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Crack is the street name for crystallized freebase cocaine that has been processed from the powdered cocaine hydrochloride form to a smakable substance. It is a powerful central nervous system stimulant, sold in ready to smoke chunks or ‘rocks’. Crack looks like small lumps or shavings of soap, but has the texture of porcelain. Because of the way it looks, crack is often referred to as ‘rock’ or ‘ready-rock’. The rocks are nicknamed ‘Crack’ because of the crackling sound they make as they are smoked. It is generally more pure than the powdered cocaine from which it is made, but this smokable product can still contain impurities. Crack is five to six times stronger than the cocaine normally purchased on the street. Crack cocaine is processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water, and heated to remove the hydrochloride.

Crack is a highly addictive form of cocaine that is typically smoked , there are reports of users injecting crack . Because crack is smoked, the user experiences a high in less than 10 seconds. This rather immediate and euphoric effect is one of the reasons that crack became enormously popular in the mid 1980s. Another reason is that crack is inexpensive both to produce and to buy.

Smoking crack delivers large quantities of the drug to the lungs, producing effects comparable to intravenous injection. These effects are felt almost immediately after smoking, are very intense, but do not last long. For example, the high from smoking cocaine may last from 5 to 10 minutes, while the high from snorting the drug can last for 15 to 20 minutes.


The most popular method is to smoke the lumps of crack in a two-chambered water pipe. Pipes have been made of various common items including soft drink cans. Sometimes crack is smoked by sprinkling it on tobacco or marijuana. Crack can also be mixed with PCP. This method is called ‘spacebasing’ or ‘spaceblasting’. Crack is being mass marketed on the streets in small vials, folding papers, or foil packets and usually contains one to four pellets for an average of $10 - $20.


A person may become physically and psychologically dependent on crack without realizing it. Some people lose control over their use almost from the start. Studies have shown that crack is one of the most powerful of all illicit drugs in producing a psychological dependency. There is no physical withdrawal from Crack or Cocaine as there is with other drugs such as heroin. The withdrawal symptoms are more of a psychological nature rather than physical including an intense hunger, irritability, fatigue, long but disturbed sleep, and depression.

Crack produces the same type effects as other forms of cocaine. Since crack is absorbed into your system very quickly, reaching the brain within six seconds, it produces an intense ‘rush’ or sense of euphoria with feelings of increased energy and heightened senses such as sight, sound, smell, etc. The euphoria usually wears off in about 10 minutes, followed by a ‘crash’, marked by feelings of anxiety, confusion, and often depression. Because of its potency and short-lived high, crack is extremely addictive. Low doses of crack may create a perception of enhanced feelings of sexuality, particularly in male users. Crack increases motor activity of users and reduces the perceived need for food and sleep. Users have reported having ‘coke bugs’, a feeling of having insects crawling on them. Other effects include bizarre and violent behavior, extreme anxiety and restlessness, spasms, delusions, alertness and watchfulness, disinhibition, impaired judgment, feelings of grandiosity, impulsiveness, compulsively repeated acts, hyper-sexuality, and atypical sexual behavior. Physical effects can include hypertension, seizures, respiratory problems, and heart failure. Chronic users may experience loss of appetite, weight loss, rapid tooth decay, difficulty urinating, severe coughing, and lung damage because it is smoked. Repeated, heavy use of the drug eventually decreases sexuality, often leading to total abstinence from sex. Impotence in males may also occur.

Street Names

Crack, Rock, Freebase

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 In a Times article it was reported that 1 out of 10 people, in the age group 20 to 35, are addicted to some type of drug or alcohol. Drug and alcohol abuse is seeing a rapid growth in the US and in Canada.



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