Crack cocaine originated in the 1970s, but it wasn’t widespread until the 1980s. Since cocaine prices were dropping, dealers searched for new ways to make money from cocaine. At this point, crack became a dealer’s dream because it produced an instant high, but the effects were short-lived. The reports of crack use had rapidly evolved throughout Southern California by 1985, and the crack epidemic had made its way across the nation by 1990.
As the epidemic raged on, more and more people got hooked on the drug, which caused many problems throughout the country.
Once users run out, they will go to extreme levels to get more. One well-known case involved a woman offering to sell her kids for crack. Obviously, someone in a healthy state of mind would never consider selling their own flesh and blood for a substance.
Today, crack is still an extremely popular drug throughout the country. Recent studies were released that highlight hospital admissions forhealth disorders linked to cocaine use. Over the past decade, these admissions have skyrocketed, which indicates a new surge of popularity. The resulting hospital admissions should come as no surprise, since psychosis is a side effect of cocaine use.
As if crack cocaine weren’t dangerous enough on its own, it’s now being laced with fentanyl, the deadliest drug in the world. During one four-day period in Philadelphia, a hospital treated 18 patients for symptoms of opioid overdoses, even though they reportedly used crack, not opioids. But after a drug screening, the doctors found high levels of fentanyl in the systems of all 18 patients, and one of them eventually died.
The original version of cocaine was found in South American alkaloid leaves. The shrub that contains the raw material is called Erythroxylon coca.
Crack is a potent psychostimulant. It makes the user feel exhilarated by blocking the reuptake of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It’s the crystallized version of powder cocaine, and it comes in blocks or crystals that can vary in coloration.
The reason it’s named crack is due to the noise it makes when it’s heated and smoked. The drug is often purer than powder cocaine; it consistently registers a purity of at least 75 percent.
Because it’s smoked, it gives user a faster rush. The high lasts anywhere from five to fifteen minutes. Smoking cocaine can rapidly result in addiction, which makes it unique. Most drugs progress through tolerance and dependency before reaching the addiction stage.
When a user smokes crack, their dopamine levels run dangerously low, so nothing will give the same euphoric rush after it’s depleted. The brain needs time to replenish these levels, so continuously abusing crack gives the mind no time to return to its average level of dopamine production. When the brain eventually runs out of dopamine, withdrawal symptoms begin.
These symptoms include:
The symptoms of crack addiction can be noticed very quickly in some users. This type of addiction is harder to spot because it doesn’t follow the average stages of a substance use disorder. However, the user could leave small glass pipes or Brillo pads lying around. These pads are the remnants of the screen that prevents the drug entering the user’s throat.
Other physical signs can include:
Intense withdrawal is common after running out of crack. It will consist of:
Addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that has no known cure. Fortunately, there have been cutting-edge advances in addiction therapy, which have created drastic improvements. Crack is difficult to treat because the drug often leaves the user depleted. The treatment itself is not going to resolve these cravings, as some crack users may experience them for the rest of their lives. However, it will offer therapies that facilitate more control over their behaviors. For instance, cognitive-behavioral therapy is a conventional means of treating addiction.
The first and most intense portion of addiction treatment is medical detoxification. The client will spend up to seven days in detox as the toxins exit their body. Detox will consist of round-the-clock access to medical professionals, which will ensure the client is responding well to treatment. The addiction specialists will assess the client to determine if they need specialized medical care, or if they are dealing with mental health problems. If they provide a dual diagnosis, it could alter the trajectory of the client’s treatment plan.
After detox, the client could be placed in residential treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, or outpatient services. When dealing with crack addiction, it’s likely the client will be placed onsite for up to 90 days. Inpatient treatment will help the former user adjust to life and cope with the feelings they’ve been numbing. Furthermore, they will attend a multitude of therapies that will help them understand the root of the addiction and prepare them for the outside world.
Some of these therapies include:
Is your loved one struggling with crack abuse or addiction? Are you? If so, it’s important for you to treat it with the seriousness it requires and get help before it’s too late.
Marsh, S. (2018, November 20). Mental Health Hospital Admissions Linked to Cocaine Use Treble in 10 Years. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/20/mental-health-hospital-admissions-linked-to-cocaine-use-treble-in-10-years