- Crack Drug Facts
- How Crack Cocaine Makes You Feel
- What Is Crack Addiction & Its Related Effects?
- How To Identify Crack Addiction or Abuse
- Crack Addiction Treatment Options
- Frequently Asked Questions About Crack
- Overcome Crack Addiction. Start Healing Today.
You may hear references in movies or TV, read about it in books, or even hear about it from friends or family, but what is crack? Crack is cocaine in rock or crystal form and is an impure type of cocaine. When in rock form, it’s typically smoked while powder is snorted or liquified and injected. Most often, crack is combined with additives such as baking soda.
Due to the low cost to acquire it, crack is often a drug of choice among people with substance use disorders.
Crack Drug Facts
Crack cocaine is harvested from the coca plant. Most of the time, it’s produced in Columbia, Bolivia, and Peru and then smuggled to the United States and other parts of the world.
Hydrochloride salt and the “freebase” are the two forms of cocaine that are available. Cocaine is converted into its water-soluble, crystalline powder, which decomposes when heated by dissolving the alkaloid in hydrochloric acid. The street name for cocaine made from cocaine hydrochloride is “crack.”
Crack vs. Cocaine: What’s The Difference?
The main distinction between cocaine and crack is that the former comes in the form of a powder, whereas the latter takes the shape of a rock. There are numerous more significant differences, though.
Cocaine is typically snorted or injected, whereas crack is smoked using a glass pipe. The effects of crack happen instantaneously, while cocaine might take anywhere between 3-5 minutes to set in. Cocaine tends to be more expensive than crack, which is how it got a reputation for being the “rich man’s drug.”
Compared to cocaine, crack carries a larger risk of dependency. Many users of crack endure cycles of binging and crashing because the effects of crack are more transient.
While crack and cocaine may differ in several ways, their effects are frequently similar, and the potential to become addicted to these substances is also significant.
What Crack Looks Like
Crystals, or “rocks,” are created during the crack cocaine manufacturing process. These come in various shades, including opaque white, off-white, and yellow. Their size and shape vary.
Crack may sometimes be combined with baking soda. When broken down, crack looks like a white powder which becomes a form of cocaine. Sometimes in order to distinguish their “brand” of crack cocaine, some traffickers will add food coloring.
Crack Street Names
The substance generates a crackling sound when heated and used. Therefore the name “Crack.” Crack has a variety of street names which may change based on region.
You might hear one of the following when referencing crack cocaine by a street name:
- Pixie Dust
- Apple jacks
- Snow White
- Devil Drug
- French Fries
- Ice Cube
- Rock Star
- Sugar Block
- Jelly Beans
- Fat Bags
- Booger Sugar
- Crunch + Munch
- Snow Coke
What Crack Smells Like
The smell of crack smoke is frequently compared to that of meth. You might smell gasoline, paint, the scent of a nail salon, burning rubber, or burning plastic.
Contrarily, cocaine is well renowned for having a delicate floral aroma. However, since snorting rather than smoking is the preferred mode of consumption, it is extremely improbable that one could detect cocaine solely by smell.
How Crack Is Used
Crack can be used in various ways. In its rock form, smoking crack is the preferred method. In its cocaine form, snorting is the preferred way, although it can be liquified and injected.
Crack smoking is a quick and simple way to develop a serious drug addiction. Even first-time users can experience heart attacks and seizures, and it can ruin both your physical and emotional health. Without the substance, some crack users are unable to function sexually. The inverse is also true; some crack cocaine users are unable to perform sexually while abusing the drug.
How Long Crack Stays In Your System
Generally speaking, the use of crack and cocaine can be identified in blood tests up to 24 hours after the last use (and up to two weeks for heavy users), urine up to three days after the last use, saliva up to two days, and hair up to 90 days.
There are additional factors that contribute to the length that crack stays in your system, however. For instance, how much crack you typically smoke and how frequently you do so may change how long it stays in your system. The more and longer you consume the drug, the longer it will stay in your system.
