Author: James Anderson

Cocaine Crack: What It Is, Side Effects, Risks & Withdrawal

what is crack

Having a co-occurring mental health condition and exposure to environmental factors can also increase the risk of developing a crack addiction. Crack is a freebase form of cocaine that is processed using water and either ammonia or baking soda, until it forms a rock crystal that can be smoked. Crack cocaine is also known as “rock,” because it looks like small, hard shards of rock.

  1. Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug that can change lives and be life-threatening.
  2. Dr. Tetrault explains that repeatedly using crack or cocaine can cause changes in the brain’s reward circuitry, which can make people use it compulsively, despite the harm it causes.
  3. But the most significant effect is how cocaine use changes people’s brains, setting the stage for cocaine addiction (cocaine use disorder).
  4. If you think someone you love is using cocaine, encourage them to seek help.
  5. Long-term cocaine use dulls thinking processes and the ability to remember information.

If someone in your life has a crack addiction, it’s important to support them and help them find evidence-based treatment that works for them, Dr. Tetrault says. A crack addiction can put a person at risk for serious health consequences, including death. Preventing the use of this drug is critical because even a single instance of use can lead to addiction or death in some people. The treatment process often begins with detox, where the person is not allowed to consume crack and may experience severe withdrawal symptoms as a result. A person may also overdose on crack cocaine, especially if they mix it with alcohol or heroin.

What is crack cocaine?

It is permitted for some medical use but is otherwise outlawed. People with cocaine use disorder may benefit from community-based programs. Researchers are evaluating drug treatments that help people stop using cocaine. But the most significant effect is how cocaine use changes people’s brains, setting the stage for cocaine addiction (cocaine use disorder). When people take cocaine, their blood pressure goes up and their heart races.

Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug that can change lives and be life-threatening. Using cocaine may change how people’s brains work and increase their risk for many serious medical issues. Finding the next high may seem like the most important thing in their lives.

what is crack

Cocaine is a powerful drug that can cause serious side effects that can happen very quickly after you start using the drug. The 2021 (U.S.) National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) concludes 4.8 million people age 12 and older used cocaine in 2020. In comparison, the same survey results show 52.8 million people age 12 and older used marijuana and 1.1 million people used heroin. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness. However, she says that if the person is experiencing an opioid overdose that is caused by using cocaine adulterated by high-potency opioids, the drug naloxone can help reverse the overdose. Treating a crack addiction may involve detoxification and therapy.

What Is Crack Cocaine?

Large amounts may make us feel powerful, euphoric and filled with energy. When people use cocaine, their brains release lots of dopamine. But that cocaine-driven dopamine release or rush fades quickly, leaving them wanting more of those feelings — and the drug. As people keep on using cocaine, their brains get used to the huge overstimulation and they need stronger, more frequent doses.

Treatment may occur in hospitals, in therapeutic communities, or in clinical settings. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Crack cocaine

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that’s extracted and processed from coca plant leaves in South America. Healthcare providers may occasionally use cocaine as anesthesia. More commonly, people use cocaine to boost feelings like being energized, happy and alert.

In the United Kingdom, crack is a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Cocaine use disorder (addiction) can affect your personal relationships. Cognitive behavioral therapy may help people recover from cocaine use disorder. Crack cocaine is frequently purchased already in rock form,[4] although it is not uncommon for some users to “wash up” or “cook” powder cocaine into crack themselves. This process is frequently done with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), water, and a spoon.

Once mixed and heated, the bicarbonate reacts with the hydrochloride of the powder cocaine, forming free base cocaine and carbonic acid (H2CO3) in a reversible acid-base reaction. The heating accelerates the degradation of carbonic acid into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water. Loss of CO2 prevents the reaction from reversing back to cocaine hydrochloride.

Cocaine is very addictive, meaning people seek out the drug and use it even though they know the choice comes with negative consequences. There are treatments for cocaine use disorder (cocaine addiction), but people often relapse and use it again. Cocaine and crack are powerful stimulants that give users a euphoric feeling and increased energy, says Dr. Tetrault. Using these substances floods the brain with dopamine, a natural chemical that is part of the brain’s reward system; it stimulates the brain, numbs pain, and helps us feel pleasure. Normal amounts of dopamine can make us feel happy, alert and focused.

People typically smoke crack by heating it in a glass pipe; however, they may also add it to tobacco cigarettes or marijuana joints. Crack cocaine has serious health risks, which is why treatment is so important. Detoxing the body of the substance and attending psychotherapy can help people with their long-term recovery from crack addiction. Crack addiction is a substance use disorder that involves the use of crack cocaine. It is characterized by a cycle of cravings and withdrawal, as well as other severe physical and mental symptoms.