• Alcohol Facts
  • Some people lose control over their use of crack almost from the start.
  • While nearly always smoked, there are reports of users injecting crack.
  • Crack impairs your judgment which may lead to unwise decisions around sexual activity. This can increase your risk for HIV/AIDS and other diseases, as well as rape and unplanned pregnancy.
  • Pipes have been made of various common items including soft drink cans to smoke crack.
Crack & Cocaine Addiction
Crack is an extremely powerful form of cocaine. Once an individual has tried crack they may be unable to predict or control the extent to which they will continue to use. Crack is probably the most addictive substance yet devised. Crack addicts must have more and more crack to sustain their high and avoid the intense "crash" or depression that follows their binges. They become physically and psychologically dependent on crack, which often is a result of only a few doses of the drug taken within a few days. This dependence can lead to addiction. To balance off the intense lows, cocaine users often use other drugs, such as alcohol, hash or marijuana.

This all to often is the process of crack addiction: the soon to be addict takes his first hit. Upon inhalation of this powerful drug the users body instantly begins the addiction process. The individual's mental and emotional being is soon to follow, but for now just their body suffers from the initials stages of cocaine addiction. After the first few times of the drug their mind slowly starts the addiction process. This grows stronger and stronger until the addict mentally believes that they cannot live without the drug. They now are entangled in a full fledged addiction. Shortly after this occurs crack takes complete control over their emotions.

Once the individual's emotions have been over ridden by cocaine they no longer feel normal without being intoxicated. When this occurs they feel the need to use more cocaine just to feel normal. In order to get high they have to take an immense amount of the drug. Their addiction has infiltrated all areas of their life. They can no longer function physically, emotionally, or mentally without cocaine. This cycle of addiction continues until the individual either quits using or dies.

The above process of cocaine addiction demonstrates the potential power of this insidious drug. Even though death lurks around the corner, individuals with an addiction to cocaine continue to uses with no regard for their life, or anyone elses.

Crack addiction is attributed in part to its short-lived high which causes the user to want another hit almost immediately. Smoking crack delivers large quantities of cocaine to the lungs which goes directly to the brain in a concentrated form through the bloodstream, producing effects comparable to intravenous injection.

Crack Addiction has spread out from the cities and into residential communities nation wide. More than three-quarters (32 of 42) of law enforcement, and Pulse Check sources consider crack to be widely available in their communities. In most of these communities, crack continues to be locally processed and distributed. Settings for drug sales include parties, schools, college campuses, raves, and shopping malls. Crack tends to be sold in 0.1 and 0.2 gram rocks which generally cost approximately $10 and $20.

Crack Addiction and Crime Rates

Due to the nature of crack addiction, there is a strong link to crime as users seek to fund their habit. During FY 2000, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made 8,718 arrests involving powder cocaine and 6,734 arrests involving crack. More than 3,000 of those arrested by the DEA for crack related offenses were between the ages of 21 and 30. The DEA made 13,588 cocaine and crack related arrests during FY 2001, representing 38.8% of the total arrests made by the DEA during that year. Also, during FY 2001, 41.2% of the Federal defendants nationwide were charged with committing drug offenses. Crack was involved in 4,941 (20.4%) of the Federal drug cases.

  • Crack is the only drug for which the first offense of simple possession can trigger a federal mandatory minimum sentence. Possession of 5 grams of the drug will trigger a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence. "Simple possession of any quantity of any other substance by a first-time offender-including powder cocaine-is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum of one year in prison." (21 U.S.C. 844.)
    Source: US Sentencing Commission, Special Report to Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy (Washington DC: US Sentencing Commission, February 1995), p. iii.
  • In federal court today, low-level crack dealers and first-time offenders sentenced for the trafficking of the drug receive an average sentence of 10 years and six months. Source: US Sentencing Commission, Special Report to the Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy (Washington DC: US Sentencing Commission, February 1995), p. 150

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