The Dangers of Crack Cocaine Addiction
If you were to consider the wide range of addictive substances people abuse, it would be hard to identify one more dangerous than crack cocaine. Known simply as “crack” on the street, this drug is a form of cocaine—a powerful stimulant that someone can smoke to achieve its fullest effect. Crack addicts suffer from various physical and mental side effects, some of which can prove lethal. How addictive is crack?
If you are struggling with a crack cocaine habit, please reach out to us at 623-263-7371. We are happy to answer questions about drug abuse and help you figure out a recovery path that will let you reclaim your life from substance dependency.
Crack cocaine is a dangerous substance. Keep reading below to learn about what to do if you, or someone you know, has an addiction.
Cheap, Easy And Dangerous
Once a person takes crack, it can be difficult and often feel impossible to quit. Cocaine itself is already highly-addictive, but when inhaling the substance, rather than snorting it, it kicks in faster, and addiction develops more quickly.
Crack use leads to dark places. A shocking 97% of crack addicts in rehab report experiencing violent behavior while using crack. Recovering users were also highly likely to serve time in prison. And as a byproduct of cocaine, crack is legally considered a Schedule II drug, which means severe penalties for possession or trafficking.
Unfortunately, part of crack’s allure for users is that it’s relatively cheap to buy and easy to produce. Crack is powdered cocaine, boiled with water and an additive like baking soda, and formed into a solid substance. The result is a “rock,” typically pale in color and varying in size.
Physically, crack addiction can lead to lung damage and impairment of cognitive functions ranging from memory loss to decision-making ability. Users also typically abuse other substances, only adding to the hazards.
The Crack Explosion
Crack cocaine use has not been around forever. Powdered cocaine had grown in popularity in the U.S. throughout the 1960s, and became a much more prevalent substance in the 70s. The drug was mainly being manufactured and shipped from South America and closely linked with its drug cartels.
In the 1980s, Miami became ground zero for the experiment that would funnel crack throughout the country. It quickly began expanding to other major cities.
Unfortunately, many already-struggling communities were hit hard by the new drug mixture. For dealers, it was cheap and easy to make and sell. The fact that it was even more addictive than standard cocaine ensured repeat business while tragically entrapping many drug users.
The devastating effects of crack abuse helped trigger “The War on Drugs,” as the problem had become severe enough to attract federal and even presidential intervention. Penalties for cocaine possession became harsher, and the prison population nearly doubled as a result.
A sad thing to consider is that part of the reason the crack “explosion” died out was that so many lives were irreparably damaged by it. Crack addicts found themselves imprisoned for years, and many died as a result of the ensuing violence.
But crack use is still a problem—it has not entirely disappeared. Instead, it has been observed in every corner of the country and has taken a toll on many socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. 8.5 million people admit to using crack at some point in their life. Cocaine use is also more prevalent among younger demographics and can open the door to experimentation with more concentrated drug forms.
If you, or someone you care about, are suffering from cocaine addiction, then call us today. Our team of experts will work to ensure you get the help you deserve.
Physical and Mental Effects of Crack
The life of a crack addict has hazards the mind and body need to navigate.
Crack use has links to both respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. The toxic smoke does damage the lungs’ sensitive tissue and can impair breathing and worsen asthma. It can also significantly affect the heart by inflaming it, weakening the muscle’s ability to contract, and potentially rupturing it in parts.
With long-term use, an addict’s brain may suffer even more significant damage than the body. You automatically put yourself at an increased risk of stroke or seizure, as well as intracerebral hemorrhage—which is internal bleeding of the brain. Additionally, using crack might open you up to movement disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease.
This damage to the brain can also severely impair your cognitive abilities. Addicts show signs of memory loss, impaired judgment, and a decrease in motor skills. They are also more prone to irritability, mania, and paranoia. Using crack extensively over time even can induce full-blown psychosis, in which a person loses touch with reality altogether. That is to say, and it can almost literally fry your brain.
Drug use also opens you up to other risks. When you use, your immune system becomes weakened. This can make you vulnerable to infections and the possibility of diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Add to that the high risk of having a violent encounter at some point during your crack use, and this drug can shorten your life expectancy as effectively as any substance.
