Crack is the street name given to the form of cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal, which, when heated, produces vapors that are smoked. The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated. Since crack is an already prepared form of freebased cocaine, the user does not have to buy the equipment or be exposed to the explosive chemicals associated with freebasing. Crack is most often packaged in vials or plastic bags and sold in small quantities, usually 300-500mg or enough for two to three inhalations. Smoking cocaine produces a quicker, stronger high than snorting. On the other hand, faster absorption means shorter duration of action; the high from snorting cocaine may last 15 to 30 minutes, but the high from smoking may last only 5 to 10 minutes. In order to stay high the user must use over and over causing binges and the dose is increased to maintain the same affect.
Introduction of Crack
In the 1980s when crack was first introduced to the drug market, it was created as a cheaper alternative to cocaine. Drug dealers specifically targeted inner city individuals who desired a cheaper alternative to getting high. When crack was initially introduced to the streets, crime rates increased compared to years prior.
Crack Addiction and Crime Statistics
The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse Crack Statistics examined crime rates years prior to the introduction of crack to the streets. It was found that crime rates were approximately 10 percent lower. The increase in crime rates included violent crimes, like murder. In another survey, 8.9 percent of adult male arrestees and 28.5 percent of female arrestees admitted to using crack in the year before their arrest, an increase over prior years.
• Crack addiction statistics showed 2 percent of college students and 4.7 percent of young adults (aged 19 through 28) reported using crack cocaine at least once
• About 0.9 percent of college students and 1.3 percent of young adults reported past year crack use
• About 0.1 percent of college students and 0.4 percent of young adults reported using in the past month
• 6.2 million Americans over the age of 12 report trying crack at least once in the past year.
• About 1 million Americans say that they tried crack in the year previous
• Another 406,000 people reported using crack within the past month.
Effects of Crack
Abusing crack has a variety of adverse effects on the body. Here are a few:
• Constricts blood cells
• Dilates pupils
• Increased body temperature
• Increased heart rate and blood pressure
It can also cause headaches, abdominal pain and nausea. Because crack tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished very quickly.
A report written by NIDA stated crack abusers can experience acute cardiovascular or cerebrovascular emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke, which may cause sudden death. Crack-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizure followed by respiratory arrest.
Effects of Crack on the Brain
Facilitated by the large surface area of the lungs’ air sacs, cocaine administered by inhalation is absorbed almost immediately into the bloodstream, taking only 19 seconds to reach the brain. However, only 30 to 60 percent of the available dose is absorbed due to incomplete inhalation of the cocaine-laden fumes and variations in the heating temperature.
Crack cocaine is a strong central nervous stimulant that causes excess amounts of, dopamine in the brain. A neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and movement, dopamine is the neurotransmitter released as part of the brain’s reward system. As a result, the psychological effects can be extremely reinforcing; after having tried crack cocaine, the user will rapidly develop an intense craving for the drug since the chemistry of the brain’s reward system has been changed.
Slang Terms for Crack Cocaine: Rock, Hard Rock, Base, Kryptonite, Sugar Block, Topo (Spanish), Apple Jacks
Uses and users:
• Crackhead – heavy crack user
• Crack house – place where crack is used or sold
• Crack spot – place where crack is sold
• Crackpipe – Pipe used to smoke crack; usually made of glass
• Crack baby – Child born to cocaine or crack-using mother, often with abnormalitites
• Chronic – marijuana laced with cocaine or crack
• Dusting – sprinkling cocaine powder on other smokable drugs or on cigarettes
• Speedballing – using cocaine and heroin together
• Snowcapping – Cocaine sprinkled over marijuana
Behavioral interventions such as, cognitive-behavioral therapy have been shown to be effective for ceasing crack use and preventing relapse. Treatment must be tailored to the individual patient’s needs in order to optimize outcomes. This often involves a combination of treatment, social supports, and other services.
Narconon uses cognitive-behavioral therapy to help addicts confront their under-lying issues with addiction and become responsible members of society again. Call today at 1-800-468-6933 for help with crack addiction or cocaine.
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