rock, Base, Iron, Hard Rock, 24-7, Grit, Snow Coke, Badrock, Crumbs.

Appearance: Off-white waxy chunks with jagged edges that look like small stones or pebbles.

Administering: Mostly smoked, occasionally injected.

Short-Term Effects of Crack

Crack is cocaine that has been processed into a freebase form. It is a very powerful stimulant and is the most addictive form of cocaine. The term crack came about due to the crackling sound heard when the pieces, or rocks, are heated.

Immediately after taking this drug, often through a makeshift glass or metal tube used for smoking it, the user may initially have feelings of euphoria, energy and become very talkative. Muscles will tense, heart rate will increase, and blood vessels will constrict causing blood pressure to spike. The user will have dilated pupils and be unable to sleep.

Crack stimulates the central nervous system and places heavy stress on the lungs, heart and brain.

Its effects last for only a short while. Users have been known to binge with it repeatedly in order to sustain its effects. This ultimately leads to addiction and the user will crave the drug.

Signs and Symptoms of Using Crack Cocaine

After only a short period of use, a person may experience significant weight loss, abdominal complications and pain, along with poor appetite and nutrition. Nausea is common.

Violent mood swings start to occur with repeated use. A person may become delusional with false feelings of confidence as well as experiencing depression, paranoia and isolation.

A user may have burns on the fingers and the lips from the glass or metal pipe that becomes hot during smoking.

Chronic use increases the chance of heart disease, liver disease, stroke, cardiac arrest, respiratory complications and sudden death.

Coke Bugs

One common side-effect of long-term use of cocaine and crack cocaine is called formicating. This is the sensation of insects or other crawling creatures being on the skin or even under it. The affected person will exhibit wild behavior in a bid to be free of these. It is a hallucination, but self-harm is quite possible.

Crack Overdose and the Risk of Poisoning

An overdose of crack can cause such intense stimulation that the body temperature spikes alarmingly. The person may experience hallucinations and delirium. Get the person to emergency medical treatment immediately. If the person experiences seizures, the risk of death is high.

Using crack exposes a person to extreme risk of poisoning. Street crack has been known to be cut with adulterants to increase its bulk. Many medical emergencies have occurred due to the ingestion of toxic chemicals and combinations in the drug.

Poly-Drug Use

Crack cocaine is sometimes used in combination with other substances in order to increase its effects. This practice is exceedingly dangerous. If, for example, crack is used together with heroin, the risk of overdose is extreme. Mixing cocaine with alcohol is commonplace and also hazardous.

Help for Crack Cocaine Addiction

Crack's stimulant qualities and its intense effect on the central nervous system create ideal conditions for a person to develop severe depression and suicidal tendencies. Therefore it is essential the person be treated and monitored by rehabilitation experts who are trained not only in the physical treatment but also in the psychological side of crack addiction.

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