Crack cocaine, often called crack, is a more pure form of cocaine; it is a free base form of cocaine. Users will take powdered cocaine, add baking soda and water to it, and heat or “cook” the drug until it forms a hard rock-like substance that can be smoked. The drug gets its name from the “cracking” and popping sound it makes when it is heated and smoked.

The National Library of Medicine says:

There are approximately two million cocaine abusers in the USA, making cocaine one of the most commonly abused psychoactive substances in this country. Cocaine was most often used as intranasally administered cocaine hydrochloride (‘blow’) until 1985 when ‘crack’ was introduced; since then, the number of users has increased dramatically. Smoking crack is similar to intravenous injection for obtaining rapid systemic absorption and high brain concentrations, with repeated dosing being easier with crack than with intravenous administration. Crack addicts often go on ‘missions’, a 3–4-day binge during which they smoke almost constantly, and rarely eat, drink, or sleep. The wholesale movement to crack use, and the resulting increased magnitude of potential neurological effects, has not been adequately studied. (NIH)

Smoking crack produces a very intense, but short-lived high, that only lasts about 15 minutes. The intensity of the high that crack cocaine produces can cause anyone to quickly develop an addiction to the drug.

Signs and Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Abuse

Most Common Signs of Crack Abuse

Crack causes an excessive amount of dopamine to be released in the brain. The high the user gets seems to be very pleasurable and rewarding. This is why this form of the drug is so addictive.

Crack abuse or addiction is hard to hide. It is a very short-acting high, so abusers have to smoke it every 15 to 20 minutes to maintain their high. Crack also causes an intense mental obsession. Users are always wondering about where their next hit is going to come from.

Because of the severity of addiction it causes, it can be a very expensive addiction. Once an individual has started using it, they don’t want to stop. Money can start rapidly disappearing along with any items that may be able to be pawned for money. The addict may start asking friends or loved ones for money even.

Symptoms From Long-Term Crack Abuse

Some of the signs of crack cocaine abuse can be:


  • Dilated pupils
  • Frequent disappearances
  • Restlessness
  • Increased rate of breathing
  • Being very irresponsible
  • Finger burns
  • Burns on the lips from using a hot pipe

Crack cocaine is pretty easy to obtain about anywhere you go. The availability of this drug is quite alarming actually. When an individual purchases this illicit drug, they don’t know what they are getting. The drug can be mixed with any substance that will produce a more intense high, which makes it both even more addictive, very dangerous, and unpredictable.

The effects crack cocaine has on a person can vary; it causes both physical and psychological effects. The more a person smokes, the more severe the effects are. Some of the immediate side effects of crack cocaine can include:


  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Increased alertness
  • Increased heart rate and breathing
  • Pressured speech
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia or altered sleep patterns
  • Nausea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Intense euphoria
  • Intense cravings
  • Bizarre behavior
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Death from respiratory failure
  • The feeling of bugs crawling on you
  • Picking at the skin

Crack cocaine is very addictive and very dangerous, period. The longer a person uses the drug, the harder it is to quit. Also, chronic use of crack cocaine can cause several long-term effects.

Treatment for Crack Addiction

If you or someone you love has an addiction to crack cocaine, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Our specialists have years of experience helping individuals with crack addictions. Crack addiction is a tough drug to beat, but you can achieve freedom from this addiction. We offer professional support and guidance and are here to help you get on the road to long-lasting recovery.

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Cocaine Addiction Help and Recovery Resources

Whether you’re smoking cocaine, snorting cocaine, or even injecting cocaine, it does not have to destroy your life any longer. There is real, compassionate, and professional help available. Don’t be afraid, we are always just a quick phone call away.

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