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Article Summary

What you should know about crack addiction?

Crack is the name for cocaine that is processed into purified form of "freebase". Freebase is smokable cocaine. People have been smoking freebase for a while, but in the past converting cocaine into freebase needed the use of highly flammable substances. A safer way to convert cocaine freebase is now available with the help of local products such as ammonia or baking soda in the conversion process. The result is "crack", so called because it makes crackling sound when smoked. Crack appears as small, white, beige or gray colored stones or chips.

What are the effects of crack?

Because crack is derived from cocaine, effects of the two drugs are similar. Cracks users start feeling the effects of the drug within two seconds. The high lasts for about 10 minutes. Abusers tend to smoke crack frequently to avoid feeling depressed.

Most people who buy crack are in their 20s and early 30s, although more teenagers are getting involved with this drug. Children as young as eight years buy and use crack. Many dealers use teenagers to sell drugs, as there is a lighter sentence for them, if caught.

Why are so many people addicted to crack?

The two main reasons behind the popularity of crack are: 1) the high is instant and 2) the cost is affordable. Drug dealers are able to quickly and cheaply manufacture crack. In addition, people who may object to swallowing a pill or injecting drugs can easily experiment with crack, because it can be smoked.

Can a person become addicted to other drugs while using crack?

Yes, many users begin taking other drugs to relieve some of the depression and feelings of panic due to the effects of crack. This can make them addicted to alcohol, marijuana, barbiturates, stimulants and opiates. This also increases the risk of overdose or fatal reactions due to the increase of drugs in the body.

Possible symptoms of crack use

The following list contains the possible symptoms of crack use. It is important to note that most people will experience one or more of these behaviors due to other reasons.

  • Unusual explosive episodes of rage
  • Tantrums
  • Suspicion
  • Suicidal thoughts or movements
  • Theft
  • School problems
  • Confidentiality of activities, phone calls and friends
  • Reckless behavior
  • Possession of drug equipment
  • Poor school performance
  • Personality changes
  • Paranoia
  • Nervousness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, recreation, personal appearance or sports
  • Isolation from family, friends and other
  • Irritability
  • The inability to relate to people
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hallucinations
  • Grandiose behavior
  • Delusions
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in physical health
  • Changes in friends
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Changes in attitudes
  • Association with known drug users
  • Sudden changes in mood

Physical effects of crack on the body

The following list contains some of the most common physical effects induced by the use of crack. It is important to realize that not everyone will experience all of these physical effects. Physical effects of cocaine and crack depend on how the drug is induced in the body (injected, snorted or swallowed).

  • Weight Loss
  • Vulnerability to emphysema
  • Vomiting
  • Tremor
  • Physical weakness
  • Nausea
  • malnutrition
  • Loss of appetite
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia
  • dramatic changes in breathing
  • dramatic changes in blood pressure
  • Damaged tissues of the nose
  • Damaged Lungs
  • Attacks
  • chronic nasal congestion
  • Chronic hoarseness
  • Chronic cough
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • chest tightness
  • Changes in body temperature
  • Stroke


The exact amount of crack that should be considered as overdose is unknown and varies from one person to another. Some people have a high tolerance level, while others may have little or no tolerance to these drugs. Furthermore, an individual's level of tolerance varies from day to day. An additional problem related to overdose includes fatal reactions that may result from contaminants found in crack.

How can rehab programs help people who use crack?

At the most basic level, rehab provides a physical separation from drugs like crack, which is always the first step. Over the next 4 weeks, you are going to see many changes in your patient; positive changes. All of a sudden, they are smiling again, eating three meals a day, and have lost (at least for now anyway) that sunken eyes look that is common amongst all crack addicts.

Rehab is nothing new, and abstinence is great, but they know something that you don't yet. They know that recovery really begins the day the client is discharged out into the free world again. They also know that the real recovery work that needs to be done is on the inside, not the outside.

Most rehab facilities want members of the family of the patient to participate in the initial appointment, which usually involves talking with the patient. A counselor assesses the problem and recommends a treatment plan.

There are usually two types of treatment plans recommended by doctors.

Outpatient treatment

This includes individual, group and family therapy. The patient continues to reside at home, and goes to the center once or several times a week for treatment. This type of treatment is very effective in helping people who are in the early stages of drug use and addiction. Treatment usually involves participation in self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous. The treatment time varies depending on the severity of the case.

Inpatient treatment

This involves sending the patient to a program for a certain period of time, usually one month to one year. On average, most of the inpatient programs last 45 days. The patient is involved in individual or group therapy daily. The family is also sometimes involved in the treatment program. After completion of the treatment phase, patients, participate in subsequent aftercare sessions.

The patient is also introduced to self-help groups. It is usually recommended that patients should continue to engage themselves with a self help group upon their return to the family. Inpatient treatment is usually used for people who have developed a chronic condition of crack dependency.

Final thoughts

Lying and deceit are at the core of addiction, and often are the toughest obstacles to overcome, but it can be done. It requires support from family and friends, and patients need to be held accountable for their life, just not punished for it. Drug addiction is a horrible affliction, and it takes time to recover from it, you should expect bad times, but not fear them.

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