How Crack Cocaine Abuse Compares to Traditional Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine and crack cocaine are generally treated differently in the media. Cocaine is stereotyped as the drug of choice for rich men and crack is treated like a gritty, urban street drug. But, if you or someone close to you are facing an addiction to either cocaine or crack cocaine, you know that they are both highly addictive, dangerous drugs with the potential to pull anyone’s life apart. However, they each also have side effects, make up, and usage rates that differ.

If you or someone close to you are grappling with a cocaine or crack cocaine addiction, Addictions.com can help. Call us at 800-654-0987, and speak with somebody today.

Cocaine

Crack Cocaine Abuse

A large number of teens have experimented with cocaine.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA): “Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug made from the leaves of the South American coca plant. Cocaine is a nervous system stimulant that has the appearance of small, irregularly shaped chunks of a whitish solid.”

Because of its powdered form, cocaine can be taken either by snorting it, adding water to it and injecting it, or by smoking it.

Cocaine is both a local anesthetic and a central nervous system stimulant, and it is the only drug known to have both of these effects.

Cocaine use is largely driven by the effects experienced in the early stages of cocaine use: a generalized state of euphoria along with increased energy, confidence, mental alertness, and sexual arousal. After a period of regular usage, increased amounts are necessary to achieve these effects. In addition, time spent without the drug in a person’s system causes unpleasant reactions and after effects, such as restlessness, anxiety, agitation, irritability, and insomnia. Overtime, the negative reactions increase dramatically, going so far as to produce psychosis.

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Crack Cocaine

Crack is a smokable form of cocaine that has been chemically altered, usually by cooking it with baking soda until it forms solid blocks or crystals. These “rocks” vary in color, often appearing yellow, pale pink, or white.

Crack is heated and smoked through a metal or glass pipe. It is named for the cracking cound that occurs when it is heated.

“Smoking crack allows it to reach the brain more quickly and thus brings an intense and immediate—but very short-lived—high that lasts about fifteen minutes. And because addiction can develop even more rapidly if the substance is smoked rather than snorted (taken in through the nose), an abuser can become addicted after his or her first time trying crack.”

Use Comparison

The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Trends in Prevalence of Various Drugs produced the following data.

Among participants age 12-17:

  1. 90 percent had used cocaine in their lifetime
  2. 70 percent had used cocaine in the past year
  3. 20 percent had used cocaine in the past month
  4. 10 percent had used crack cocaine in their lifetime
  5. 10 percent had used crack cocaine in the past year
  6. 00 percent had used cocaine in the past month

Spotting the Physical and Mental Symptoms of Crack Abuse

Among participants age 18-25:

  1. 10 percent had used cocaine in their lifetime
  2. 60 percent had used cocaine in the past year
  3. 40 percent had used cocaine in the past month
  4. 60 percent had used crack cocaine in their lifetime
  5. 40 percent had used crack cocaine in the past year
  6. 10 percent had used cocaine in the past month

Among participants age 26 and older:

  1. 10 percent had used cocaine in their lifetime
  2. 40 percent had used cocaine in the past year
  3. 50 percent had used cocaine in the past month
  4. 30 percent had used crack cocaine in their lifetime
  5. 30 percent had used crack cocaine in the past year
  6. 20 percent had used cocaine in the past month
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Among these respondents, it is clear that crack cocaine is used far less than cocaine, which is interesting given how cheap and accessible crack tends to be. Perhaps, the negative portrayal of crack users causes potential users to steer clear. Another likely factor is the speed at which crack users tend to become addicted, which is widespread knowledge. Regardless of reason, cocaine is definitely the more used drug and the more abused.

Whether you or someone you know is snorting cocaine or smoking crack, there are ways to quit and Addictions.com is waiting to connect you with the resources that you need. Call 800-654-0987 and start down the path to sobriety.