Crack Cocaine Facts

Cocaine is a highly addictive illegal narcotic used today. The immediate and euphoric affects are enticing for people in the club scene and living on the streets. Cocaine’s usage has decreased over time from the popularity it once had in the 80s. Its freebase form, which is a processed form of cocaine hydrochloride, is commonly known on the streets as crack because it creates a “crackling” sound when smoked. Crack cocaine is processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water, then heated to remove the hydrochloride.

Effects of Crack Cocaine

The smokeable form of cocaine allows users to experience a “high” quicker than when the drug is snorted or injected. In less than ten seconds, a “high” can occur; however, the effects are short-lived. The drug reaches the brain within three to five minutes through snorting, fifteen to thirty seconds through injection, and almost immediately through smoking. Because of the severity of the high, the intensity of the “crash” can be serious and may cause users to return to the drug to escape the dreadful effects of withdrawal.

Crack cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant that increases levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical associated with pleasure and movement in the brain’s “reward” circuit. It is a means of communication between neurons in the brain. In its normal function, dopamine responds to a pleasurable signal by one of these neurons (e.g., the smell of good food). It is then recycled back into the cell that released it, shutting off the signal between neurons. Cocaine works counter-productively to this cycle by preventing the dopamine from being recycled. This causes large amounts of dopamine to build up, augmenting the message, and thus disrupting normal communication. This excess is the cause of for the euphoric effects experienced when taking cocaine. When the drug is repeatedly used, the long-term effects change the brain’s “reward” system and other systems in the brain as well, which inevitably can lead to addiction. Tolerance also occurs with repeated use, meaning that more of the drug is required to achieve the initial effects. In an attempt to prolong the euphoria and maintain the “high,” some users will increase their dose; but this can also increase the risk of adverse psychological or physiological effects.

Crack Cocaine Usage Statistics

All issues surrounding the use of crack cocaine are severe because of the seriousness of cocaine addiction and the harmful effects of its use. There is heightened concern about use among high school students. According to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Survey, in the United States alone, almost 4% of high school seniors had used the drug at least once in their lifetime, and more than 1% had used the drug in the past month.

The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse found that individuals of all ages have been reported to use crack cocaine. Studies estimated that over six million U.S. residents aged 12 and older used crack at least once in their lifetime. It also showed that roughly 150,000 individuals aged 12 to 17 and over one million individuals aged 18 to 25 had used the drug at least once.

Cocaine Addiction Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine and need cocaine rehab treatment, please call our toll free number. Someone is available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have about cocaine addiction treatment. We can help. Please make the call today.

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