Known colloquially as “rock,” “the hard,” “base” and simply “crack,” crack cocaine is the dangerous and highly addictive freebase form of cocaine smoked for its fast-acting effects. The high from crack cocaine comes on almost instantaneously, and its psychological effects alter the brain chemistry to bring about feelings of euphoria.
Unfortunately for crack cocaine users, these euphoric feelings are, quite literally, all in their head. While confidence, increased energy, alertness and other desirable effects may come from its use, so do feelings of extreme paranoia, a lack of empathy, and a raging addiction that causes some users to stop at nothing to find their next fix.
Learning to recognize the symptoms of crack use may help you save the life of someone you love or call our crack cocaine addiction hotline today for more answers 800.447.9081.
Learn the facts about crack cocaine from the signs and symptoms of crack cocaine addiction and how to get you or a loved one the help they need.
The Signs and Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Addiction
Immediate physical signs may include: Dilated pupils, a dry mouth, excessive facial movements (mouth twitching, lip chewing, etc.), constant fidgeting, and a burst of energy. Here are
- Crack cocaine users often lose interest in people and hobbies in their life. Someone using this drug may cut off communication with individuals and start to develop a more covert, secretive lifestyle, often becoming paranoid or hostile if someone questions their aloofness.
- Speaking of hostility, frequent mood changes are another sign of drug use. The paranoia and restlessness associated with crack cocaine usage can put users through the emotional gamut, becoming happy, depressed, angry, paranoid, etc., all in a relatively short period of time.
- Weight loss is another sign of crack use. Cocaine severely hinders the appetite, and crack, particularly, keeps most users from eating. The weight loss with crack users is typically very fast and very noticeable.
- Poor hygiene is also a sign of crack addiction. Shaving, showering and taking care of one’s teeth all fall by the wayside as the addict focuses more on getting his or her fix. Addicts missing teeth and looking very ragged isn’t simply a meme; it’s a reality of drug addiction.
- Theft is a very common sign of crack addiction. Addicts are sometimes steal money and items from the home that can be sold to support their habit. This includes things like blenders and microwaves and televisions, and even family heirlooms, expensive jewelry, and automobiles.
Recognizing some of these signs does not necessarily mean you are looking at crack cocaine addiction. Weight loss, paranoia, hostility, and other signs could be indicators of crack usage, or it could also be a sign or symptom of many other drugs, or even psychological disorders. So the number-one goal should be to recognize symptoms in order to inquire further about suspicions, not to instantly assume someone matching A and B is an addict.
The Dangerous Effects of Crack Cocaine Use
Crack cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. Not only can its effects be incredibly damaging, even with short-term use, but the cruel irony is that smokers do not even realize the physical toll it is taking on their bodies. They are typically too preoccupied with chasing that euphoric feeling. The many dangerous effects of this drug include but are not limited to:
- Upper respiratory infections
- Frequent headaches
- A risk of convulsions and seizures
- A higher risk of cardiovascular disease and sudden heart attack
- Chest pain (angina)
- Difficulty breathing
- Tooth decay and gum disease
- Altered blood pressure (too high or too low)
- A risk of suffering stroke
- Chemical imbalances
- Auditory problems, including hallucinations
- Reproductive effects; infertility and menstruation disturbances
These are just a few of the many dangerous effects of crack cocaine the average addict will have to deal with. The effects are even worse for women who smoke crack cocaine while pregnant. “Crack babies,” as they’re colloquially referred to, are at an incredibly high risk of being deformed, addicted to the drug, born prematurely, and even stillborn. This drug wreaks havoc on everything it touches, and it does not discriminate.
Scary Facts about Crack Cocaine
The signs and effects of crack cocaine are disturbing, and some of the numbers surrounding this drug are incredibly frightening in their own right. Here are just a few facts about crack cocaine addiction to keep in mind:
- Cocaine can be cooked into crack with nothing more than household ingredients like baking soda and water, which can turn a cocaine user into a crack addict
- More than 10 percent of the American population (35.9 million) over the age of 12 have tried cocaine at least once
- Over 2.1 million Americans are regular cocaine users, with 700,000 being regular crack users
- Behind marijuana, cocaine is the number-two drug in the nation
- Cocaine is responsible for three times as many deaths as any other illegal drug
- There are approximately 3,000 federal crack cocaine offenses every year
- The Fair Sentencing Act has reduced the mandatory minimum of five years for crack possession, but such a charge will still most likely equate to prison time, and crack distributing may carry as much prison time as some forms of murder
Despite law enforcement’s best efforts to control crack cocaine, it is spreading like wildfire throughout numerous communities and schools, and is even used on famous sporting teams and by those in high standing, like politicians. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of crack cocaine addiction. If you think someone you know is using crack cocaine, call our crack cocaine hotline today 800.447.9081.