Crack Addiction

What is Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine also known as “crack” is nicknamed after the sound it produces while it is being smoked. Crack first made its appearance in impoverished low income neighborhoods in Miami, New York, and Los Angeles in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  Crack cocaine is most often obtained in “rock” form, although it is not out of the ordinary for some cocaine abusers to “rock up” or “cook” the cocaine into crack on their own.

Crack cocaine vaporizes at around 194 degrees Fahrenheit or 90 degrees Celsius.  This is much lower than the cocaine hydrochloride melting point of 374 degrees Fahrenheit.   Powder cocaine or cocaine hydrochloride cannot be smoked by the user which is why crack cocaine is smoked allows for rapid absorption into the users blood stream, were it then reaches the brain in about 8 seconds. Along with the fact that crack cocaine is often thought to be more potent than powder cocaine, much more affordable, and users are able obtain an intense high much more rapidly than with the normal method of snorting powder cocaine.

History of Cocaine

The earliest documented use of cocaine was from South American indigenous tribes who chewed the leaves of the coca plant for strength and energy. Since that time cocaine has made quite a journey to what it has become today.  Cocaine was first synthesized by German chemist Friedrich Gaedcke in 1855. From that time cocaine was widely used in many medicines and elixirs. Claiming to: “make the weak strong, and render a person insensitive to pain.” In the early 20th century cocaine was available in neighborhood drugstores, until it was discovered that it had very powerful addictive properties. In 1914 the Harrison Narcotics tax act made cocaine illegal in the United States. This was the beginning of a timeline of events that led to the creation of Crack cocaine.

Crack also known as “base”, was first developed in the late 70’s, but did not gain popularity until the early 1980’s.  This was about the time that the cocaine market was flooded with low-priced powder cocaine, which leads to the marketing of a new form of cocaine – Crack. By the mid-80s this was available in many urban areas across the United States, but crack cocaine never really took off until the mass media reported it as an epidemic, which in turn popularize crack cocaine. By 1984 baby’s were being born addicted to crack cocaine.

In 1986, emergency room visits for cocaine related injuries had risen to about 110% over 1985. In 1987, crack was available nationwide.

How is Crack Cocaine made?

Crack cocaine can be produced by anyone in a very short period of time. Often dealers buy cocaine in bulk, and “rock it up” or change Cocaine powder into free base form. The cocaine powder is dissolved in water, and large quantities of baking soda are added to the mix. The mix is usually heated in a pan in the oven, resulting in a hard crystallized pure form of cocaine base. This base is the smokeable form of cocaine known as Crack. Because the process is so simple crack cocaine abuse spread throughout the United States in a very short period of time.

How does Crack Cocaine Affect the User’s Body and Mind?

The amount of time it takes for the user to feel the effects of crack cocaine, in addition to how long crack cocaine stays in the system, is dependent upon the way the drug is taken. When used as free base or crack cocaine, the user feels the effects within seconds, when powder cocaine is snorted it usually takes on average about 10 minutes for the user to feel its effects. No matter which way this drug is taken, it causes intense feelings of euphoria and pleasurable sensations, usually intensifying each one of the user’s senses. The user tends to become excessively alert and hyperactive. Around the time the high wears off (usually less than 20 minutes for crack cocaine), the user often times becomes irritable, agitated, and uncomfortable.

Some of the physiological effects of cocaine abuse on the brain involve crack cocaine’s effects on chemicals neurotransmitters in the brain. Crack Cocaine specifically tends to increase the release of large amounts of nor epinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals are for the most part responsible for pleasure, alertness, well-being, increase in blood pressure and pulse, as well as euphoria. The effects of cocaine on the users mind and body are correlated with its effects. A few other physical symptoms and signs of cocaine use often include insomnia, male infertility, as well as decreased appetite. When someone withdraws from the crack cocaine, the withdrawal results in severe depression, a drop in blood pressure or pulse, as well as suicidal behavior and thoughts.

To get help with cocaine or crack cocaine addiction call Narconon at 800-468-6933.

References:
http://www.nida.nih.gov/nidahome.html
http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/
http://www.drugfreeworld.org/

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