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Crack Cocaine Addiction and Recovery Facts

Crack cocaine is an extremely powerful and addictive stimulant that produces feelings of intense pleasure or euphoria.1, 3 Repeated use can lead to short- and long-term effects, which can be dangerous and potentially increase the likelihood of an overdose.1, 2 If you or a loved one are struggling with crack cocaine misuse, this article will help you understand more about the substance and how to get help if you are struggling with misuse.
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What Is Crack Cocaine?

Crack cocaine is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant that is made by processing cocaine with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to form small “rocks,” which make a cracking sound when heated then smoked.1 Crack cocaine can range in color from white to a light tan.

Smoking crack cocaine results in very rapid absorption into the bloodstream, which leads to its effects being felt almost instantly. These instant effects are short-lived, lasting for only 5 to 10 minutes, and then wear off quickly. This can lead people into a cycle of binge use to maintain the high.1, 3

Signs of Crack Cocaine Addiction

A person who has a crack addiction will continue to use the drug despite negative consequences. These consequences can range from health issues and legal problems to struggles in relationships.

Overdose Symptoms

Overdose and overdose deaths are risk factors associated with crack cocaine misuse.1 The total number of cocaine overdose deaths rose from 5,419 in 2014 to 19,447 in 2019, making it even more important to prevent crack cocaine misuse.11 A person who has developed a tolerance (needing more crack to produce effects) to crack cocaine may be at higher risk of an overdose.9 Combining crack cocaine with other substances may also increase the risk of overdose and other adverse health effects.1, 8

Crack Cocaine Treatment

Choosing to get treatment for crack cocaine addiction is a brave first step toward a healthier lifestyle. Unlike other substances, there are not any FDA-approved medications to specifically treat stimulant use disorder.1 However medications may be used to help treat some of the general symptoms of withdrawal.

Treatment for stimulant use disorders often includes behavioral therapies. These therapies work to address underlying triggers associated with substance misuse and develop healthy coping skills to avoid relapse.1

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