Crack cocaine is a solid form of freebase cocaine. Crack cocaine is the street name given to one form of freebase cocaine that comes in small lumps or shavings. Freebase is the treatment of cocaine with chemicals which frees the cocaine base from the hydrochloride and lowers the temperature at which the cocaine melts. Unlike the processing of freebase cocaine, converting powder cocaine into crack cocaine does not involve any flammable solvents. The powder cocaine is simply dissolved in a solution of sodium bicarbonate and water. The solution is boiled and a solid substance separates from the boiling mixture. This solid substance, crack cocaine, is removed and allowed to dry. The crack cocaine is then broken or cut into "rocks," each typically weighing from one-tenth to one-half a gram. The term "crack" refers to the crackling sound heard when the mixture is smoked (heated), presumably from the sodium bicarbonate. One gram of pure powder cocaine will convert to approximately 0.89 grams of crack cocaine. The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that crack cocaine rocks are between 75 and 90 percent pure cocaine.
Crack cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug of abuse. Once having tried crack cocaine, an individual cannot predict or control the extent to which he or she will continue to use the drug. Crack cocaine has become a major problem in many American cities because it is inexpensive--selling for between $5 and $10 for one or two doses (usually 300-500mg)--and easily transportable--sold in small vials, folding paper, or tinfoil.
Crack cocaine is typically is smoked in pipes constructed of glass bowls fitted with one or more fine mesh screens that support the drug. The user heats the side of the bowl (usually with a lighter), and the heat causes the crack cocaine to vaporize. The user inhales the cocaine-laden fumes through the pipe. Facilitated by the large surface area of the lungs' air sacs, as crack cocaine is smoked it is absorbed almost immediately into the bloodstream, taking only 19 seconds to reach the brain. However, only 30 to 60 percent of the available dose is absorbed due to incomplete inhalation of the cocaine-laden fumes and variations in the heating temperature.
Smoking remains the predominant route of crack cocaine administration in Pulse Check cities around the country. However, some sources indicate that crack cocaine is also sometimes injected or snorted. Snorting is the process of inhaling crack cocaine powder through the nose where it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal tissues. Injecting is the act of using a needle to release the crack cocaine directly into the bloodstream. Smoking involves inhaling the crack cocaine vapor or smoke into the lungs where absorption into the bloodstream is as rapid as by injection.
There are many withdrawal symptoms that an individual who discontinues crack use experiences. These crack withdrawal symptoms include: agitation, depression, intense craving for the drug, extreme fatigue, anxiety, angry outbursts, lack of motivation, nausea/vomiting, shaking, irritability, muscle pain, and disturbed sleep.
Crack detox not only helps in easing the withdrawal symptoms experienced by the individual, it also helps in the path of crack addiction recovery. Detoxification from crack is invaluable to recovery because it helps in diminishing cravings for crack as well as ridding the body of harmful toxins deposited during crack use.