Crack Cocaine

Cocaine, derived from the South American coca plant, is a potent stimulant and one of the most popular party drugs in the world. Cocaine is also an addictive and damaging substance.

Crack cocaine is the result of cooking powder cocaine with baking soda or ammonia, which is then cooled down into “rocks,” which can be smoked. When smoked, crack cocaine provides a hit which is faster, more potent and shorter than powder cocaine has powerful effects on the user’s brain and is the most addictive form of cocaine.

Cocaine use results in an excess of dopamine in the brain, giving user’s euphoria, increased energy and confidence. These effects do not last, leading to frequent reapplication of the drug, and the need to take a larger dose to feel the same euphoria. When smoked, crack cocaine provides a hit which is faster, more potent and shorter than powder cocaine.

Frequent abuse of crack cocaine can result in disruption in what is called the reward pathway, the brain functions that control motivation, reward-seeking and the perception of pleasure. Repeated disruption of this pathway can cause the brain to rely on crack cocaine; when natural rewards no longer generate pleasure, depression and distress can set in, alongside cravings for the drug.

This cycle, combined with withdrawal symptoms that can start as soon as 90 minutes after the last dose, results in users becoming addicted to cocaine in a short period of time.

If you think that your loved on is being hurt by their addiction to cocaine, call and get connected to a treatment professional right away.

Signs of Abuse


Long term crack cocaine usage results in physical symptoms that are present when an individual is high and persist after the cocaine high has worn off as well.


  • Interrupted sleep, insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Over excitement, agitation, aggression
  • Increased risk of heart attack or cardiac issues
  • Anxiety, paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Nosebleeds, runny nose
  • Irritability, extreme mood swings
  • Periods of increased activity followed by lethargy
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, hobbies or other interests
  • Weight loss
  • Increased risky behaviors
  • Disheveled appearance, lack of attention paid to personal hygiene
  • Depression or mood disorders can appear or dramatically worsen
  • Burns, blisters on lips, from the hot pipe
  • Respiratory symptoms

Symptoms of Withdrawal


After a crack cocaine binge, there is a crash and subsequent depression that can last several days. During this depression, cravings for cocaine intensify, due to the disruption of the brain’s reward pathway, mentioned above.

  • Irritability, anger, agitation
  • Lack of energy, apathy
  • Anxiety, paranoia
  • Anhedonia, inability to feel pleasure
  • Interrupted sleep, insomnia, nightmares
  • Depression or mood disorders can appear or dramatically worsen

Crack cocaine is most often smoked, but can be mixed with a liquid for injection. Crack cocaine users might have some or all of following, common items used to consume cocaine.

If you have noticed one or more of these signs of these signs and are worried that your loved one is struggling with cocaine, call us today.


  • Hypodermic needles – used to inject liquefied crack cocaine
  • Spoons or bottle caps – used for cooking meth, liquefying it for injection
  • Shoelaces, rubber hoses, length of string or similar – used to “tie off,” restricting blood flow on one’s limbs to make veins pop out
  • Lighters/ candles – heat source used to melt the drug


  • Steel wool, faucet aerator, drain screen, chore boy – used as a screen at the end of a crack pipe
  • Light bulb – improvised to smoke crack cocaine
  • Tin foil, aluminum cans – used to improvise a way to smoke crack cocaine
  • Glass pipes – used to smoke crack cocaine
  • Lighters, candles – heat source to smoke crack cocaine

Detox Process


Amatus Health detox facilities offer medically assisted detox for individuals facing acute withdrawal from cocaine, as well as inpatient and outpatient therapy programs designed to build the skills for long term recovery.

Because of crack cocaine’s effects on the brain’s reward pathways, it is important that any co-occurring mental health disorders are considered when implementing a treatment plan. At every level of care, you will have access to trained professionals to help you get clean and stay clean.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine, reach out to one of our treatment professionals today.

Further Treatment Options


At Amatus Health we off the full continuum of care, from intensive inpatient programs through a number of outpatient levels of care. We believe, supported by evidence, that a longer stay in treatment sets patients up for a better chance at long term recovery.

Every individual who goes through our care gets an individualized treatment plan designed around their needs, to treat the physical, mental and spiritual causes of substance abuse.

What it means to be an Amatus Managed Recovery Center

  • Person First Philosophy

    Our mission is to get you in the best facility that will allow you to heal and find long term recovery. Whether you enter one of our facilities or another facility, we will help everyone who contacts us find the appropriate place for them to heal.

  • National Footprint, Community Focus

    Our nationwide network of treatment centers and referral partners allows us to make an impact in multiple communities. We want every individual to thrive, and become a positive force in your community. We desire to help people and communities recover.

  • Facility and Treatment

    We are committed to providing the highest level of care, delivered in cutting-edge facilities designed to support your recovery. Every individual gets an individualized treatment plan, with the highest-level of care standards and quality.

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