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What is Smoking Crack?

Smoking crack is a dangerous behavior that has lasting physical and emotional consequences. Crack cocaine is a form of cocaine that is smoked in the form of a “rock.” The name crack allegedly comes from the crackling sounds the rock makes when heated in the crack pipe in which it is smoked.

Smoking crack is more potent and more dangerous than snorting cocaine. This is both because of the way crack is made and the way it is consumed. Crack cocaine is created by combining (also known as “cutting”) powdered cocaine with baking soda or other substances. The cocaine and cutting agent are mixed in water, which is boiled into a sold.

The solid crack is then sold as smaller pieces, sometimes called “rocks.”

Cocaine is Not the Only Drug In Crack

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, caffeine, over-the-counter drugs, arsenic, Ritalin, sugar, talc, and cleaning chemicals can be added to the mix to increase the high and decrease the amount of expensive cocaine in the mixture. These added ingredients, and the fact that the original cocaine is boiled into a concentrated state, makes crack far more potent and concentrated than typical cocaine.

Street Names for Crack

Other street names for crack include:

  • Gravel
  • Badrock
  • Candy Ball
  • Base
  • Cookies
  • Crumbs
  • Hardball
  • Nuggets
  • Dice
  • Product
  • Fat bags
  • Devil drug
  • Grit
  • Hail
  • Hard rock
  • Ice cube
  • Sugar block
  • Paste
  • Roxanne
  • Scrabble
  • Sleet

Crack rocks can be off-white, pink, tan, or light brown due to the agents added in the cooking process.

Why Smoke Crack?

Additionally, smoking crack allows it to reach the brain much more quickly by absorption through the lungs. Because of these compounding effects, smoking crack is notoriously addictive, with many individuals becoming addicted after a single-use.

Furthermore, crack is often less expensive than cocaine. This makes it affordable in lower-income neighborhoods and for teenagers, leading to its ongoing popularity. In fact, 71% of all cocaine admissions to treatment that year in 2006 were for people on crack cocaine.

Smoking Crack Effects and Abuse

Crack is typically smoked in a pipe, which is usually made of thin glass. This by itself is dangerous since the thin glass often causes serious burning of the hands and lips, leading to what is sometimes referred to as “crack lips” – lips with burns, visible dryness, and sores.

Crack pipes may also be improvised with tin foil, small bottles, or other household items. The effects of smoking crack often appear in less than a minute, peaking in 3-5 minutes. Given the short duration of the high, many people on crack feel that they must continually smoke crack to experience the sensation. Crack, when smoked, produces feelings of euphoria and alertness. But there are also serious short-term and long-term health consequences.

Some short-term consequences of smoking crack included:

  • Overdose – even after one use
  • Racing heart
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Fever
  • Contracted blood vessels
  • Hallucinations
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Violent behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Convulsions

Smoking crack also increases the likelihood of heart attack, stroke, fatal breathing issues, convulsions, and self-harm, even if only used one time. These dangers are intensified because crack may be mixed with toxic chemicals, which are even more deadly than the cocaine from which it was derived.

The long-term consequences of smoking crack are serious, and sometimes irreversible including:

  • Heart attack
  • Immune system issues and chronic sickness
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Stroke
  • Convulsions
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Lung damage
  • Permanent brain damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pains
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Malnutrition and anemia
  • Respiratory failure
  • Severe depression
  • Infertility
  • Abscesses
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation

Mental Illness and Crack

In many cases, there are co-occurring mental health conditions that trigger crack usage. Pre-existing depression, despair and hopelessness, self-sabotage, bipolar disorder, and unresolved family issues can drive individuals to smock crack. To give those addicted to crack the best chance of lasting recovery, people who smoke crack must be offered medical and therapeutic options to address all physical and mental health issues. This is because addiction to crack can be almost impossible to escape once it has begun.

Many crack users report feeling so desperate while in the throes of addiction that they engaged in dangerous, illegal behavior, such as theft, prostitution, and even violent crimes. This is because the addictive power of smoking crack is that those who are addicted begin to lose control of their bodies and minds, doing anything literally to obtain more of the drug. And the addiction is almost immediate – meaning that one bad choice can lead to a physical and mental health spiral.

Furthermore, the symptoms of withdrawal are devastating and start almost as soon as the high disappears. Withdrawal symptoms for those who smoke crack can include severe depression, agitation, nightmares, physical pain, violence, and cognitive impairment. These feelings can be so intense that crack addicts have committed suicide while in withdrawal.

In addition to addiction’s mental health consequences, the cognitive impairments and chemical imbalances created by smoking crack can be long-lasting. Paranoia, hallucinations, mood swings, and depression can torment those who struggle to break their addiction to crack cocaine.

Treatment for Smoking Crack

There is currently no FDA approved drug to assist with ending addiction to crack cocaine. With that in mind, the first step in the recovery process should be medically assisted detoxification. The withdrawal process of crack cocaine can be torturous, and it is not advised to attempt to quit using crack without professional help. However, medically assisted detoxification helps offset the most painful symptoms and guarantees medical care in case of a heart attack or stroke.

These experts will also assist with the depression that follows withdrawal, and you may be prescribed Buspirone, an anti-anxiety medication, to help with restlessness in the aftermath of detoxification. While there are outpatient treatment options available, social factors are often a factor in crack addiction. Therefore, entering an inpatient treatment center can provide an opportunity to escape peer pressure and focus on recovery.

Treatment centers will often provide a serene environment, with treatment plans, counselors, therapy, 12-step programs, and other resources to assist with your recovery. Recovering from an addiction to crack is difficult, but freedom from addiction is worth the struggle. And there are many facilities available to help make this success possible.

Resurgence Behavioral Health

You can be free from addiction. Free to live the happy, healthy life you deserve. And Resurgence Behavioral Health can help you get there. Our lovely, convenient locations in Fullerton Hills, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, and Huntington Beach, blend the comforts of home with the cutting edge treatments you need.

Resurgence Behavioral Health offers experienced, understanding addiction specialists, medical professionals, certified counselors, and licensed therapists – all of whom understand your needs and are here to support you. Our facilities are judgment-free and entirely focused on your recovery needs, ensuring the best possible outcome for you, and those you love.

We offer results-driven, social and medical drug detoxification, residential, outpatient, partial hospitalization programs, counseling, and other customized resources to help you achieve your goals. You are not alone.

Call Resurgence Behavioral Health and start your journey today.

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Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

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