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“I guess that’s what they’re calling it these days”

I recently spoke to a woman who was telling me about her 15 year old son’s drug addiction to crack. She said, “I guess that’s what they’re calling it these days” in such a way that you could tell she really hadn’t heard the term before.

She had been out of the loop, thinking she had no reason to know of this particular drug or its nickname until her son came to her about it.

I just couldn’t help but think…. somehow people need to know about this and be aware of it. If she didn’t know about the drug, then she would have no reason to suspect her sons use of it.

This goes for anything: If I had no clue about “bird flu” or whatever the current threat to society is, I wouldn’t be looking for it. I wouldn’t be concerned about my family catching it or anything of the sort. So, maybe if we all knew a little something about the various threats to our society, we would know how to spot them.

I personally have only ever heard the term “crack” in movies, the news etc…. I didn’t really know anything other than that. So it isn’t so unbelievable that this woman didn’t know much about it either.

With all of that said, here are just a few things I have recently learned about the drug known as “crack.”

Pure cocaine is a chemical that comes from the leaves of the coca bush, which grows mostly in Peru and Bolivia. It is then mixed with hydrochloric acid which forms a salt called cocaine hydrochloride. This powdered form of cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and injected into a vein. This has been an abused substance for more than 100 years.

Crack Cocaine, a form of cocaine, is made by a simple process: The powdered cocaine is dissolved in sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water. The three are boiled together, where a solid substance separates from the boiling mixture. This solid substance, after being separated and dried, is called crack. The crack cocaine is then broken or cut into “rocks”. The DEA estimates that each rock is between 75% and 90% pure cocaine. These rocks are then smoked using all different apparatuses from glass pipes to tinfoil and straws. Anything to get the smoke inhaled serves the purpose.

Because crack is smoked, it is absorbed much faster than when cocaine powder is snorted. The person begins to feel the effects in less than 10 seconds. The immediate high attainable through smoking crack, is one of the reasons it became so popular in the mid-1980’s. It is also inexpensive to produce and to buy.

Crack is a highly addictive drug, which has effects on the central nervous system. Because the intense effects of crack occur immediately and begin to fade shortly after, crack is smoked again and again to try and keep the high going. You may have heard in news stories that crack is so addictive that if you used it just once, you can become an addict. That is just one of the things that is so dangerous about it.

SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, found that in 2005, 1.4 million people had used crack cocaine within that year alone. 682,000 had reported past month use of crack and approximately 7.9 million Americans, ages 12 and older had reported using crack at least once in their lifetimes.

Crack cocaine represented 72% of all primary cocaine admissions to treatment in 2004.

Some of the effects of crack cocaine are constricted blood vessels, increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, restlessness, irritability and anxiety. Additional risks include respiratory problems like shortness of breath, chest pains, lung trauma, and bleeding. With long-term use, violence and paranoia has been noted.

Cocaine, although once used for anesthesia during eye, nose, and throat surgeries, has lost all medical purposes and is now used for recreational purposes only.

Article by Eric

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