01 Apr The Facts about Crack Cocaine
Crack cocaine, or crack, is a serious, highly addictive and extremely dangerous drug. It exploded on the illegal drug scene in the 1980s and became popular with drug users. Crack use and the resulting crimes during that decade spurred a number of laws related to the drug war, including mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses. Today, crack is not nearly as big of a problem as it once was, but it is still around and still causing serious harm. Addiction, overdose and health problems like crack lung are consequences of using this street drug.
What is Crack?
Crack is related to the drug cocaine, which comes from a plant native to South America. People there chew the leaves of the coca plant for a high and also for medicinal reasons. Cocaine can be extracted from the leaves and concentrated to make the white powder that users snort. Cocaine is a salt because it includes another compound. When that compound is removed, you get crack cocaine, a crystal or rock that can be smoked.
Crack is Highly Addictive
Crack is essentially a more concentrated form of cocaine, which itself is very addictive. Users smoke crack, which also makes it more addictive than cocaine because it allows the drug to get to the brain more quickly and produce a more intense high. Many experts list heroin as the most addictive substance and place crack second. Learning how to get off crack addiction is a huge task and requires professional treatment and serious dedication on the part of the drug user.
Crack Lung Syndrome
Using crack is bad for your health in a number of ways, not least of which is the possibility of becoming addicted. Among the many health consequences of smoking crack are high blood pressure, kidney damage, heart attack, stroke, malnutrition, tooth decay, psychosis, depression and hallucinations. Damage to the lungs is one of the more serious outcomes of crack use. The collective symptoms of damaged lungs from crack is called crack lung syndrome. Smoking crack causes inflammation in the lungs, as well as irritation and damage that impacts how much oxygen gets to the rest of the body. Crack lung can also lead to pneumonia, which can be fatal.
A fatal overdose is possible with any drug, but crack users are particularly susceptible to dying this way. It hooks users quickly and leaves them chasing a greater and greater high. They develop a tolerance to the drug quickly and need to use more and more just to get the same pleasant sensation of the first experience with the drug. This dangerous chase can lead to an overdose. Crack cocaine overdose treatment must be administered immediately or fatality is likely.
How to Get off Crack Cocaine
Overcoming crack addiction is a huge challenge. It requires professional help because stopping use once addicted goes well beyond simple willpower. Crack changes the brain and makes it nearly impossible to stop using. When an addict stops using crack, the withdrawal symptoms are so terrible that getting another hit becomes the only option. With professional treatment, a stay in rehab and support from loved ones, a crack addict has the chance to get clean again and to sever dependence on this terrible drug.
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