Symptoms of Crack Addiction


Authored by Heaven Stubblefield in Addiction 
Published on 09-01-2009

By 1980 cocaine had become a very popular and profitable drug smuggled into the United States. Soon the market was flooded with too much cocaine which dropped the street price of the drug by almost eighty percent. Drug dealers began making crack, a smokeable form of cocaine. Crack is easily produced. Though crack is cheap to make and sold at lower prices than cocaine, it produces much higher profits. By the mid 1980s crack cocaine addiction was a nation wide epidemic.

Crack cocaine is made by cooking cocaine with ammonia or baking soda, which contains sodium bicarbonate to create crack rocks. This process is known as freebasing. Crack got its name from the crackling sound the drug makes when it is smoked. The effects of crack cocaine are felt instantly because it is smoked. The drug reaches the blood stream through the lungs and travels to the brain in less than fifteen seconds. The high of crack cocaine lasts about ten to fifteen minutes followed by an intense crash.

Crack cocaine is extremely addictive, more so than most narcotics. Because crack cocaine has such intense highs and debilitating crashes the user is constantly in the need of more of the drug more often. Crack affects the chemical processes of the brain. The drug works by causing the brain to release large amounts of the pleasure chemical dopamine. After this dopamine is released it is hard for the brain to reload its supply. This causes the brain to only release dopamine when crack is smoked and blocking it from other, normal events that would cause dopamine’s release.

Crack cocaine addiction can be hard to spot at first. The drug is not injected intravenously so there are no tell tale track marks. Crack is not snorted like cocaine so there will be no bleeding nasal cavities. Crack addiction usually has severe physical, financial, and social symptoms.

One of the first things to look for in someone suspected of crack addiction is changes in demeanor. Someone using crack cocaine will be hyper talkative and incapable of sitting still for even short periods of time. A crack user will start to have grandiose goals and will have increasingly outrageous ideas and plans. Once the high of crack wears off, the user will become cranky, sleep in excess, and become overly angry over insignificant things. A person addicted to crack cocaine will begin to lose a lot of weight quickly and have no appetite. They will start to look dirty and disheveled.

Crack cocaine is cheap, but the drug’s intense high is very short lived. Crack addicts need to obtain the drug often and will quickly deplete their bank accounts, even if they have a well paying job. Because of crippling effects of crack addiction a user will most likely lose their job. An addict will be desperate for cash and suddenly start borrowing large amounts of money from friends and family. A crack addict will also start selling and pawning most of their valuable belongings. When there is nothing left to sell the crack user will resort to stealing.

A crack addict will start to disappear regularly with strange excuses for where they have been. Crack users will hide themselves away from others, even in the same household. Addicts will spend long periods of time in the bathroom or other secluded rooms such as a basement, garage, or attic. Most addicts constantly complain of having a mild cold or flu to get out of social engagements.

The paraphernalia of a crack addict can be hard to spot as it is not as obvious as needles. Look out for things like Chore Boy scrubbing pads, baking soda, glass pipes sometimes purchased with a flower in it from a liquor store, and masking devices like cough drops. Crack addicts will usually end up losing their circle of friends in exchange for seemingly shady characters. Addiction affects every part of a user’s life.


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