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Crack Abuse Signs, Symptoms and Addiction Treatment

  1. Article Quick LinksPrint
  2. Signs and Symptoms
  3. Effects of Crack Abuse
  4. Crack Abuse Treatment
  5. Crack Statistics

Crack cocaine is a smokeable form of cocaine that is popular among drug users who seek an immediate high. Users begin to feel euphoric immediately after inhaling crack cocaine because the drug gets into their bloodstream. About .08 percent to 1 percent of teenagers will abuse crack cocaine at some point during their high school years.

Although crack is highly addictive and fairly popular, don't panic if you or someone you love has a crack cocaine addiction problem. Help is available to get off this drug and stay off it. Call 1-800-943-0566 if you are ready to stop abusing crack and get your life back onto a positive track. You can also call this number if you need more info about crack or crack abuse.

Crack Abuse Quiz question 1

Other names for crack cocaine

Google Trends: Searches for “cocaine”

Google Trends: Searches for “crack cocaine”

While searches for cocaine are prominent in the northeast, searches for crack cocaine are more common in the southest.

United States DEA annual production quotas for cocaine

Countries using the most cocaine

How many people have used crack cocaine in their lifetime?

United States, aged 12+

How many people used crack cocaine in the last year?

United States, aged 12+

How many people used crack cocaine in the last month?

United States, aged 12+

How many youth use crack cocaine?

United States

How many youth use cocaine?

United States

How much coca is cultivated for cocaine each year

Purity levels of crack cocaine

Retail level

Street price of crack cocaine

United States

Crack Cocaine
@ 0.25 pure gram

Amount of crack cocaine seized

Crack is addictive because it causes an intense high. When users smoke crack, they experience extreme euphoria. Everything they experience seems more intense, and they may become hyperactive or overly alert as a result of taking the drug. The high wears off just as quickly, and the user feels a need to smoke more crack immediately because he or she becomes agitated, restless, paranoid or irritable.

People who abuse crack are at risk of endangering themselves or others because of their need for the substance and the way it affects their central nervous systems. Crack abusers tend to engage in the following behaviors:

  • Risky sexual behaviors. Crack intensifies sexual desire and removes inhibitions. People high on crack might be more likely to have sex with multiple partners or with strangers and are also more likely to have unprotected sex. In addition to risky sexual behaviors while under the influence of crack, some people may choose to have sex in exchange for the drug.
  • Increased tendencies towards violence. Crack cocaine intensifies emotional experiences, including anger and rage. People who are high on crack are more likely to commit murder, commit suicide or physically abuse their spouses or significant others.
  • Getting into risky situations in order to obtain crack. Crack users often enter dangerous neighborhoods or agree to do risky things in order to obtain the substance. Crack addiction is a powerful motivator; many addicts are willing to do almost anything in exchange for some crack.
  • Breaking the law. Many crack addicts steal to support their habit. Addicts may commit robberies or engage in other illegal activity to gain money to buy crack. Some addicts become prostitutes. In addition, crack possession itself is illegal, so addicts may face legal trouble for using it even if they don't engage in these behaviors.

If you feel like your behavior is out of control because of your need to smoke crack, help is available. Please call 1-800-943-0566 today to find out what treatment options are available for you.

Crack Abuse Quiz question 2

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of crack abuse may be both physical and psychological. One of the most important signs of abuse is that you are building tolerance to the amount of crack you usually smoke. Tolerance occurs when your body adapts to the crack in your system and requires greater amounts of it to have the same effect. If you are no longer satisfied with a small amount of crack and feel a need for larger and larger amounts, you have built tolerance and have likely become addicted.

Similarly, you may experience withdrawal if you stop smoking crack. Your body now needs the chemicals in crack in order to function normally; you may experience flu-like symptoms or mood swings if you suddenly stop smoking.

Psychological symptoms of crack abuse include persistent and obsessive thoughts about smoking crack, inability to stop despite a strong desire to do so and a tendency to put a high priority on obtaining and smoking crack at the expense of your finances, your relationships or other important aspects of your life.

