Crack addiction is a serious dependence condition. It is difficult to treat effectively due to its prevalence in the population and relatively ease with which it can be purchased. If needed, it could be used clinically however its primary use is recreationally. Those with crack addiction use it repeatedly because it stimulates the central nervous system producing happiness, euphoria and increased energy. Crack acts directly on the brains reward system which is the source of this sense of well-being and contentment. Continued stimulation of this centre can cause crack addiction.
Crack originates from an alteration in the process to prepare cocaine for free basing, or smoking. Cocaine producers omitted the purification step of separating the pure freebase cocaine from an ammonia mixture. The end result of this process is that the cut, in addition to the added ammonium salt, remains in the freebase cocaine after the fluid is boiled away. A ‘rock’ of cocaine is the result. This is crack cocaine.
In popular culture, crack addiction is seen as a skid row drug of desperation. This is due to the fact that crack tends to come in small, cheap packages and cocaine is often extremely expensive. These small packages of crack, relatively affordable to those with a crack addiction, can cost anywhere from five to twenty dollars. The amount varies as well depending on the supply in that geographical area.
The side effects of crack addiction are many and diverse. They range from chronic loss of appetite to, muscle damage respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, and brain damage. Smoking crack is particularly dangerous as those with crack addiction typically continue to smoke their entire stash resulting in an overdose. The specific treatment of crack overdose is either the intravenous injection of adrenaline or diazepam by a licensed medical professional. However, there is no antidote for overdose and many people with a crack addiction succumb before treatment.