Cocaine typically comes in two forms: powdered and “crack”. Crack is a solid rock-like substance that is crudely refined compared to its powder counterpart and is therefore much cheaper and more easily accessible for low-income individuals looking to get high. Because the drug is smoked, crack residue is usually found in small pipes or smoking apparatuses and is relatively dark in color.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a stimulant drug derived from the coca plant native to South America. Its color can range from white to off-white to pink or beige in powdered form. The same is true for crack cocaine, but as noted, it will take on a dark yellow, brown, or black appearance when smoked.
Cocaine hydrochloride has to be extracted from the coca plant using solvents or acid. Although purer forms tend to come in shades of white, cocaine’s appearance on the black market can vary due to the addition of other substances intended to make the drug more potent and/or increase dealer profits.
Substances such as talcum powder being added to cocaine will give the drug a whitish color. Other contaminants, such as powdered caffeine or procaine, can significantly alter the cocaine’s hue. Adding anything to cocaine’s form can result in a change in its presentation.
What Is Crack?
Crack cocaine is an unrefined but very potent form of cocaine. The drug is produced through a complex process involving baking soda, which results in crystalline rock-like forms. These products are smoked, unlike powdered cocaine, which is commonly snorted.
The high that results from crack cocaine onsets faster and more intensely than powdered cocaine, but it also subsides sooner, in about 15 minutes. Due to these robust but brief effects, people who abuse crack cocaine often use it in a binge-like fashion and are more likely to struggle with the disease of addiction.
What Does Crack Look Like?
The process of turning cocaine into crack produces crystals, also referred to as rocks. Rocks generally range in color from white or opaque to off-white or yellow, and they vary in size and shape. Like powder cocaine, color differences may be related to additives such as caffeine, sugar, etc.
Like traditional cocaine, adulterants can be mixed with the drug to bulk up the weight and increase dealer profits. In other cases, they may include additional, cheaper drugs, such as fentanyl, that are meant to heighten their effects and keep users coming back for more.
What Does Crack Smell Like?
When the drug is burning, people report that it smells similar to burning rubber or plastic. It often is described as having a very chemical smell when it is smoked. Although distinctive, the smell of crack might confuse some individuals naïve to its use and erroneously believe it is a person smoking meth or some other substance.
How Is Crack Abused?
Crack cocaine comes in a solid form, and as such, it is usually smoked. Freebase cocaine can be inhaled, but powdered cocaine requires high temperatures that are dangerous and could result in explosions.
By changing cocaine into the crack form, the drug can be melted at a lower temperature and may be, therefore, somewhat less risky. Smoking allows the user to absorb cocaine more rapidly through the lungs and into the bloodstream. This process produces a faster high than snorting.
Symptoms of Crack Intoxication
When a person struggles with crack addiction, they may appear intoxicated, to varying degrees, on a routine basis. Signs and symptoms of crack cocaine intoxication may include the following:
- Repeated bursts of energy
- Increased mental alertness for a short time
- Intense euphoria
- Rapid speech and talkativeness
- Lethargy, sleepiness, and depression as the drug’s effects subside
- Jitteriness or shakiness caused by an excess of dopamine flooding the brain
- Hoarseness, trouble speaking, or sore throat related to damage to mucous membranes in the throat
- Bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils
- Adverse changes in social circle, neglect of old friends for new ones who use substances
- Adverse changes in mood and behavior, including missing work, school, or social activities
- Strained or broken relationships with loved ones
Getting Help For Crack Cocaine Abuse or Addiction
If you suspect your loved one is abusing cocaine in any form, or if you find yourself unable to control cocaine use, there is help available. Just Believe Recovery offers comprehensive treatment programs uniquely designed to address an individual’s struggles with addiction and help them start their journey to long-term sobriety.
We employ highly-skilled, caring addiction specialists who deliver evidence-based services to those we treat. These services include psychotherapy, individual and family counseling, group support, substance abuse education, art and music therapy, aftercare planning, and much more.