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Crack Cocaine

Matt Moffitt

Dr. Gustavo Ibarra


HLTH 1050 Section:007
15 April 2015

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Crack is generally referred to as crack cocaine because it is the crystal
form of cocaine, which usually comes in a powder form. Crack comes in solid
rocks, also known as crystals, which differs it from normal cocaine. These
crystals usually are yellow, pale rose, or white colored which helps them to be
identified. Crack is the most potent form of cocaine, which makes it more risky
than normal cocaine as well. Crack is generally 75%-100% pure making it the
riskiest form of cocaine also. Crack is highly more addictive than normal cocaine
because it is smoked rather than snorted. Scientists have researched and found
that smoking substances increases the chances of one becoming dependent on
that substance. Smoking it increases the speed that it reaches the brain making
the effects kick in quicker than when you snort cocaine. It also is not near as
expensive as normal cocaine. Even teens can afford it at a cheap rate; however,
it is highly addictive making you wastes a lot more money because of the
dependence.
Crack is heated and smoked. That is where it receives its name because it
makes a cracking or popping sound when it is heated. When smoking crack, the
user first puts it into a small glass pipe, which is also referred to as a straight
shooter. They then place a small piece of a steel wool at one end of the pipe
tube and put the rock on the other side. This serves as a filter preventing the
crack to directly enter the mouth of the person. It is then heated from below,
which produces a vapor, or smoke. The user then inhales this vapor into their
lungs, which then sends it to the brain. This is the most common way to use
crack whereas normal cocaine is snorted. I have also heard of people simply

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putting the crack rock directly into their mouth and sucking on it. This would be a
less effective way to use the drug and the high associated would not be as
strong.
Crack enters the brain faster than cocaine, but it has similar if not the
exact same effects. It enters the brain and attaches to structures that regulate
dopamine, thereby producing euphoria. However, it also produces changes in
norepinephrine and glutamate receptors, which are the sources of its stimulant
effects. It blocks norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine and other
neurotransmitters from being reabsorbed. The group of neurons thus modified
produces much more dependency, because of the dopamine, feelings of
confidence, from serotonin, and energy, from norepinephrine. These are all
symptoms experienced by people who use crack. When used chronically, the
brain begins to rely on the drug to maintain the high degree of pleasure
associated with this drug. It is only an artificial elevation and is because of the
neurotransmitters in its reward circuits. The brain can become so used to this
feeling that it can produce new receptors. Because of the increased sensitivity,
many side affects can occur with the lessening or ceasing of crack use.
Crack affects not only the brain, but also the body in many different ways.
There are many acute effects related to the use of crack cocaine and they are
generally more severe as the use of the drug is increased. When a user smokes
crack, the high kicks in as fast as 10-15 seconds. This is very quick compared to
snorting cocaine, which generally takes 10-15 minutes for the brain to start being
affected. Crack produces a short-term high, which is immediately followed by the

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exact opposite. People often become depressed, edgy, and crave the drug even
more when the high wears off. Some acute effects are: anxiety, paranoia,
depression, panic, dilated pupils, hallucinations, increased heart rate, blood
pressure, and body temperature. The list of acute effects goes on-and-on, but all
are very severe. Users usually dont sleep or eat much while under the influence
of the drug. Regardless of the amount used, it increases the risk that the user will
experience a heart attack, stroke, seizure, or respiratory failure, which can all
result in sudden death. The high produced by crack doesnt last very long,
usually only about 10-15 minutes.
While crack has many quickly observable acute effects, the chronic effects
from crack use are also highly severe as well. Since crack is so highly addictive,
users are constantly using the drug. The high lasts only minutes so they will
immediately go use again shortly after to continue with the high feeling. This
causes the user to build a tolerance for the drug, which in turns makes them
need to use higher dosages of the drug to only receive the same high feeling.
Sever respiratory problems, including coughing, shortness of breath, lung
damage, and bleeding are all chronic effects that can affect our day to day lives.
Malnutrition is also a possibility due to the loss of appetite and depriving of sleep
caused by the use of crack. Users are often more aggressive and paranoid
because of how the drug affects the brain. Other chronic effects include: liver,
kidney, and lung damage, severe chest pains, tooth decay, depression,
tolerance, addiction and many others. It is so powerful that you can become

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addicted after the first time using crack and it is one of the hardest drugs to free
yourself from once you become addicted.
Crack cocaine is often packaged in vials, Ziploc bags, and film canisters.
An average rock ranges from 1/10 to gram but greatly varies in size and is
usually sold by the rock or ounce. A rock can be sold for as low as $3 to as high
as $50, but prices average from about $10 to $20. An ounce costs on average
from $500 to $800, but the price has many factors that can change it. Where you
are and what time of the year it is have big effects on the price of the drug.
Cocaine can be bought by the gram, ounce or kilo. To compare, an ounce of
cocaine usually costs $900 to $1,100, which is why people often use crack in the
place of cocaine because of the cheaper rates. Users often leave the residue
after using the drug because they forget to take it with them due to the high
hitting so quickly.
Crack was highly used in the 90s. Many rappers sold crack at the start of
their careers to make money in order to pay for studio time, bills, and other
expenses. Jay-Z talks about how it taught him many lessons. He said, I know
about budgets. I was a drug dealer. To be in a drug deal, you need to know what
you can spend, what you need to re-up. Or if you want to start some sort of
barbershop or car wash those were the businesses back then. Things you can
get in easily to get out of [that] life. At some point, you have to have an exit
strategy. Christopher Wallace, aka the Notorious B.I.G., was also one of the
most famous crack dealers in all of Brooklyn. Since it is so highly addictive,
people would constantly have to go back to the dealers for more. Someone

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would start out small making simple deals and try to work his way up to be a
supplier where others are making the deals for him. Violence is a high probability
when in the drug industry and very dangerous. Many people died as a result of
the violence or went to prison because the cops caught them.
Crack is highly addictive which makes getting off it much more difficult.
People often suffer from depression and withdrawal symptoms because of the
way the drug affects the brain, especially dopamine receptors. It often requires a
treatment facility in order to recover from an addiction to crack. People are often
in denial about the use or effects of the drug, which makes it harder for them to
make the decision to enter a facility and work towards becoming clean. It is
suggested to wisely decide which rehabilitation center to enroll in when
overcoming an addiction and not simply only entering the first one. They also
recommend going to a sober living house, also known as a halfway house, after
treatment in order to continue without the use of the drug. Having other addicts
around you who have overcome their addictions can be helpful as they will
encourage, motivate, and uplift you as well during your own process of becoming
free of the drug. Treatment programs can be very expensive and cost up to
$20,000 for a 30-day program.
Crack cocaine is one of the worst drugs out there. I learned from personal
experience because one of my good friends became addicted to the drug. He
spent all of his money and another roommate sold his dog in order to buy the
drug. He became angry, started tweaking, and contemplated murdering the kid
for what he had done all because of this drug. That was when he realized he

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needed help and got it. He has been in and out of rehab several times, but
continues to fight the urges to use the drug. He even wants to become a
counselor in order to help others not use it. I would highly recommend everyone
to avoid this drug so they do not let a destroyer enter their lives.

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<http://science.howstuffworks.com/crack3.htm>.

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"Choosing the Best Inpatient Crack Cocaine Rehab Center." Inpatient Crack
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