Crack cocaine is a stimulant that is made from regular powdered cocaine. Powdered cocaine is mixed with baking soda or ammonia and water and cooked to form a solid substance that is smokable once it has dried. Crack is such an addictive form that some users will report being addicted after just one use.
Is Crack More Addictive Than Cocaine?
Smoking crack allows for the drug to enter the lungs and reach the bloodstream quickly. When this happens, the user experiences an intense euphoria that lasts anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes. However, once the user starts to come down, they experience extreme cravings for more.
The Pharmacology Education Partnership from Duke University published an article titled “Content Background: Why is smoked cocaine (crack) more likely to be abused or addictive than snorted cocaine?” It states,
Research in the fields of drug abuse, pharmacology, and psychology indicates that the period between the introduction of a drug into the body and its ability to produce euphoria or pleasure is important in the abuse potential of that drug. Cocaine produces its high within seconds when smoked as crack, but it takes several minutes to produce a high when snorted. Furthermore, cocaine leaves the brain very quickly after smoking stops, so the cocaine high produced by smoking does not last very long. Crack cocaine users often experience depression or “crash”, so they repeat the process. This can occur many times (binging). When snorted, the cocaine enters the brain more slowly since it must travel throughout the circulatory system first. The high lasts longer because the cocaine enters the brain over a longer period of time compared to when it is smoked. The user does not repeat the process as readily and the potential for abuse or addiction is not as strong compared to the user who smokes the free base. (DUKE.EDU)
Based on the facts listed above, yes, crack is more addictive than powdered cocaine. But why is crack so addictive?
What Makes Crack Cocaine Addictive?
Crack cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. It affects the pleasure centers in the brain by causing a flood of dopamine to be released when it is smoked. This causes extremely heightened euphoria, but the high doesn’t last long. Because the high only lasts between 5 and 15 minutes, the user craves more and more of the drug and eventually develops a tolerance. Unfortunately, once tolerance has been developed, the individual cannot achieve the same high they once got when they first started using the drug. And even though the person will never achieve that same high, crack is so psychologically addictive; they will continue to try no matter what.
The fast and short-natured high that crack produces makes this drug one of the most addictive substances out there. Crack is also one of the most difficult substances to recover from. The psychological effects of the drug on the addict make it hard to stop using and makes the relapse rate extremely high. Recovery is possible, but it takes a strong desire, determination, and willingness to go to any lengths to get there.
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