Crack Cocaine Addiction

Crack Cocaine addiction has grown to be one of the most serious substance abuse issues in the country. Crack is the street name given to a freebase form of cocaine that has been processed from the powdered cocaine hydrochloride form into a smokable substance. The term refers to the crackling sound heard when the mixture is smoked. Crack cocaine is processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water, and heated to remove the hydrochloride.

Because crack is smoked, the user experiences a high in less than 10 seconds. This rather immediate and euphoric effect is one of the reasons that crack cocaine addiction became so widespread in the mid 1980s. Another reason is that crack is inexpensive both to produce and to buy. Crack cocaine remains a serious problem in many of the United States’ major cities.

Crack is usually smoked through a pipe. The cocaine vapor is inhaled into the lungs where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Regardless of the route of administration, cocaine is addictive. Crack cocaine and injected cocaine reach the brain quickly and bring an intense and immediate high. Cocaine taken intravenously produces a slower-acting high than those of the crack and powder varieties.

Mechanics of Crack Cocaine Addiction

Crack cocaine is heated to remove the hydrochloride, and comes in the form of rocks, which tend to be sold in sizes of approximately 0.1 to 0.2 grams, for approximately $10 and $20, respectively. The term “freebase” makes reference to the fact it no longer contains hydrochloride acid, a base element. The mixture is boiled into a solid substance, which is then removed from the liquid, dried, and broken into the rocks to be used and sold as crack. Crack rocks are white or off-white and vary in size and shape. The effects of smoking crack cocaine are felt almost immediately and are very intense and brief. For example, the high from smoking cocaine may last from 5 to 10 minutes, while the high from snorting the drug can last for 60 minutes.

Health dangers of Crack Cocaine Addiction

One immediate health danger of crack cocaine addiction is its use in combination with alcohol. When these substances are mixed, the liver manufactures a third substance called coca ethylene. This intensifies crack cocaine’s euphoric effects, while also increasing the risk of sudden death. Most crack-related deaths are a result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory failure.
Smoking crack cocaine can also prompt particularly aggressive and paranoid behavior.

Other physical effects of crack cocaine abuse include constricted blood vessels and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Users may also experience feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. Evidence suggests a greater risk of harm for crack users than powdered cocaine users. Sufferers from crack cocaine addiction may experience acute respiratory problems including coughing, shortness of breath, and severe chest pains with lung-trauma and bleeding. While nearly always smoked, there are reports of users in certain cities injecting crack right into their veins in cases where powdered cocaine isn’t available.

Alarming Crack Cocaine Addiction Statistics

According to the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 7.8 million Americans ages 12 and older reported trying crack cocaine at least once in their lives, representing 3.3% of the population in that age group. Among students surveyed as part of the 2004 Monitoring the Future study, 2.4% of eighth graders, 2.6% of tenth graders, and 3.9% of twelfth graders reported using crack cocaine at least once. In 2003, these percentages were 2.5%, 2.7%, and 3.6%, respectively.

Regarding the ease by which one can obtain crack cocaine, 20.6% of eighth graders, 30.6% of tenth graders, and 39.2% of twelfth graders surveyed in 2004 reported that crack cocaine was fairly easy or very easy to obtain.

During 2003, 3.1% of college students and 4.7% of young adults, ages 19-28, reported using crack cocaine at least once in their lives. Approximately 1.3% of college students and 1.0% of young adults reported past year use of crack cocaine, and 0.4% of college students and 0.3% of young adults reported past month use of crack cocaine. According to data from the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program, a median of 30.1% of adult male arrestees and 35.3% of adult female arrestees tested positive for crack cocaine when arrested in 2003. The adult male samples were compiled from 39 U.S. sites and the adult female samples were compiled from 25 sites. A median of 17.2% of adult male arrestees and 24.5% of adult female arrestees reported using crack cocaine at least once in the year before being arrested.

These numbers have steadily risen and more and more people are succumbing to crack cocaine addiction. As of 2010, over 40 million Americans have admitted to trying crack at least once in their lives.

If you or a loved are suffering from crack abuse or dependency, call the National Referral Center for Cocaine Addiction (NRCCA) 24/7 at 1-888-515-7707, so we can find you quality help right now.

Finding cocaine treatment centers, cocaine detox programs, cocaine drug rehabs can be a difficult and frustrating process. Contact the National Referral Center for Cocaine Addiction anytime toll-free at (888) 515-7707 or through our online form, for our recommendations of the best medically licensed detox centers for you or your loved one!

Detox should never be attempted in your home or without medical supervision at a licensed cocaine detox facility.