Your metabolism is also a contributing factor. If you have a fast metabolism, crack will leave your system more quickly than someone with a slower metabolism. How old you are may also impact the length of time crack remains in your system. Typically, older users metabolize crack much slower than younger users. Other factors like body fat, medications, and infections within the body all change the way your body metabolizes crack and how long it stays in your system.
How To Identify Crack Paraphernalia
Knowing the accessories that are frequently used in conjunction with crack cocaine use can be useful if you are worried that someone you care about may be a user of the substance.
There are many items to look for if you suspect someone of using crack or cocaine.
Hollowed-out lightbulbs: Instead of using a glass bong or pipe, some people who use crack will heat the drug using light bulbs. As a result of being heated via the bulb, the used light bulb most likely has scorch marks on the bottom.
Aluminum cans: A typical household smoking device is an aluminum can, a soda or pop can with pin-sized holes in the depression, or a straw device inserted and sealed with tin foil. Other substances like marijuana may be used with this specific equipment. However, it does suggest drug usage of some kind, so it should not be disregarded.
Glass pipes or bongs: The primary method of smoking is using a crack pipe. A crack pipe often consists of a long glass stem with a glass ball attached at the base. The user inhales the fumes through the stem after inserting the crack into the ball and heating it (with a lighter or something similar).
The glass ball of a used pipe will have scorch lines where it was heated to release the gasses, and the stem will have a brown residue.
Needles and “cooking” equipment: One can inject crack. It will first be required to use “heating up” equipment, which is the same equipment used for IV heroin use, to transform the crack into a liquid solution.
Mirrors with white residue: Users of cocaine will frequently snort the drug on mirrors to see all available powder. If you find a handheld mirror featuring white residue, this is an indication of cocaine use.
Rolled dollars or cut straws: To snort cocaine, many people roll bills or cut straws as a vehicle to snort the drug.
Tiny Spoons: Small spoons are often used to scoop cocaine out of bags to snort the drug on the go. You might find a small spoon with white residue.
Tiny Ziplock bags: To transport the drug, you might find tiny Ziplock bags lying around.
How Crack Cocaine Makes You Feel
At least when compared to other class-A drugs, the effects of crack are not very long-lasting. The effects of crack start right away, but they only last for about 5 to 15 minutes on average. Following, the user will go through a comedown period marked by strong drug cravings.
Cocaine also produces an intense high but typically lasts a bit longer than crack. Cocaine is often used by people with substance use disorders, particularly alcohol, as it makes the user feel less drunk.
Cocaine is also abused by people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), because the drug gives them energy and, at times, the ability to focus.
Crack Addiction Statistics
Crack is incredibly addicting, even when used for the first time. Furthermore, its counterpart, cocaine, has been involved in nearly 1 in 5 overdose deaths .
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, 6,222,000 Americans 12 and older have used crack at least once in their lifetime. Many individuals who have used crack do not fit the typical descriptions of who uses it or for what reasons. You are not alone if you battle crack, cocaine, or other addictions, no matter who you are or where you are in life.
Getting accurate statistics on crack and cocaine addiction is difficult. This is due to the fact that, despite their ignorance, stigmas and preconceptions around crack use have resulted in laws that are unjust, racialized, and classist in their treatment of those who use, possess, or trade the drug. And as a result, data on crime, punishment, and crack is skewed.
The truth is, crack and cocaine do not discriminate based on race, age, or socioeconomic status. Anyone can quickly become addicted to this drug,
What Is Crack Addiction & Its Related Effects?
Crack cocaine is a highly addictive illicit substance. Due to how it interacts with the brain and the body, it drives intense cravings and causes the user to seek more. Initially, one may experience a euphoric sensation due to a dopamine rush, but this effect is short-lived and comes at a dangerous cost.
