The Issue With The Crack

468725849Cocaine (C17H21NO4)is a highly addictive, psychoactive, stimulant drug. It is usually sold as a fine, white powder. Cocaine is a controlled substance and its use in the U.S. is illegal when used as recreational drug. The hydrochloric salt form of cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and injected. Freebase, or crack is cocaine hydrochloride processed with ammonia or a baking soda solution and heated to remove the hydrochloride salt. This ‘freebase’ form of cocaine does not dissolve in water; it is a rock crystal that can be heated and smoked. Crack may be processed with a high percentage of impurities. The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound heard when it is heated prior to smoking.

Effects of Cocaine Abuse

Normally, dopamine is released by neurons in your brain in response to potential rewards such as a good smell or knowing that something really good is coming your way, perhaps the smell of food can trigger this release. This release of dopamine is later recycled back in to the neurons in your brain and that is the natural way of feeling pleasure.  Cocaine stops the dopamine from being properly recycled, resulting in excessive amounts to build up in the synapse, or junction between neurons. This strengthens the dopamine signal and eventually disturbs normal brain communication. It is this excess of dopamine that causes cocaine’s characteristic high.

What Is A Crack Head?

Frequent users of this substance are also known as ‘crack heads’. These users develop a tolerance and addiction to the substance and prolonged exposure can cause feeling irritable, restless, and anxious.  Many addicts increase and prolong exposure to the substance in attempt to feel as they did when they were first exposed to the substance yet fail to achieve that sense of euphoric pleasure. Users can also become more sensitive to cocaine’s anesthetic and convulsant effects without increasing the dose taken. This heightened sensitivity may explain some deaths occurring after seemingly low doses of cocaine.

Effects of Cocaine Abuse

People who binge on cocaine can also experience severe paranoia — a temporary state of full-blown paranoid psychosis — it is a state of mind where they lose touch with reality and experience auditory hallucinations.

Other side effects of cocaine abuse may include:

– Heart problems
– Respiratory effects
– Nervous system problems
– Digestive problems
– Contracting HIV and other diseases
– Serious skin infections
– Severe allergic reactions
– Death