Crack is a type of cocaine that has not been neutralized by an acid to make the hydrochloride salt. It is a rock crystal which is heated, and then the vapors are smoked. Despite the frequency or quantity of cocaine used, any user can develop cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disorders, such as stroke or heart attack. Deaths from cocaine are commonly due to cardiac arrest or seizure followed by respiratory arrest.
Crack cocaine affects the central nervous by interfering with the reabsorption process of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that is linked to movement and pleasure. A dopamine buildup leads to constant stimulation of “receiving” neurons, which causes euphoria.
Physical effects of cocaine are increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, constricted blood vessels. Mental clarity, lower fatigue, and hyper stimulation are the euphoric effects, and have varying lengths, depending on how the drug is taken. The high from snorting may last 15 to 30 minutes, while it might only last five to 10 minutes from smoking. Depression, anxiety, restlessness, and irritability occur once the high starts to dissipate which reinforces the need to use more of the drugs. Constant usage of Crack/cocaine can significantly lower how long a user feels high, which in turn increases potential addiction.
Many addicts say that after their first exposure to crack/cocaine, they can never achieve that amount of pleasure again. Tolerance can easily grow because users will increase how much cocaine they use, to try to make the effects last. Even though users may experience tolerance to the high, they can become more sensitive to cocaine’s convulsions and anesthetic effects without raising the dose.
A crack/cocaine binge can cause paranoia, increasing irritability, and restlessness. During a binge, the user repeatedly and increasingly takes cocaine, and can then enter a full-blown paranoid psychosis, which makes the user lose touch with reality and experience auditory hallucinations.
There are many related complications due to cocaine. These include disturbances in heart rhythm and heart attacks, chest pain, respiratory failure, seizures, strokes, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems. Severe users can become malnourished because it can decrease appetite.
Regular snorting of cocaine will cause loss in sense of smell, nosebleeds, constantly runny nose, and problems with swallowing. Those who inject the drug are at increased risk for developing HIV along with other diseases.
The combination of crack/cocaine and alcohol yields the substance coca ethylene that strengthens cocaine’s euphoric effects, and at the same time increases the risk of sudden death. The liver is responsible for this potentially disastrous complex chemical experiment.
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