WHAT IS CRACK COCAINE?
It is the crystal form of cocaine, which normally comes in a powder form. It comes in solid blocks or crystals varying in color from yellow to pale rose or white.
Crack is heated and smoked. It is so named because it makes a cracking or popping sound when heated.
Crack, the most potent form in which cocaine appears, is also the riskiest. It is between 75% and 100% pure, far stronger and more potent than regular cocaine.
Smoking crack allows it to reach the brain more quickly and thus brings an intense and immediate—but very short-lived—high that lasts about fifteen minutes. And because addiction can develop even more rapidly if the substance is smoked rather than snorted (taken in through the nose), an abuser can become addicted after his or her first time trying crack.
Specifics of Cocaine and Crack
Cocaine is a hydrochloride salt in its powdered form, while crack cocaine is derived from powdered cocaine by combining it with water and another substance, usually baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). After cocaine and baking soda are combined, the mixture is boiled, and solid forms. Once it’s cooled and broken into smaller pieces, these pieces are sold as crack.
The name crack derives from the crackling sound that is produced when the drug is heated and then smoked, according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research. Since crack is so highly concentrated, it is extremely addictive. While not common, it’s possible for a person to become addicted to crack after just one use.
Signs and Symptoms
Crack is a very dangerous substance. It is very unlikely that someone can use crack cocaine in a casual or recreational way for any significant duration, due to its powerfully addictive nature. Any crack use must be taken seriously. Symptoms of crack abuse may be both physical and psychological.
Crack is addictive because it causes an intense euphoric rush that fades quickly, leaving the user wanting more.1 The brain’s reward centers are activated by crack stimulation, reinforcing continued use of the drug.