Crack Cocaine in 21st Century America



Crack cocaine is a processed, uniquely altered form of powdered cocaine. This version is considerably more potent, making it more addictive and dangerous too. Crack cocaine was first developed in the 1970s and it soared to popularity in the U.S. in the 1980s.

Most people erroneously believe that crack cocaine has become less interesting or desirable, but in actual fact, the drug is just as popular as it ever was. The drug is much cheaper to produce than powdered cocaine is, so it is therefore also far more affordable for addicts to purchase.

The Center for Substance Abuse Research defines crack cocaine quite well, saying that:

  • “‘Crack’ is the name given to cocaine that has been processed with baking soda or ammonia, and transformed into a more potent, smokable, “rock” form. The name refers to the crackling sound heard when the rock is heated and smoked. Cocaine is a stimulant that has been abused for ages; however, crack cocaine is the most potent form in which the drug has ever appeared. There is great risk when using any form of cocaine, but crack cocaine is the riskiest form of the substance.”

The article goes on to discuss the danger present with crack cocaine:

  • “Smoking a substance allows it to reach the brain more quickly than other routes of administration, and compulsive cocaine use will develop even more rapidly if the substance is smoked rather than snorted. Smoking crack cocaine brings an intense and immediate, but very short-lived high that lasts about fifteen minutes. A person can become addicted after his or her first time trying crack cocaine.”

Clearly, crack cocaine is a very potent and highly desirable drug. Even with the plethora of other drugs that are available to misuse today, millions of addicted Americans still turn to crack cocaine as their first choice.

The Effects of Crack Cocaine Use

Just about everyone already inherently knows that they should not misuse drugs and alcohol. However, that common sense alone is often not sufficient to stave off peer pressure or any of the other problems that people tend to struggle with that lead them to drug use.

It’s best to get the true data on individual drugs, so we can understand why we should not experiment with such drugs. With that in mind, some of the short-term and long-term effects of crack cocaine use have been included below:

  • Increased blood pressure, which can lead to heart problems.
  • A condition of constricted peripheral blood vessels.
  • Increased rate of breathing while under the influence.
  • Dilated pupils during drug use.
  • Hyper-stimulation and excessive motor function.
  • Decreased appetite resulting in weight loss.
  • Anxiety and paranoia to the point of hysteria.
  • Aggressive, paranoid behavior to the point of violence.
  • Depression and severe apathy.
  • Intense drug craving leading to obsessive drug seeking.
  • Irritability and mood disturbances which can lead to violent outbreaks.
  • Delirium or psychosis of varying degrees of severity.
  • Tolerance and addiction, even after just one use of crack cocaine.
  • Auditory and tactile hallucinations while under the influence.
  • Heart attack and heart disease, weak heart, heart murmurs, etc.
  • Stroke.
  • Respiratory failure to the point of an emergency.
  • Brain seizures which could be fatal or at least permanently impacting.
  • Sexual dysfunction.
  • Reproductive damage and infertility that can be permanent.
  • Increased frequency of risky behavior, all done in an effort to get more of the drug.
  • Death from overdose or another crack cocaine-related cause.

Clearly, there are plenty of reasons not to use crack cocaine. This drug carries with it immense risk, a substance that is harmful and dangerous even after just one use.

One of the Most Addictive Drugs in the World

Crack cocaine has earned the title of being one of the most addictive drugs in the world. This substance has ruined millions of lives due to users simply being completely incapable of getting off of the substance on their own.

The Center for Substance Abuse Research penned another article on the addictive properties of crack cocaine, information which has been included below:

  • “Because the high from crack cocaine is so short-lived, users commonly smoke it repeatedly in order to sustain the high. This can lead to an even faster onset of addiction. Also, because crack cocaine works on the brain’s system of reward and punishment, withdrawal symptoms occur when the drug’s effects wear off. These symptoms can include depression, irritability, extreme fatigue, anxiety, an intense craving for the drug, and sometimes even psychosis. Users will often keep using crack cocaine simply to avoid the negative effects of withdrawal.”

One of the interesting things about crack cocaine is that, though the drug does not produce chemical dependence as heroin or alcohol does, the drug still absolutely does produce powerful withdrawal symptoms. People who use crack cocaine never want to stop, and when they do stop, they are usually met with severe discomfort for some time.

Getting off of crack cocaine is difficult, but it is possible, and it is done by dozens of Americans every day. The key is to make full use of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, preferably an inpatient program. Such programs possess the tools and the necessary treatment modalities for fully helping people to overcome addiction.

No one should start using crack cocaine, by any means. There is no good reason to start. But if one is already addicted, the most important thing to do is to get help. This drug is still very popular and very dangerous in 21st-century America, and it likely will remain that way until we take the necessary action to help everyone who is addicted and educate the rest so that others do not find the drug in any way appealing.


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