Crack cocaine is the crystallized form of powdered cocaine, and it can look like crystals or rocks with varying colors. Crack is most commonly smoked (freebased) with a glass pipe, allowing it to quickly travel to the brain, making it the most dangerous and addictive form of cocaine. In fact, crack cocaine is usually 75% to 100% pure, unlike powdered cocaine, which can be cut with filler ingredients to lessen the potency and stretch the supply.
People with a crack addiction generally have a combination of physical and mental dependence on the drug, making it incredibly difficult to stop using. With consistent use, crack cocaine addiction can snowball out of control and make living a normal life next to impossible. If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of crack cocaine, you are not alone in this battle. Users need professional treatment for addiction symptoms and crack withdrawal.
What is Crack Cocaine Addiction?
Crack cocaine is an illicit street drug and many users prefer smoking crack over snorting cocaine because crack is fast-acting and much cheaper than powdered cocaine. Crack cocaine is a stimulant that affects the body’s central nervous system. When you smoke crack, your brain instantly gets flooded with the neurotransmitter, dopamine (the “feel-good” hormone). Once the dopamine rush kicks in, cocaine works to prevent its reuptake, leaving it there anywhere from 5 to ten minutes, until the high starts to fade.
Although a crack high is short-lived, repeated use alters the brain’s reward system, and crack addiction forms. People generally find that crack addiction happens quickly. And just like with other drugs, as dependence grows, so does the need for higher amounts of crack to achieve the same high.
Cocaine has a pervasive presence in our society and its harmful effects do not discriminate. Out of all cocaine users in the United States, about a quarter smoke crack cocaine. Seemingly successful people, mothers, fathers, and young adults alike can develop an addiction to crack cocaine. If you’re in this situation, you are not alone and AION Health Group can help.
What Is Crack Cocaine?
For thousands of years, people in South America have utilized and ingested native coca leaves for its stimulant effects. And in the early 1900s, cocaine was used by medical professionals as an important anesthetic. While the medicinal value of cocaine isn’t talked about much these days, it’s still used by medical professionals and in surgeries to treat a variety of conditions. However, in terms of the illicit street drug, today’s cocaine is derived from the coca plant and altered with a slew of chemicals, dried, and packaged for illegal distribution.
Crack cocaine came about as a result of the uptick in cocaine use during the 1970s. With the widespread availability of cocaine, drug prices dropped dramatically, leaving dealers to find another way to sell their product. Dealers found an alternative way of processing cocaine by creating crack rocks (which could be smoked) and sold in smaller quantities, but to many more people – and that’s how the U.S. crack epidemic started. By 1986, crack could be found in all but four states, a true testament to how quickly this drug spread throughout the country.
Most people think of a white powdery substance when they think of cocaine, but there are actually a few types of cocaine:
Crack cocaine: Is the crystallized form of cocaine. It may look like crystals or rocks with varying colors and can be smoked. Crack cocaine is arguably the most dangerous of any form due to its potency and how quickly it travels to the brain.
Cocaine hydrochloride: Is a white, crystalline powder with a bitter taste. Dealers usually cut this powder before they sell it to stretch their product. This form is easy to snort or dissolve and inject, but it cannot be smoked.
Freebase cocaine: Is a white powder that has a much higher purity than cocaine hydrochloride. In fact, this type of cocaine has little to no hydrochloride additive. The purer the form, the lower the melting point, making this type easy to smoke as well.
Crack Cocaine Addiction Statistics
As stated before, people from all walks of life can fall victim to a crack addiction. However, this type of addiction is extremely difficult to hide because crack is short-acting, so users quickly need more to stay high.
Addiction statistics show that more than 30 states have experienced an increase in cocaine-related deaths since 2010 and Ohio is at the top of the list. Additionally, adults aged 18 to 25 years have a higher rate of cocaine use than any other age group (1.4% said they had used cocaine in the past month). More specifically, teens who are about to end their high school years are at higher risk of becoming addicts if they start using cocaine or crack cocaine before they graduate. This data shows that we must protect and educate young people on the potential long-term effects of drugs.