The side effects that are associated with crack include the following:
- Instantaneous high lasting from 5-10 minutes
- Decreased appetite
- Increased heart rate
- Intense cravings for the drug
- Heightened alertness
Some negative side effects of crack include:
- Dilated pupils
- Mood swings
- Chapped lips
- Aggressive behavior
- Heart failure
- The feeling of bugs crawling under the skin
Short-Term Effects of Cocaine
People become addicted to cocaine for a reason. Its effects on the brain and body cause the user to seek out and crave more of it. This substance induces a high euphoric experience in its users. It could also be described as a tremendous dopamine rush.
The side effects that are associated with cocaine include the following:
- Decreased appetite
- Increased heart rate
- Intense cravings for the drug
- Heightened alertness
Some negative side effects of cocaine include:
- Dilated pupils
- Mood swings
- The “drip” feeling in the back of the throat
- Clogged sinuses
- Aggressive behavior
- Heart failure
- Consuming more alcohol than normal or safe
Long-Term Effects of Cocaine
Recovery from cocaine dependence is critical. Not merely because of the psychological, financial, and social problems involved with substance use, but because of the long-term bodily harm caused by the drug.
Additionally, it could be challenging to know just how to assist someone who might be having problems with cocaine use. The long-term health effects of crack and cocaine include many problems for the body.
Smoking crack cocaine is more likely to result in major respiratory issues than snorting cocaine because the sinus cavity, which connects to the throat and upper respiratory system, can be damaged. Lung blood vessels tighten, alveolar walls are damaged, preventing oxygen from entering the bloodstream, and capillaries that transport oxygen to the rest of the body may also be damaged.
Consistent blood vessel constriction can lessen the amount of oxygen the brain receives, which can harm the brain. In addition, because the arterial walls supplying the brain are damaged, the chance of an aneurysm increases.
Other problems with long-term use include:
- Heart Attack
- Changes in blood pressure
- Weight Loss
The Dangers Of Mixing Crack and Cocaine With Other Substances
Alcohol is a sedative that has varying effects on each person. The likelihood that a person will become intoxicated depends on a variety of factors, including weight, mood, psychological history, and even whether or not the person is drinking on an empty stomach. Increase an already risky situation by mixing alcohol and crack cocaine addiction.
When used separately, alcohol or crack cocaine abuse can have a serious negative impact on a person. However, the effects of combining crack cocaine and alcohol go beyond a simple accumulation of the highs brought on by each drug. The consequences of combining crack cocaine and alcohol are multiplied, resulting in a psychological and physical scenario that is worse than the sum of its parts.
One of the most lethal polydrug combinations is the speedball, a mixture of cocaine and heroin. It is taken together with other medications to increase the effects of each. The result is a strong euphoria with a pleasant and relaxing sense because cocaine is a stimulant and heroin is depressive.
When two substances, such as cocaine and heroin, are combined, their opposing effects cause the body to struggle. Heroin slows breathing, while cocaine’s stimulant effects increase the need for oxygen in the lungs.
Confusion results from the body receiving conflicting messages, which puts extra stress on the heart, lungs, and brain. The fact that cocaine’s effects wear off more quickly than those of heroin makes problems worse, encouraging the user to inject more to feel the effects once more.
Crack Withdrawal Symptoms
When stopping or coming off the drug, someone who is physically and psychologically dependent on crack cocaine will experience withdrawal symptoms.
The user’s tolerance, metabolism, length of addiction, the intensity of addiction, and the presence of underlying mental health disorders are just a few of the unique aspects that might affect an individual’s withdrawal symptoms.
Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Trouble focusing
- Mood swings
- Drug cravings
- Lack of motivation
- Pleasure suppression
Signs Of A Crack Overdose
Overdose is a dangerous consequence of crack addiction. Someone who uses crack for the first time may overdose due to the drug’s powerful effects. Large amounts of crack instantly enter the body when it is inhaled into the lungs.
Because of the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms, the risk of an overdose is significant as the user may increase the dosage to combat the effects.
