More than 100 years after cocaine came into use, a new form of the substance emerged. The substance is known as crack, which became very popular during the mid 1980’s because of the immediate high it produced and because it was cheap to make. Common street names for crack include; freebase, rocks, rocket, baby T, bad, basa and many more.
Crack is simply cocaine that has not been neutralized with an acid and comes in a rock crystal and can be smoked. The term “crack” comes from the crackling noise the drug makes when being smoked. According to government statistics, approximately 8.7 million American ages 12 years or older have tried crack at least once in their life.
The physical effects of crack occur in the central nervous system, which include constriction of blood vessels, and an increase in temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Users can experience feelings of irritability, aggression, anxiety and restlessness. A crack user can also experience acute respiratory issues, shortness of breath, coughing, lung trauma and bleeding. Smoking crack can make someone exhibit severe aggression and paranoia.
Today, crack addiction and abuse still plagues the United States. Because of recent scientific studies centering on crack misuse, researchers have discovered how it affects the inner workings of the brain and the damage it does to long-term health. It is thought that certain genetic conditions and hereditary factors will predispose someone to crack addiction.
After a crack addiction takes hold, a person is unable to resist the appeal and cravings that result. With repeated crack exposure, the human brain starts to adapt and the reward pathways become less sensitized to natural reinforcement and to the drug itself. With higher doses and repeated use, more crack is needed to experience the same pleasure and euphoria that a user felt during initial use.
Crack users usually take the drug in “binges,” which means the drug is used repeatedly and at an increasingly higher dosage. With the higher doses, there is an increased risk of toxicity and overdose which results in death. Different routes of administration also affect how the drug is absorbed and tolerated. By repeatedly snorting crack a user can lose sense of smell, experience chronic nose bleeds, have problems swallowing, become hoarse and experience constant nasal irritation.
As of 2006, crack addiction accounted for nearly 15% of all admissions to drug treatment programs. The majority of people who seek treatment for an addiction to crack cocaine are likely to be poly-users which means they use other substances as well as crack. Treatment for an addiction to crack should be comprehensive and the plan must address the neurological, social and medical aspects of a user’s abuse. Patients who undergo treatment for crack addiction can also have a condition called dual diagnosis, which means a need for additional therapy is required.
If you or someone you love is experiencing a crack addiction, you can get help. Please call us today for further information and the answers to any questions you may have.