Crack Cocaine Facts

Crack cocaine on table with glass tube on top
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Crack or crack cocaine is a form of cocaine. It has not been neutralized by an acid to make cocaine hydrochloride, the pure form of the chemical. Crack comes in a rock crystal form that can be heated and inhaled or smoked. It is called 'crack' in reference to the cracking sound it makes when it is heated. Crack cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant.

What Does Crack Look Like?

Crack looks like irregularly-shaped off-white or white rocks.

How Is Crack Cocaine Used?

Crack cocaine is almost always smoked or freebased. Freebasing involves heating the crack until it liquefies and inhaling the vapors through a pipe. The vapors are absorbed by the lungs, producing an immediate euphoric high.

Why Do People Use Crack Cocaine?

Crack is a readily available form of cocaine. Cocaine is used because it produces euphoria, is a stimulant, suppresses appetite, and can be used as a pain reliever.

What Are the Effects of Crack Cocaine Use?

Users typically feel a "rush" followed by a sense of alertness and well-being. Cocaine increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is associated with pleasure and increased movement. The pleasant effects of crack wear off quickly (5-10 minutes), causing users to feel 'down' or depressed, more than before taking the drug. Some users report being unable to duplicate the intensity of the first exposure with subsequent use.

What Are the Risks of Using Crack?

Crack is highly addictive, possibly even more than other forms of cocaine. Crack users are at risk for the usual effects of cocaine (dangerously elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature, as well as the risk of seizure and cardiac arrest). They are also at increased risk of respiratory disorders, such as coughing, bleeding, shortness of breath, and lung trauma. Crack use can cause paranoia and aggressiveness.

Where Does Crack Cocaine Come From?

Crack cocaine is made by dissolving powdered cocaine in a mixture of water and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or ammonia. This mixture is boiled, dried, and broken into rock-like chunks. The original cocaine comes from a paste made from the leaves of the South American coca plant.

Street Names for Crack Cocaine

  • 24-7
  • Badrock
  • Beat Candy
  • Chemical Cloud
  • Cookies Crumbs
  • Crunch & Munch
  • Devil Drug Dice
  • Electric Kool-Aid
  • Fat Bags
  • French Fries
  • Glo Gravel
  • Grit Hail
  • Hardball
  • Hard Rock
  • Hotcakes
  • Ice Cube
  • Jellybeans
  • Nuggets
  • Paste
  • Piece
  • Prime Time Product
  • Raw Rock(s)
  • Scrabble
  • Sleet
  • Snow
  • Coke
  • Tornado
  • Troop