What you Don’t Know about Crack Use
Everyone has heard of the dangerous street drug crack. It is virtually impossible to shake the disturbing images of crack babies from the 1980s, and crack’s destructive reputation has been embedded in the minds of Americans ever since that era. But do you know what it is? Or even how it virtually appeared on the streets overnight? Education about the crack use spreads the awareness about its dangers and prevents history from repeating itself.
Crack Vs. Cocaine: What’s the Difference?
Crack is essentially a cocaine in crystalline form. Users inhale the smoke from the crystal form of this chemically-altered powder cocaine mixture. Crack and cocaine are virtually the same substance on a molecular level. The only acknowledged difference between the two is the method of creation and usage.
Although the two share such commonalities, crack and cocaine have very different stigmas throughout our country and the world itself. Because of its steep price and celebrity use cocaine is looked at as a glamorous recreational drug. Crack is widely acknowledged as a hard street drug, grouped in the same category as heroin and meth. While the casual use of cocaine is mostly widely accepted in the night and college life of America, crack use is essentially frowned upon and the reason for worry. Crack is usually thought of as the more addictive and harmful substance. The truth is that both forms of cocaine are equally dangerous, no matter the stigma placed upon them.
The Dangers of Crack Addiction
Crack is so addictive because it forms dependency very fast. The drug administers high levels of euphoric feelings directly in the brain immediately after use. This is because it copies the same effect as natural stimulation inhibitors in specific pleasure sensors of the brain. Crack’s effects wear off after only a few minutes, so keeping the high requires continual use. This is one reason crack causes such rapid physiological dependence, and in turn addiction in even first time users.
Crack comes with multiple harmful side effects, whether short or long-term. Crack addicts are often habitual users because dependency occurs so rapidly. The addict’s brain becomes accustomed to the chemicals, which imitate natural inhibitors, further deepening the addiction. Many addicts will only feel at ease when crack is in their bloodstream. Crack use causes harmful and dangerous effects including:
- Violent behaviors
- Depression and anxiety
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Circulatory problems
- Lung failure
- Tooth rot
- Vivid hallucinations
The History of Crack
The reason for the unbalanced stigma placed upon crack stems from its history. Crack was concocted recently in the 1970s; but, cocaine has served multiple purposes for hundreds of generations. By the 1980s crack was flooding the streets of almost every major city. During this time there was a large amount of cocaine in the US, causing a steep decrease in its price internationally. Changing cocaine from powder to hard form made it easier to sell in smaller amounts for dealers and easier to use for buyers.
Because of its wide availability and affordable prices crack quickly became the new drug of choice throughout the poorer population. By 1984, crack use was so widespread in America that an epidemic was proclaimed. This epidemic was blamed on low-income individuals that were mercilessly swept up in addiction to the drug. Because of the higher population of minorities in poor areas certain minorities were acknowledged as the face of crack use.
Crack abuse is associated with many social problems; including crime, unemployment rates, and children placed in foster homes. Unfortunately, these problems were apparent long before the arrival of crack and blaming the poor for the epidemic only caused a stigma still accepted today.
Changing the Stigma of Crack Use
Regardless of the drug of choice, there are recurring themes in all addict’s rock bottoms. Crack use can change a person’s life much faster than other drugs because of its highly addictive nature but the end result is still addiction just as other drugs. The reputation placed on crack users gives them the cold shoulder of this nation. A lack of support and services for crack addicts is the result of this stigma. Many crack addicts live life in despair and hopelessness, thinking there is no hope for their lives.
Treatment for crack and cocaine addiction is successful. It takes much perseverance and is not easy, but it is possible. Wanting help is the first step in successful recovery. No one can force an addict to go to treatment. An addict has to come to that realization on his/her own terms.
If you or a loved one have a crack or cocaine addiction, find a treatment center before this terrifying drug completely takes down the individual. Your life IS important and you ARE worthy to live it happily. Mentally invest yourself in recovery, so you can once again regain control over your life and find happiness.