Cocaine Vs Crack – What’s the Difference?
Cocaine is usually snorted through the nose, although it can also be smoked or injected. It is frequently mixed with other serious drugs such as methamphetamines or opioids like heroin and fentanyl, often without the cocaine user’s knowledge. Chemical dependency can also develop more quickly with cocaine than with other drugs. In some cases, cocaine and crack users can develop an abuse disorder after just a few uses.
What Makes Crack Different?
Crack Cocaine is the “rock” version of cocaine. A derivative of cocaine, which is a powdered hydrochloride salt, crack is created when pure cocaine (or a mix of cocaine and other fillers) is processed into a solid using baking soda and water. It is then broken into chunks and smoked with a crack pipe. The name “crack” refers to the crackling sound that occurs when these are smoked.
Several factors differentiate crack from cocaine:
- Length and Immediacy of Effect
Crack produces an immediate but much shorter-lasting high than pure powder cocaine. Snorting or orally ingesting cocaine takes a few minutes for the high to set in, which then lasts anywhere from 10-30 minutes. When crack cocaine is smoked, the effects kick in almost instantaneously and usually last under ten minutes.
- Price Point
Cocaine is notoriously associated with corporate America and has been called the “rich man’s drug.” It is especially expensive because the high it creates is so short-lived. Crack gained popularity in the 1980s as a less-expensive substitute for Cocaine. Because of its lower price point, it became prevalent in low-income areas throughout the U.S. It also gained a reputation for high use in minority groups, though this is not necessarily the case.
- Sentencing differences for Cocaine vs Crack Possession
For the last several decades, crack and cocaine possession have been treated very differently in court. A common belief that crack was more dangerous and addictive than cocaine developed during the height of the War on Drugs era, causing much harsher sentences to be levied on crack users. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the sentencing disparity between powder cocaine and crack was 100-1 until 2010 (Currently, the disparity is 18-1 nationally).
Because of crack’s presence in low-income areas, this sentencing disparity means that impoverished people and people of color are much likelier to receive harsh sentences for drug possession.
Risks And Side Effects Of Cocaine And Crack
Our culture tends to view cocaine and crack as two separate drugs, and the U.S. court system administers very different repercussions. However, the physical and psychological risks are very closely related. Neither drug is universally dirtier or more dangerous to use.
Side Effects include:
- Numbness of the mouth, nose, or site of injection
- High blood pressure
- Decreased appetite
- Mood disorders
- Risk of Hepatitis and HIV (if injected)
- Nosebleeds and nasal problems (if snorted)
Because users generally smoke crack, frequent users potentially develop lung and respiratory problems. One side effect unique to crack use is coughing up blood or black phlegm. This is more likely to happen the more someone smokes crack, and is a sign of serious internal damage.
Death from cocaine overdose is a real possibility with each use, even the first time. It becomes a stronger risk the more tolerant someone becomes of the drug, as they find themselves needing to use more to feel the same effect. While tolerance of cocaine high builds over time, the body is less and less able to handle its side effects.
Overdose symptoms sometimes include:
- Acute anxiety
- Heart attack
- Psychosis (a loss of connection with reality)>
Withdrawal For Cocaine Vs Crack
Just as Crack and Cocaine produce a similar high and range of side effects, the withdrawal process between the two is nearly identical.
Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal include:
- Intense cravings for the drug
- Apathy and drowsiness
- Poor cognitive function
Withdrawal symptoms begin shortly after last use, and for someone who is dealing with addiction, it is possible to last for months in varying forms and intensity. Cocaine cravings, for instance, are more likely to appear weeks to months after someone quits than in the initial withdrawal phase.
Treatment And Recovery
If you or someone you know is struggling with cocaine or crack abuse, get help now. Contact us today and get more information on our programs here.
It is our mission to compassionately empower every client who walks through the door of Mountain View Recovery Center. Our vision is to provide support and structure in a community-based, clinical setting using evidence based practices. Our purpose is to break the stigma of addiction and show our clients a united way to lifelong recovery.
Mountain View Recovery Treatment Programs
Addiction is complex, which means treatment and long-term recovery are complex. Despite this, it shouldn’t scare anyone – patients or their loved ones. It just means that treatment and recovery both require thorough and thoughtful planning.
Our outpatient program (OP) is a transition preparatory phase. It provides a minimum of nine (9) hours of weekly outpatient treatment. This involves a minimum of one (1) hour/s individual substance abuse/behavioral health counseling per week.
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