Drug Rehabilitation Blog

Crack Cocaine Effects: A Killer Infographic

The Dangerous Effects of Crack Cocaine


Crack Cocaine Kills

While the act of smoking crack cocaine results in an immediate, intense high, these feelings of elation only last about fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, with long-term use, the high is replaced by a greatly increased risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease – as well as a life-altering addiction.

Crack or Cocaine?

Crack is simply a term for the rock form of cocaine. Crack is made by processing powder cocaine with baking soda and water, creating a stiff, brittle compound that’s broken into individual pieces that resemble yellow-white rocks.

Crack was first developed in the 1970s, but became a popular street drug in the 1980s, largely due to its relatively low cost as compared to powder cocaine. In the U.S. alone, at least 25 million people have tried cocaine at least once.

Short-Term Effects of Crack Cocaine

Almost immediately after smoking crack, users experience an initial rush. They may feel excessively alert and even euphoric, but this feeling only lasts from five to fifteen minutes before subsiding. Crack actually alters brain chemistry, making users develop strong cravings for more, even after a single use.

Cocaine users’ eyes reflect the drug’s influence, especially when it comes to pupil size; while normal pupil dilation ranges from 3 to 4 mm, crack use results in twice the dilation, or a range of 6 to 8 mm. The whites of the eyes turn red and bloodshot.

Other short-term side effects include dry, chapped lips and nose and foul-smelling breath.

After the initial high passes, users are left with a low that’s characterized by irritation, agitation, and discomfort.

Risks of Crack Cocaine Abuse

Long-term crack use leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and stroke due to high blood pressure. Regular use also increases the risk of aortic dissection, or tears in the body’s major artery.

Other risks from abuse include depression, irritability, aggressive behavior, paranoid thoughts, psychosis, and hallucinations. Crack users have a higher risk of brain seizures, respiratory failure, and sexual dysfunction.

In addition, crack addicts tend to be at an increased risk for homicide, suicide, domestic violence, as well as risky sexual behavior.

For fetuses exposed to cocaine while in the womb, side effects show up in early infancy.

Signs of Abuse or Addiction to Crack Cocaine

Crack abusers or addicts may display certain traits, including irritability, aggressive paranoia, compulsive fidgeting and scratching, restlessness, and erratic or violent behavior. Many users find it difficult to sleep and don’t want to eat. Crack abusers may experience tremors, mild convulsions, increased blood pressure, a racing heart rate, and fever. Signs of abuse also include cravings for the drug and constricted blood vessels.

Signs of Chronic Crack Cocaine Use

Chronic crack users tend to display a number of physical symptoms, like itchy skin, runny nose, tooth grinding, constant sore throat, hoarse voice, and chest pains or asthma. Systemically, chronic crack use leads to symptoms like lethargy, fever, and excessive hunger. Reduced attention and sleep disorders — such as insomnia and hypersomnia — are common.

If You Suspect Cocaine or Crack Use

Crack users store the drug in small containers, usually with white, powdery residue inside. They often smoke from glass pipes or foil. Cocaine users may use small glass or plastic straws, mirrors, and razor blades to snort cocaine. These signs may indicate crack or cocaine use. If you – or someone you know – has a problem with crack cocaine there is hope. You can contact us today to learn about drug rehabilitation treatments.

Crack cocaine symptoms can be similar to other drug use symptoms, as well. For instance, bath salt abuse can cause many of the same physical symptoms.


  • Diane C

    I had no idea that the effects of taking cocaine only lasted 5-15 minutes! Can the high be that good that you would continue to use it especially with how expensive this habit can be just for that short of a high? It doesn’t sound like it could be to me. Then you take into account the bad effects this drug has on the body and mind and it makes even less sense. We definitely need to get these people into a good rehab program where they can overcome this addiction and get on with their life in a good way.

  • Methods Making Crack Cocaine

    […] The Dangerous Effects of Crack Cocaine: An Infographic – Crack cocaine is the rock form of cocaine. Typically smoked, crack cocaine produces an intense, short high that leads to quick addiction and danger. […]

  • Walter

    I find it amazing that there are that many people that have smoked crack. I remember hearing about people who had used crack, and the thought of it is just appalling. It is hard to believe that when people use crack or coke that the high only lasts for 5-15 minutes. I do not see why people would want to use something like that. I remember when I was in school there was always talk about using this drug, but something about it just seemed to be too much. I was involved in some risky behaviors, but there is the fact that there are a lot of people that are not so lucky. I see the side effects that are listed for the use of cocaine and crack and it is very clear that there is a problem involving these drugs that needs to get knocked out. The fact that people would make something like that is just disgusting. I think that this infographic is very descriptive and does a good job at handling the questions that exist from not knowing all of the straight info on cocaine. I think that there is quite a bit of danger still involved in crack, although I am sure that there is a lessening of it but I am not sure. There is a lot to be said about the prevalence of this drug, and I think this article will help to get the word out.

  • Amanda

    Crack cocaine is something scary! I think that the fact that we are still having this as a problem is amazing and not in a bad way. It is just appalling that there is still such a problem with a drug that does as much damage as this one does. The side of it that is the most amazing is the dangers of this drug and what it does on the body. The dangerous effects of this drug are amazing. I did not know that there were that many different side effects. I remember in school I learned about a lot of the side effects, but I know that there were a lot of ones that the school did not cover. I just think that more people need to be properly educated and then that will do something about the drug problems that are there.

  • Lynn Labombard

    Crack is horrible. I have lived with a crack addict for 21 years. they will lie, manipulate, steal from you, indulge in risky sexual behaviors, spend every dime they has or can steal on crack.My crack addict is an intelligent professional that works and has spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on crack over the years. He has lost multiply jobs, has had multiply arrests, car accidents,tickets and emergency room visits for over doses, including mild heart attack and stroke. He keeps going back to the drug,refuses all help.He has very aggressive behaviors and get very violent when coming down off the drug, especially if he thinks your trying to prevent him from being with the love of his life,”crack”. He recently throw me into a wall and was arrest again for domestic assault. Unfortunately the pleasure of the drug out weighs the painful consequences.

  • Dante

    Just cause u smoke crack doesn’t mean your going out stealing,robbing people
    Or walking around scratching with crusty lips.When you done a big amount coming of the high your chest hearts you feel like your gonna die

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