Crack is a dangerous drug. It can cause damage to nearly every part of your body, including the major organs. It hinders your mind’s development to a significant extent. Despite these consequences, many people continue to use because they become dependent so quickly on the drug, feeling as if they can’t stop, or don’t want to.
Living With Crack Addiction
Because crack enters the system so quickly, it acts on the brain within seconds. When smoking it, a person delivers large quantities of the drug to the lungs, creating an instant and powerful euphoric effect. Even snorting powdered cocaine, despite its mind-altering effects, pales compared to the harmful blow crack can deliver to the system.
Crack’s withdrawal symptoms are another reason for its ability to hook you since they typically involve an unpleasant “crash” phase—where physical and mental feelings are incredibly intense for a short time. This produces extreme irritability and agitation, intense craving for the drug, and even delusions and hallucinations. Because these negative sensations are so fierce, users often find themselves in a frantic state, trying to see more of the drug as quickly as possible. This can lead to frequent setbacks and relapses.
A crack addict’s life is a series of extreme highs and despairing lows.
Often, the “why” of someone deciding to experiment with crack may come from an intense desire to escape reality. As a result, people who use crack might also have co-occurring mental disorders they’re trying to run from. Additionally, crack users frequently report taking the drug alongside excessive amounts of alcohol or various other illegal drugs.
Being stuck in a vicious cycle of use can make it difficult to function normally in day-to-day life. Users are likely to experience financial trouble, have difficulty holding a job, and become more socially awkward. Unfortunately, addicts are often incapable of weighing the “pros and cons” of use, as their brain becomes conditioned to make the drug a priority over everything else.
Living with cocaine addiction is challenging. But you do not need to face it alone. Contact us today for assistance on getting started on a happier and healthier life.
The Legal Implications of Crack Use
Risking your freedom for crack isn’t worth it. As a schedule II drug, crack gets the same treatment as cocaine. Possession laws vary by state, but a trafficking charge—or possession of a large quantity of crack—is considered a federal offense.
In Arizona, for example, even possessing a small amount of crack (less than 9 grams) is considered a Class IV felony. This can carry up to 2 ½ years in jail plus significant fines and court fees, with punishment depending on your previous criminal history.
For amounts over 9 grams, you could be charged with intent to distribute, even if that wasn’t your goal. These charges are considerably more severe and carry longer jail/prison sentences. Having additional drugs, paraphernalia, or weapons in your possession will inevitably make the legal situation worse.
If it’s your first drug charge, you may be given probation or enrolled in mandatory drug treatment. These programs can be beneficial for addicts, but they often require multiple years of supervision. Typically, supervision consists of frequent drug/alcohol screening, mandatory educational classes, and possibly group therapy.
This can also cause severe financial stress since fines and fees often add up to thousands of dollars. Add in the cost of a lawyer, and you could be facing a substantial final bill.
It’s essential to understand the consequences because a drug charge can affect many other areas of your life, even if you receive a lenient sentence. It may cause you to lose your job, and many employers won’t hire anyone with a drug conviction. Ultimately, the legal repercussions of crack use go far beyond the courtroom.
What if I Can’t Stop Using?
Addiction to any substance can be a trying experience. It negatively affects the user as well as the people who care about them. Many lives and families have been destroyed as a result of crack addiction.
Unfortunately, crack remains one of the most challenging substances to quit. Users report that when smoking crack for the first time, the high is so intense, it causes an immediate desire to recreate it. This effect sucks many people into a substance-dependent state in record time. They can go on chasing that first high forever.
Remember, no addict enjoys being an addict. Often, they recognize the danger of what they’re doing but feel helpless against the pull of the drug. And with crack, there is little time to realize that you are developing a substance abuse problem: the problem appears almost instantly. It’s why it remains one of the more dangerous street drugs to get involved with.
You may feel embarrassed by your drug use or maybe self-isolating as a result. However, the first thing to recognize is that you are not alone. While crack abuse has declined, it remains an issue, and millions of Americans currently deal with substance abuse disorders. You might have a co-occurring mental issue that is making the problem worse. Many people with psychiatric disorders use drugs to combat the emotional and mental pain, only to make things worse.
There is help for you! Science and psychology have come a long way in understanding addiction as a disease.
If you feel you have a problem with crack, or you’re trying to quit but can’t, please reach out to us at the number below. We are here to answer questions and help guide you through treatment options that can help you regain control of your life.
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