Also Called: 
crack cocaine, base, beat, devil drug, gravel, hardball, kryptonite, rock(s), scrabble, tornado

What is Crack?

Crack is the crystal form of cocaine, which normally comes in a powder form. Crack comes in solid blocks or crystals ranging in colour from yellow to pale pink or white. Crack is heated and smoked using a glass or metal pipe. It gets its name because of the cracking or popping sound it makes when heated.

The difference between crack and cocaine is that smoking crack allows the drug to reach the brain more quickly. The high is intense and immediate and only lasts for about as long as you can hold your breath. People usually want more of it right away. Crack is even more addictive than cocaine and much less expensive, at first. You can become addicted after your first time trying crack and soon need more and more of it to get the same effect. The more you need, the more expensive the habit becomes.


Crack, the most potent form of cocaine, is also the riskiest. It is between 75 per cent and 100 per cent pure, much stronger and more potent than regular cocaine.

Effects of Crack

The immediate effect of smoking crack is intense happiness and full-body pleasure. The high does not last long. Soon after taking the first “hit” you will want more. That is what makes this drug so dangerous.

When the effects wear off, or your supply runs out, you begin to feel 'down' or depressed. Some people say they can never again get the same intense rush they got on their first time smoking crack.

Problems using Crack

Because the crack high is so short and so intense, people often want to take more as soon as the effects start to wear off.  Crack users often “binge” and “crash”, meaning they smoke it over and over in a short period, and then have feelings of intense depression, sluggishness and hunger afterwards.  Withdrawal symptoms are incredibly strong for about a week, but users continue to have cravings for up to two years afterwards. Anything a person associates with using crack can trigger a craving: this could be anger, joy, or even a song or a movie. As time goes on, these triggers will get less common, but they will continue to exist for years after the person stops using. 

Because crack is inhaled through the lungs, it can cause all sorts of breathing problems, such as coughing, bleeding, shortness of breath, and lung trauma.

The hot pipe can leave burns on your lips and because the smoke passes through your mouth it can cause teeth problems like cavities, graying of the teeth and tooth-decay. When you have mouth burns and sores and share pipes with other crack users, it makes you much more likely to get diseases like Hepatitis C.

Some crack users experience dangerous hallucinations such as believing there are bugs crawling on their skin. People experiencing these hallucinations might scratch themselves and cause serious skin damage and bleeding.

Crack use can also cause paranoia and aggressive or violent outbursts. 

People die from smoking crack, sometimes even from the very first time they use it. Often it’s because you’ve overdosed. Sometimes it is because a poison has been mixed in with the crack or because your body has reacted to it in an unexpected way.

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