Crack cocaine is more potent than regular cocaine. It takes the form of a small rock, often crystalline and usually off white color. The drug has a numbing feeling on the tongue when tasted. Crack addicts smoke crack for the euphoria and psychological “reward.”
Crack addiction is never something anyone can plan for. Most people who find themselves addicted to crack never thought that they could lose themselves completely to an addiction that started as “fun.” However, over the years, the cases of addiction to crack cocaine have risen sporadically. Adults within the age group of 18 to 25 are the highest current users of cocaine; this age group can be categorized as most students.
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The Unprecedented Availability of Crack Cocaine
In 2014 about 913,000 individuals met the criteria for cocaine dependency and close to half of the total visits to the emergency department had to do with cocaine abuse. The use of crack among students of the 8th grade and above continued to increase since the 1990s to date.
The availability of crack cocaine is widespread in schools, colleges, and on the streets. The distribution is often very common in residential areas for low-income earners. A 2010 survey showed that children at the age of 13 were already exposed to crack and about 45% of students in the twelfth grade stated that cocaine was very easy to obtain around the vicinity.
Every addiction story is often different but with slightly similar dynamics, some started as an experimental phase in college, while others from peer pressure or a need to belong to the most popular group in school due to parental neglect. The origin is of the drug is usually a friend from school.
When a friend or a relative begins to spiral from illicit drug use, there are usually signs that can be seen during the transition. Continued use of crack is fatal and increases dependency.
How Dangerous Is Crack?
Most people who have ever used crack spend time, energy, resources, and income trying to secure more crack, why do they do this? Crack is one of the most addictive substances in the world, it causes the release of the excitatory neurotransmitter, dopamine, which controls pleasure and reward in the brain. The first use is usually so intense that it is almost impossible to attain the “first high” so most crack users become hooked on the feeling of the first high, chasing the feeling of “pleasure” and increasing the amount used each time.
The effects of smoking crack may vary from one person to the other. The effects are both psychological and physical. The more you use it, the more addicted you become and withdrawal symptoms/side effects would present themselves even faster than before.
Immediate Side Effects of Smoking Crack Include:
- Irregular Appetite
- Nose Bleeds
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Muscle twitches
- Heart failure
- Contracted blood vessels
- Intense craving for the substance
- Dilated eyes
- Blisters and burns on the lips
- High body temp
- Hallucination and paranoia aggression
- Coke bugs
The long term effect of using crack cocaine includes but not limited to:
- Heart failure
- Delirium tremens
- Risky behaviors
- Damage to lungs and liver
- Sexual dysfunction
- Tooth decay
- Damage to blood vessels
Most individuals who start using cocaine try to hide their addiction by any means necessary. If you are the very observant type the first thing you may notice is drug paraphernalia. When the crack is smoked, it may be used together with other substances such as tobacco and marijuana.
Some Common Items That May Be Found Around An Addict Include:
- Filters such as steel wool, copper gauze, and faucet aerators: these are mainly to keep the substance in place
- Light bulb and glass pipes: shattered glass is sometimes used as a makeshift device for heating the crack
- Tinfoil and straws: the heat is applied under the tin foil and inhaled with the straw
- Aluminum can: also used to burn crack cocaine
These are a few objects that may indicate the use of crack. However, even with the presence or absence of this paraphernalia, there is a need to be absolutely certain that a friend or relative may be addicted to crack.
How Can You Tell If Someone Is a Crack Addict?
A most recurrent question is “how can I tell if someone is addicted to crack?” There are quite a number of visible signs especially if this individual is someone you have known for a period of time, even before the addiction. The addict is likely to exhibit bursts of energy and unreasonable excitement. The manic progression may include rapid talking, sudden high levels of food consumption. The drug is fast-acting and wears off after a brief period, where the individual suddenly loses momentum and begins to appear fatigued. In some cases, he or she may fall asleep wherever they are and remain asleep for a very long period of time.
The switch between an overly excited, boisterous attitude and the exhaustion on daily basis is a clear indication of crack use. There is usually a huge distortion is sleep patterns which means that the addict may be asleep or awake at odd hours of the day. Schoolwork and career is usually affected negatively because of inconsistency in keeping up appearance.
Most addicts smoke crack while some snort it. The snorting often leads to nosebleeds because of the sensitivity of the nasal lining and the frequency at which this route is used. Long term snorting may cause the tearing of the nasal lining and the mucous lining in the throat; this will cause difficulty in speaking and swallowing. This is why some crack addicts can be identified by their chronic sore throat and extremely hoarse voice.
When you take a close look at a crack addict, one of the things that you will likely notice is the bloodshot eyes and their dilated pupils. This is because of the effect of the drug in the brain. The pupils also have a delayed reaction to light.
Mood swings, aggressiveness, and misconduct should always be expected as well. A typical addict finds it difficult to balance the relationship with friends and family and may prefer to just stay out of sight while living in denial of their addiction.
The neural stimulation that one feels while using crack cocaine leads to an outburst of energy. Sometimes this presents with involuntary actions such as jittering or shakiness of limbs.
Staying off crack, for an addict, can be very painful; the individual may find themselves living in depression, anxiety, even having suicidal thoughts. The withdrawal symptoms experienced is often very overwhelming and can be fatal.
When a person is addicted to crack, the next thing that follows is the vehement search for peddlers and dealers. At this point, the addict knows that they have no control over their craving and would continue the search for more crack for psychological satisfaction.
Treatment For Crack Addiction
Treating crack addiction can only be done in a specialized environment where the addict can get all the care that they need from professionals. Addiction is a life-long condition that cannot be treated completely but can be managed to ensure that the addict is able to live a normal life. The first step is to enroll in a rehab facility for detox and other medical treatment such as the 12-step program and other intensive treatment regimens. An aftercare program is also essential to guide the patient through their newfound life.