Crack Addiction

Crack addiction is one of society’s greatest problems today. Individuals addicted to crack will do almost anything to get the drug. It has penetrated all levels of our society; rich, poor, and everyone in between. Family members connected to individuals with a crack addiction live in chaos and confusion, not understanding the underlying mechanics of crack addiction. At Teen Challenge we understand about crack and what you are going through, find freedom from crack at our free rehabilitation center.

What is crack?

The chemical cocaine hydrochloride is commonly known as crack. Some users chemically process cocaine in order to remove the hydrochloride. This process is called “free basing” and makes the drug more potent. “Crack” is a solid form of freebased cocaine. It is called “crack” because it snaps and cracks when heated and smoked. Since crack is a 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.

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How is crack used?

The same ways that freebase is used, namely, by placing the substance in a glass pipe (or hash pipe) with a fine mesh screen under it, then heating it and inhaling the vapors. The vapors of the crack are absorbed through the lungs, into the bloodstream, and transported to the brain within 10-15 seconds. One inhalation will produce a degree of intoxication usually lasting 10-15 minutes.

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What is crack addiction?

Once an individual has tried crack, they may be unable to predict or control the extent to which they will continue to use. Crack is probably the most addictive substance that has been devised so far. Crack addicts must have more and more crack to sustain their high and avoid the intense “crash” or depression that follows their binges. They become physically and psychologically dependent on crack, which is often a result of only few doses of the drug taken within a few days. This dependence can lead to addiction.

All too often, the process of crack addiction goes something like this: The “soon to be addict” takes their first hit. Upon inhalation of this powerful drug, the users body instantly begins the addiction process. The individual’s mental and emotional being is soon to follow, but for now just their body suffers from the initial stages of crack addiction. After the first few times using the drug, their mind slowly starts the addiction process. This grows stronger and stronger until, mentally, the addict believes that they cannot live without the drug. They now are entangled in a full fledged crack addiction. Shortly after this occurs, crack takes complete control over their emotions.

Once the individual’s emotions have been overridden by cocaine, they no longer feel normal without being intoxicated. When this occurs they feel the need to use more crack just to feel normal. In order to get high they have to take an immense amount of the drug. Their crack addiction has infiltrated all areas of their life. They can no longer function physically, emotionally, or mentally without crack. This cycle of addiction continues until the individual either quits using or dies.

The above process of crack addiction demonstrates the potential power of this insidious drug. Even though death lurks around the corner, individuals with an addiction to crack continue to use with no regard for their life or anyone else’s. All addicts are afraid of taking the first step to go to rehab. Action is the bridge that helps us move from the dark to the light. Our rehabilitation programme offers free treatment, detox, and aftercare support, call us today.

When are the effects felt from smoking crack?

Facilitated by the large surface area of the lungs’ air sacs, cocaine administered by inhalation is absorbed almost immediately into the bloodstream. It takes 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 smokers achieve maximum physiological effects approximately two minutes after inhalation. Maximum psychotropic effects are attained approximately one minute after inhalation. Similar to intravenous administration, the physiological and psychotropic effects of inhaled cocaine are sustained for approximately 30 minutes after peak effects are attained.

What are the long term effects of crack?

The long term effects of crack affect the user physically, mentally, and emotionally. An individual’s long term effects from crack vary from person to person depending on their length and intensity of abuse. In general, the long term effects of crack include restlessness, mood change, irritability, auditory hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and eventually and rather quickly, addiction.

What are the side effects of crack addiction?

Below is a list of side effects due to crack addiction: Changes in blood pressure, heart rates, and breathing rates, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, convulsions, insomnia, and loss of appetite leading to malnutrition and weight loss, cold sweats. Swelling and bleeding of mucous membranes. Restlessness and anxiety, damage to nasal, cavities, damage to lungs, possible heart attacks, strokes or convulsions.

What are the symptoms of crack withdrawal?

Crack withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to: agitation, depression, intense craving for the drug, extreme fatigue, anxiety, angry outbursts, lack of motivation, nausea / vomiting, shaking, irritability, muscle pain, disturbed sleep.

What are the symptoms of a crack overdose?

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of crack usage is the high risk of overdose. Since crack is more potent than street cocaine, it enters the bloodstream more quickly and in higher concentrations. This is particularly risky since smoking the drug makes it difficult to estimate dosage. The most frequent overdose that people experience from smoking crack cocaine is mild and is felt as a very rapid heart beat and hyperventilation. These reactions are often accompanied by a feeling of impending death. Although most people survive, several thousand are killed by overdosing on crack every year. All forms of cocaine and crack cocaine use have been linked with heart failure in users. This also includes otherwise healthy users.

What complications are associated with smoking crack during pregnancy?

Crack and Pregnancy:

Increased incidence of still births, increased incidence of miscarriages, premature (often fatal) labor and delivery. In males, the cocaine in crack may attach to the sperm causing damage to the cells of the fetus. Babies exposed to cocaine experience painful and life threatening withdrawal, are irritable, have poor ability to regulate their own body temperature and blood sugar and are at increased risk of having seizures.

Effects of Crack on the Fetus:

Seizures or strokes, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, vision and hearing impairments, urinary tract abnormalities, autism and learning disabilities.

If you have a problem with crack addiction, contact Teen Challenge today.

Teen Challenge’s rehabilitation programme includes expert advice for any type of substance abuse and is FREE to enter. We are open to everyone both men and women who need addiction help. Wilkerson House Center in London is open to men only and Hope House Center in Wales is for women