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 other effects of crack cocaine abuse, along with a possible 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 of crack cocaine use 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 effects of crack cocaine.