Sometimes parents and other people who care about a crack addict may be concerned that a person is abusing crack. Physical signs of crack abuse include dilated pupils, lack of appetite and insomnia.

If you or someone you love are experiencing these signs and symptoms, you can get help by talking to your doctor or calling 1-800-943-0566 to get into a treatment program. Learning the facts about crack and crack abuse can also help you determine whether you have anything to be worried about.

Crack Abuse Quiz question 3

Effects of Crack Abuse

Crack abuse can cause side effects on both your physical and psychological health. Psychologically, crack addicts tend to have mood swings, suffer from depression and anxiety and engage in risky behavior as outlined above. Crack addicts may also sabotage relationships or get into financial trouble because of their desire to smoke crack at the expense of other important aspects of their lives.

Physically, people who smoke crack are at increased risk of heart attack or stroke because crack abuse causes high blood pressure and can cause the aortic artery to tear. Crack addicts may also be more susceptible to other illnesses because they don't eat or sleep enough and may not be attentive to their hygiene. Finally, smoking crack puts users at risk of lung disease because they are introducing foreign substances into their lungs.

Crack Abuse Quiz question 4

Crack Abuse Treatment

Treatment for crack abuse usually begins with detoxification. This is a controlled withdrawal from crack cocaine that is usually performed at a detox center. Doctors monitor patients for severe physical symptoms of crack withdrawal, which usually include flu like symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, fever and chills. Patients may also experience mood swings, agitation and anxiety during the withdrawal period, which lasts a minimum of seven days. Withdrawal can be more severe if the patient has used crack for a long period of time.

After finishing detox, most patients enter a rehab center. Rehab programs are generally inpatient, which means patients live at the rehab center while getting treatment. Treatment usually focuses on the psychological aspects of addiction; patients receive individual and group therapy and may attend support groups such as 12-step groups for recovering crack addicts. These programs last anywhere from 30 days to a year.

Rehab is usually followed by outpatient treatment, in which patients return to their daily lives but visit the treatment center on a regular basis to receive therapy and other treatment. Some patients transition to regular life by living in a halfway house or sober living facility. These facilities are run like regular apartments, but residents must follow house rules such as curfews and must submit to regular drug tests to prove they are clean.

Videos on crack cocaine

Typical legal penalties involving crack cocaine

  • Crack cocaine is classified by the DEA as a Schedule II drug. (source)
  • Trafficking in a Schedule II drug such as cocaine base (crack) can carry a federal sentence of up to 40 years imprisonment. (source) State penalties for possession of Schedule II drugs can include prison sentences of up to 15 years. (source) (source 2)
  • The effects of crack cocaine can be a factor in impaired driving, leading to DUI charges. (source)
  • Crack cocaine convictions carry an average sentence length of 115 months, compared to an average of 87 months for cocaine. (source)

Crack Abuse Quiz question 5

Crack Statistics

Crack is one of the most widely abused drugs. Here are some statistics about crack use in the United States:

Crack Abuse Quiz question 6

Crack abuse is a particular problem for teenagers because this substance offers a quick high and is readily available. However, teenage crack abuse is on the decline. By the time they graduate 12th grade, about 1 percent of teenagers will have used crack cocaine at least once. However, as recently as 2009, the numbers were much higher-about 6 percent of teens used crack during their high school years that year.

Parents who are concerned that their teens may be using crack should first attempt to talk to their kids about crack abuse. In addition, they should watch for signs of crack abuse such as extreme secrecy, overly sexual behavior on their kids' part, lack of appetite, mood swings and agitation. Since it can be difficult to tell the difference between drug use and normal teenage behavior, parents may want to bring their children to a doctor for evaluation. Parents who are concerned about their children's drug use can also call 1-800-943-0566 to know more about how to help a Crack addict.

Need Help Understanding Your Addiction Treatment Options? Call 1-888-747-7155.