Starting a drug addiction early in life can have detrimental social, emotional, physical, and economic effects. Age aside, it’s important to remember that you or your loved one are never alone in this difficult battle against cocaine. With professional help, it’s possible to overcome an addiction and achieve long-term recovery.
Signs of Crack Cocaine Addiction
One of the major signs of crack addiction is when a user exhibits drug seeking behaviors to find their next fix or “chase the high.” You might find a crack addict engages in covert drug-seeking behaviors, almost as if they’re playing a game to keep friends and loved ones from finding out about their problem.
Crack addiction is very serious, and users will dramatically alter their daily lives around achieving their next high. Most addicts develop a physical dependence on crack because it changes the chemistry of the brain over time. As with any physical dependence, people addicted to crack will start noticing crack cocaine withdrawal symptoms upon cessation.
Crack addiction symptoms and signs can look like:
- Dilated pupils
- Burns on the mouth area or fingers from a hot pipe
- Staying up all night or for hours-on-end
- Erratic behavior
- Mood swings (irritability, depression, euphoria)
- Change in eating habits
- Loss of job, familial ties, custody of children
- Engaging in dangerous sexual behavior
- Becoming unavailable or hard to reach
While there can be other addiction symptoms, the aforementioned are some commonly seen with patients at AION Health Group.
Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms
Crack is a potent stimulant, so withdrawal can be a difficult process physically and psychologically as the body has become dependent on a drug that produces feelings of euphoria and hyperactivity. It can take anywhere from half an hour to almost 72 hours before a user starts feeling withdrawal symptoms of crack.
Residual symptoms like depression, anxiety, cravings, and irritability can last indefinitely and need to be monitored by medical professionals to ensure a successful recovery.
Here is a crack withdrawal symptoms list:
- Intense exhaustion
- Sleep disruption
- Intense cravings
- Changes in appetite
No one should undergo withdrawal alone, which is why it’s vital to seek professional help to get your life back on track. With the right support system in place, you can successfully withdrawal from crack.
Crack Cocaine Addiction Treatment
By now you should have a better understanding of what crack is, how addiction works, and the signs and symptoms of crack cocaine withdrawal. At AION Health Group, we provide patients with a comprehensive approach to addiction recovery through a wide range of addiction treatment programs at three, Florida-based rehab center locations.
Rehab South Florida (RSF) offers partial hospitalization addiction treatment plans and programs, along with outpatient detox programs, intensive outpatient, and MAT therapy (medically assisted treatment). RSF has a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment and provides one-on-one support to patients with the individualized care, treatment, and counseling they need to achieve successful recovery.
Detox of South Florida treatment center offers customized MAT treatment to manage withdrawal symptoms due to alcohol and drug addiction. With a focus on detoxification, patients can start a recovery journey with a clean slate and peace of mind.
AION Recovery provides an abstinence-based recovery program* with personalized care that combines exciting and proven-to-work activities that support a positive patient outcome. With award-winning support, “Gold Seal” Joint Commission Accreditation, and hundreds of wonderful patient testimonials, AION Recovery also offers a total-wellness approach that includes fitness, nutrition, psychological and medical support, as well as alternative pain management.
Contact AION Health Group Today
AION Health Group is an evidence-based group of recovery centers offering holistic-focused treatments aimed at providing each patient with total healing and long-term recovery from opiate addiction. Every day we help patients beat addiction with comprehensive and personalized recovery plans that combine our evidence-based and adventure-focused treatment models.
On-going opioid use can result in serious medical problems and even death. If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction and are ready to receive the support you need and deserve, call for help today at 888-912-2454 or contact us online for 24/7 help. Our qualified and compassionate Admissions staff is standing by for your call or email. Stop suffering and start living, you can overcome addiction. AION Health Group is here to help.
*abstinence-based recovery means patients will not receive medical comfort while detoxing.