What Is Crack?

Teenagers have a lot to deal with. Growing up and becoming more independent comes with major changes, so you might feel unsure of yourself at times. You might be worried about getting into college one day and the state of your social life the next. You are under many different kinds of pressure, which can only get more difficult if experimenting with drugs enters the equation.

It can be hard to resist giving in to the pressure to do drugs, especially when it seems like everyone doing them is having fun and not dealing with the consequences. And there are movies, songs, and magazines that portray drug use as the cool thing to do or a way to prove yourself. However, if you get involved with drugs, the negative consequences can become a harsh and potentially deadly reality.

Common Perceptions of Crack

If the consequences of drug use are so negative, it might be hard to imagine that anyone would want to try crack (also known as “rock” or “base”), which is a type of cocaine. Some people, who do it out of curiosity or rebelliousness, think they’re too smart to become addicted, while others simply think they’re too healthy or too young to die. This sort of reasoning is not very realistic. When drug use becomes an addiction, the risks and consequences no longer matter; only getting high does.

Many people also think that crack is a problem only among the poor, but people of many different incomes, races, backgrounds, and education have become addicted to crack. While more crack is sold and smoked in cities, it’s not just an urban problem. Crack is bought by all kinds of people and sold all over the country.

Crack is also not just an adult problem. According to the Monitoring the Future study, in 2013 (the last year for which data is available), 1.2 percent of eighth grade students and 1.8 percent of twelfth grade students in the U.S. had tried crack. The 2013 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey found that 0.9 percent of Canadian teens across grades nine to twelve had used crack.

Although crack cocaine may produce an intense high, one that gives you immediate feelings of alertness and euphoria, the high wears off almost before you can repack your pipe. The physical damage, however, can last much longer or have lethal consequences. And those who survive and overcome crack addiction must rebuild their lives, their relationships with their family and friends, and serve time in rehab or jail. The struggle to stay sober may even include relapses in crack use.

Same Drug, Different Ways of Using It

The way the drug is taken and how quickly it is absorbed into the user's body are the only differences between crack and cocaine.
The effects of crack and powdered cocaine upon the human body are the same. When autopsies are done on users who have lethally overdosed, the coroner cannot tell whether it was crack or powdered cocaine that was used. The way the drug is taken and how quickly it is absorbed into the user’s body are the only differences between crack and cocaine.

Powdered cocaine is usually taken by snorting it through the nose, although it can also be taken intravenously or swallowed. When it’s snorted, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream through the tissues that line the nose. Injecting it sends it straight into the blood and quickly throughout the body. “Shooting up” is the fastest way to get cocaine into your bloodstream, but smoking crack is the second fastest way. When using crack, the smoke is sent into the lungs where it’s immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. However, no matter how cocaine is taken, the damage and risks of using it remain the same.