What is crack?
Crack is a crystal form of cocaine that can be smoked. Smoking the drug sends it to the brain very quickly, and gives more of a “rush” than snorting it. The high from crack lasts about five to 10 minutes.
Why do people use crack?
People use crack, or any mood-altering drug, to change the way they feel. Crack can numb bad feelings and make people feel better—for a while. The more often people use crack, the more they crave it, and the harder it is to control their use.
Is crack addictive?
Yes! Crack can be very addictive, even with short-term use. You may be addicted to crack if you:
- have built up a tolerance to it (you don’t get the same high that you used to get)
- keep thinking about the next time you’ll get to use it again
- spend so much time and money getting crack that you don’t take care of important things in your life, such as school, work or family
- keep using crack despite the problems it causes in your life.
The good news is that people can and do stop using crack. Even people who are not ready to give up crack can learn ways to use it more safely, and to plan for the day when they are ready to give it up.
I’ve used crack and nothing bad happened to me. Does this mean I can handle it?
Using crack is a gamble. The more you use, the greater the risk—but even taking the same or smaller amounts than you’ve used in the past can have bad effects.
- Using crack can lead to a stroke, heart attack or seizures, even in healthy people.
- Using crack can make people paranoid, angry and aggressive; some people hallucinate or become delusional. These effects generally go away when they stop using crack.
- Crack may be contaminated. Levamisole is a drug that may be present in crack (and powder cocaine) but there is no way to tell. Levamisole affects people differently but may cause serious health problems such as infections (fever, chills) or black patches on your skin.
What happens when people stop using crack?
After using crack, people come down or “crash.” The crash makes the world seem grey and sad. People feel grouchy, edgy and exhausted. They sleep for a long time and wake up very hungry. Using crack changes the brain. When people use it often and over a long time, and then stop using, strong cravings make them want to use again. These cravings may continue for a long time after they stop using.