The notorious crack cocaine is easily regarded as one of the most powerful illegal drugs in terms of producing psychological dependence. Crack cocaine stimulates key pleasure centers within the brain, causing a sense of extremely heightened euphoria. Cocaine – similar to the effects of heroin – can cause a quick rise in blood pressure, as well as an accelerated heart rate that could lead to death. Crack cocaine is 75% more pure than regular cocaine, leading to a quick rush that lasts for a few minutes, rather than the slower, milder high received when snorting cocaine. Tolerance to crack cocaine develops quickly, and takes more and more use to experience the same high that it once gave.
What is Crack Cocaine?
Crack cocaine is the crystal form of cocaine, which usually comes in a powder form. It comes in solid blocks or “crystals” varying in color – from yellow to white. Crack is heated, usually in a pipe, and smoked to increase the intensity and the speed of the high. It’s called “crack” because when it is being heated, it makes a cracking or a popping sound. As mentioned before, this form of cocaine is 75% more pure than the powdered cocaine, making it much more dangerous.
Smoking crack leads to a short, but intense, high that nearly 12% of all Americans 12 and older have used. When overdosing, effects include intense hallucinations and delusions, nausea, and convulsions. Although it can also be snorted, crack cocaine is most often smoked, leading to a more immediate addiction. Even more concerning, though cocaine in a powder form is known as the “rich man’s drug” because of its going street price, crack cocaine is so inexpensive that teenagers can afford it. However, because of the short-lived high, and the increased chance of immediate addiction, costs increase, often times leading the user to theft in order to afford their next fix.
Short-Term Effects of Crack Cocaine
Crack Cocaine, while experiencing the high, is an “upper,” however – when coming out of the high – the user experiences the “downer” side of the drug. This part of the high is coupled with:
- Intense depression
- Immediate need for more
At any stage of drug use, crack cocaine can cause the user to experience these symptoms and more:
- Heart attack
- Respiratory failure
- Contracted blood vessels
- Erratic behavior
- Intense Euphoria
- Anxiety and panic
Which can result in sudden death. Also, “crack lip” can develop because of the intensity of the heat in the short crack pipe. Crack lip happens when blisters form on the lips where the user places the pipe.
Long-Term Effects of Crack Cocaine
Since crack cocaine generally becomes addictive after the first use, long term effects are more likely to happen in everyone who has smoked the drug. Though the drug is considered inexpensive, crack cocaine users need more and more of the drug in order to feel normal. Since it is a hallucinogenic, it basically rewires the brain – convincing the user that they need this drug to be normal, no matter what it takes. This can cause someone who may not have previously been violent, to commit crimes such as theft, assault, and in extreme cases, murder.
The depression experienced while withdrawing from the high becomes more intense after each use, and can lead to suicide if the user feels that he or she cannot get the drug. Some other long-term effects include:
- Liver, kidney, and lung damage
- Respiratory failure
- Severe tooth decay
- Infectious diseases
- Irritability and mood swings
- Reproductive damage in both genders
How Can I Get Help?
If you ore a loved-one is suffering from an addiction to crack cocaine, recovery is difficult, but not impossible. Addicts are often hesitant to admit they have a problem, and unwilling to accept help when offered. It is important to act immediately and persevere through any resistance. The first step is to develop a plan to deal with the problem. Contact the professionals at Serenity Acres today and ask about our different recovery programs.
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