Cocaine Addiction Information
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All drugs have the potential to become addictive. As Russ, a graduate from the Narconon program stated in his success story video, sometimes those drugs can lead you down a spiraling road to loneliness. Russ began using drugs when he was in his early teens and would use a multitude of drugs often, including ecstasy, marijuana, Oxycontin, and more. He didn’t see his family much, and didn’t care to. He would only see his friends when they were all getting high. His drug usage isolated him from everyone close unless the drug was involved. Russ’ story is not uncommon; many people who become addicted to drugs spend more and more of their time around it. It consumes their lives.

Facts about Cocaine

Crack is a form of cocaine created when it is concentrated with baking soda until it forms a rock. This rock is most often smoked and does not dissolve well in water. Though it is not in its purest form, this version of cocaine does have addictive potential. Even Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine, though he maintained his stance that he was not an addict. His statements brought up an interesting question: is crack cocaine less addictive than other street drugs?

Studies on Cocaine Addiction

It is true: different people have different levels of tolerance. Some people become addicted to a substance after the first use, some are able to walk away from it and never use again. Robin Haslam, the Director of Operations and Procedures for Addiction Canada, stated he has never met someone who just casually smokes crack. Carl Hart, author of High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society, had a very interesting statistic about cocaine. In an interview with CBC Radio, he stated that 10 to 20 percent of people who use crack will become addicted, a number much lower than most people think.

Two different studies were taken on crack cocaine, in 1994 and 2010. The study in 1994 produced the Henningfield Rating Scale, a measure of harm for drugs based on five factors: withdrawal severity, habit forming, tolerance, dependence and intoxication. Developed by Jack Henningfield, a professor at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, the scale showed nicotine to be the highest ranking drug in the dependence category. Haslem believes that there is more to addiction than dependence, however. “In addiction,” Haslem says, “the person gets to a level (of dependence) where they knowingly administer the drug to themselves, knowing that it is causing them harm.” His statements certainly make sense, considering that a person can be dependent on medicines but not necessarily addicted to them. Haslem believes that developing an addiction is relative and various factors play into whether or not a person will become addicted to one or many substances, including family dynamics, socio-economic status, and even gender.

In 2010, David Nutt and a group of his colleagues developed a different scale using many of Henningfield’s factors for measuring addiction potential. Nutt’s study used 16 different criteria and ranked 20 of the drugs for their harmfulness. Factors included in Nutt’s study were drug-related health and mortality risks, dependence, loss of possessions and relationships, crime, health care costs and environmental damage in production of the drug. Nutt’s study found alcohol to be the leading harmful substance; however, in terms of dependency crack cocaine ranked highest.

The studies both concluded that there are various factors involved with addiction. Crack cocaine is a street drug and is not less addictive overall. Rather, it depends on the person who is using and on the various factors in their lives.

References:

CBCNews – http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/crack-cocaine-how-addictive-is-it-1.2432281

Narconon Success Video from ‘Russ’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quSoHwEgKuE