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Cocaine Addiction Treatment Request

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Crack Effects

Smoking cocaine combines the efficiency of intravenous administration with the relative ease of intranasal (in the nose). Facilitated by the large surface area of the lungs' air sacs, cocaine administered by inhalation 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.

Crack smokers achieve maximum physiological effects approximately two minutes after inhalation. Maximum psychotropic effects are attained approximately one minute after inhalation. Similar to intravenous administration, the physiological and psychotropic effects of inhaled cocaine are sustained for approximately 30 minutes after peak effects are attained.

Almost a quarter (22%) of the cocaine emergency department mentions in 2000 are attributed to crack cocaine. During this year, there were 39,266 crack mentions in hospital emergency departments around the U.S.

Early Use

  • Magnification of pleasure, euphoria
  • Alertness and in some cases - hyper-alertness
  • Increased and sometimes a (grandiose) sense of well being
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Lower social inhibitions: more sociable and talkative
  • Heightened energy, self-esteem, sexuality and emotions aroused by interpersonal experiences
  • Appetite loss; weight loss

Compulsive Use

  • Extreme euphoria - "mental orgasm"
  • Uninhibited
  • Impaired judgment
  • Grandiosity
  • Impulsivity
  • Hyper sexuality
  • Hyper vigilance
  • Compulsivity
  • Extreme psychomotor activation/agitation
  • Anxiety; irritability; argumentative
  • Transient panic
  • Paranoia
  • Terror of impending death
  • Poor reality testing; delusions
  • Extreme weight loss

Physical Effects

  • chronic sore throat
  • hoarseness
  • shortness of breath
  • bronchitis
  • lung cancer
  • emphysema and other lung damage
  • respiratory problems such as congestion of the lungs, wheezing, and spitting up black phlegm
  • burning of the lips, tongue, and throat
  • slowed digestion
  • weight loss
  • high incidence of dependence
  • blood vessel constriction
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • brain seizures that can result in suffocation
  • dilated pupils
  • sweating
  • rise in blood sugar levels and body temperature
  • disability from drug-induced health problems
  • suppressed desire for food, sex, friends, family, and social contacts
  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • death

Emotional/Psychological Effects

  • sadness and depression
  • loss of interest in appearance
  • loss of household valuables or unexplained vanishing cash due to the expense of the drug
  • sleeplessness
  • extreme paranoia
  • intense craving of the drug
  • schizophrenic-like psychosis with delusions and hallucinations

Crack and Pregnancy

  • increased incidence of still births
  • increased incidence of miscarriages
  • premature (often fatal) labor and delivery
  • in males, the cocaine in crack may attach to the sperm causing damage to the cells of the fetus.
  • babies exposed to cocaine experience painful and life threatening withdrawal, are irritable, have poor ability to regulate their own body temperature and blood sugar and are at increased risk of having seizures.

Effects of Crack on the Fetus

  • seizures or strokes
  • cerebral palsy
  • mental retardation
  • vision and hearing impairments
  • urinary tract abnormalities
  • autism and learning disabilities