Crack and Cocaine: The Deadly Risk

Other names used: big C, coke, blow, nose candy, flake, white, lady. Once these stimulants are used in any form the dangerous game begins. Derived from the leaf of the coca plant, cocaine is processed into a white powder and passed along to street dealers and users. Initially, the powder form sometimes called coke, blow or C gained wide usage as an inhalant.

It was sometimes liquefied for injection into the blood stream. Then later, a process was employed to convert the powder into a solid substance that could be smoked. "Crack" is the name given to the product because of the "cracking" noise that results when used.

Using cocaine in any form can be a deadly business and even a first time user can suffer heart attack, stroke or respiratory failure. In all cases blood pressure is increased, heart beat rises, and both breathing rate and body temperature are effected.

Regardless of how cocaine is processed or used it is highly addictive. Smoking and vapor inhaling of cocaine in a "free base" seem to trigger compulsion most rapidly. However, intravenous injection brings equally powerful consequences with the added potential of AIDS or hepatitis.

Addiction to cocaine will cause serious damage to both physical and mental health. The user is quickly drawn into a spiral of increased dependency. Ultimately, addiction to crack or cocaine can become so powerful as to take control of nearly every aspect of the addict's life. It is not uncommon for users to become "dealers," spending every penny they earn to support their habit. People under frequent influence of crack and cocaine are living a life of constant risk. And, since both use and possession are criminal acts the individual caught up in the addiction can face not only the loss of property but possible jail time.

When cocaine is used with alcohol added complications arise. The two substances work in conjunction for higher highs and lower lows. The physical effects of both substances working together pose particular concerns for sudden heart failure, loss of consciousness, and inability to coordinate. Cocaine and crack use have been major factors in auto accidents, deaths by drowning, and suicides.


Some added facts about cocaine:
  • Cocaine is among the most powerfully addictive drugs.
  • Frequent and heavy use of crack or cocaine can produce hallucinations, paranoia, depression and insomnia.
  • Cocaine in nearly any form will cause elevated blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Excessive use of cocaine or crack, may result in respiratory failure or death.
  • Cocaine use increases risk of HIV and hepatitis when injected.