Some signs of an overdose from crack include:
- Slow and weak pulse
- Pain in the chest
- Trouble breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Heart attack
Knowing the symptoms of a crack overdose is crucial. An overdose is a severe medical emergency and needs help right away. Call 911 immediately if you or a loved one notices any indications of a crack overdose.
How To Identify Crack Addiction or Abuse
New Financial issues: Even though crack cocaine is notoriously inexpensive compared to powder cocaine, it is not free. Crack cocaine users may spend whatever money is required to support their dependence as they battle cravings. Someone who has unexpected financial trouble may be paying for their habit.
Criminal behavior: Someone struggling with crack dependence may first pawn their favorite guitar or family heirlooms before taking things from others. They might take their parent’s possessions or sell their roommate’s valuables. They will turn to the streets once they have exhausted the available items nearby to steal.
Change in their personality: Searching for personality changes can be a stronger clue that anything is amiss than looking for signs of a crack high or withdrawal. You may have a crack cocaine problem if someone starts drastically changing their habits.
Physical changes: The high from crack is short-lived, but the physical signs of withdrawal may linger longer and may be a more obvious sign that a loved one needs help.
Crack Addiction Treatment Options
When a person is sucked into the cycle of substance abuse, their mental health, financial health, and life might take a turn for the worse. It’s important to seek help from a treatment center or a trusted health provider to battle an addiction like crack once it’s begun. The first step is to detox from crack to get the drug out of your system and then begin the process of healing.
Crack and Substance Use Detox
Detoxing at an inpatient treatment center provides the best rate of success with a team of medical professionals experienced in what you need. Detox is a difficult and challenging process, but under the care of a medical detox facility, you’ll have a safe outlet to escape substance use.
We know it can be hard to overcome a crack dependence. It is important to stick to a treatment program with an outpatient component to reinforce all you learn and have access to the support you need when you need it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Crack
Here are a few frequently asked questions about crack and cocaine.
Can a person overdose on cocaine?
Cocaine is one of the more dangerous stimulants on the market, primarily due to the risk of overdose, which can result in death from various problems, including heart attack, seizure, and stroke.
What is the crack epidemic?
The early 1980s saw a considerable rise in the use of crack in the United States. Due to its accessibility, fast euphoric effect, and great profitability, crack cocaine became widely used. The crack pandemic caused a surge in addictions, fatalities, and drug-related crimes, which had particularly severe impacts on African American communities in inner cities.
What is the chemical in crack?
Both crack and cocaine are highly addictive illicit substances. Both of them are derived from the South American native coca plant. The plant’s benzoylmethylecgonine compound is a potent stimulant of the central nervous system with a high potential for abuse.
What does crack look like?
The process of making crack cocaine results in the formation of crystals, or “rocks.” These are available in many colors, such as opaque white, off-white, and yellow. Their shapes and sizes differ.
How long does crack stay in your system?
In general, crack, and cocaine usage can be detected in blood tests for up to 24 hours, urine for up to three days, saliva for up to two days, and in hair up to 90 days after the last use.
Overcome Crack Addiction. Start Healing Today.
Treatment for addiction is a gift, not a penalty. It’s a chance to live life to the fullest. If you or a loved one is dealing with an addiction to crack, we know the difficulty it can place on individuals and families. A crack addiction has the power to uproot lives and careers.
There is no shame in seeking help for crack addiction. At Infinite Recovery, we welcome clients with addictions with open arms and compassion. Contact us today to start the road to healing today. We’ll be with you every step of the way.
 NIDA. 2021, July 9. What are the long-term effects of cocaine use? Retrieved from https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-long-term-effects-cocaine-use on 2023, January 5
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021, November 18. Other drugs. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/deaths/other-drugs.html on 2023, January 5
 National Drug Intelligence Center. (n.d.). Crack cocaine fast facts. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs3/3978/index.htm on 2023, January 5