Cocaine Addiction Information
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cocaine use

Crack is a drug that everyone has heard of, but not necessarily a drug that everyone has experience dealing with.  In this way crack use has a sort of mythical quality, and crack addicts are often portrayed as caricatures in popular culture.  The truth about crack addiction is a truth where reality is just as bad, if not worse, than the fiction associated with its use.  So, what is crack, and what happens to people when they become addicted to it?

Crack is a powerful form of cocaine that is processed differently than powdered cocaine so that it can be smoked. Both powdered cocaine and crack are central nervous system stimulants that come from the leaves of the coca plant, but the effects are different based on the way they are ingested.  When a person smokes crack the active ingredients enter the bloodstream almost instantly through the lungs and produce an intense but short-lived high.

Both forms of cocaine have a high incidence of abuse and dependency, but affect the user differently.  While both are addicted to the same chemical there are notable differences in cocaine addiction for those who abuse powder and those that abuse crack.

Signs of Crack Use

Being a “crack head”, or a crack addict, is a name that generally no one wants to be called.  The name implies that a person is homeless, destitute, insane, and doesn’t particularly care about anything except for getting more crack.  This stereotypical crack head is one end of the spectrum of cocaine abuse, but in reality no one is immune from the negative effects of crack use.

Crack produces a short but intense high in the user which leads them to want to use the drug again when it wears off.  This means crack users binge on the drug, and may stay awake for days at a time.  The initial use causes a change in the user’s inhibitions making them seemingly uninterested in anything but the drug.  Although everyone is slightly different in how crack affects them, the following are the most common behaviors associated with crack addiction:

1. Acting paranoid – The stimulant properties of crack cause an increase in alertness but also alter perception to produce a state of paranoia.  The intense high is hard to conceal and most people who smoke crack are noticeably paranoid while using.

2. Spending money – Since the euphoria associated with the high of using crack wears off in a matter of minutes the addict continues to use in order to “chase” that feeling.  This in combination with decreased inhibitions is a recipe for the addict to spend more money on the drug than they intended.

3. Disappearing – A person who is using crack will not feel comfortable around people when using the drug and may disappear while binging.  Addicts commonly disappear for days with no good explanation of where they’ve been or what they’ve been doing.

4. Lying – Lying and addiction go hand in hand.  Even when faced with indisputable evidence an addict will lie in order to protect themselves, and conceal their use.

5. Stealing – Crack addiction is expensive and it is common for an addict to steal from just about anyone while they are chasing their high.  Most long-term addicts admit to stealing from their closest friends and family members.

An Addict’s Story of Recovery

Although crack addiction is difficult to overcome and there is a high relapse rate, many addicts recover with help.  Garret had a crack addiction that he says caused him to throw everything away.  He says he stole from family and friends, and pawned everything he owned just to continue using the drug.  In the following video he talks about how his life was during addiction and how it’s changed since he completed the drug treatment program at Narconon Arrowhead.

See his full story here:



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