Crack cocaine is a freebase form of cocaine (e.g., a form of cocaine that has been processed in order to be smoked), which is a stimulant drug. Crack cocaine is derived through a process that involves baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), water, and a spoon. When smoked, crack cocaine can leave the tongue numb where the smoke enters the mouth. Crack cocaine affects the brain chemistry of the individual who uses the drug. This can cause euphoria, supreme confidence, loss of appetite, alertness, and energy. The brain releases a large amount of dopamine, creating euphoria. The high usually lasts from 5-10 minutes, after which dopamine levels plummet leaving the user feeling low and depressed.
Physiological effects of the drug when smoked include increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Some users of crack cocaine have reported feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. Long-term use of the drug can lead to paranoia and hallucinations. Crack cocaine is thought to be the most addictive forms of cocaine, and possible one of the most addictive forms of any drug. There are many health issues associated with the use of crack cocaine. Because crack cocaine refers to a non-pure version of cocaine, the health issues also include risks beyond the use of cocaine itself. Treatment for addiction of cocaine typically is derived from behavioral intervention procedures. Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications for treating cocaine addiction or abuse. Treatment should be tailored to the individual and his or her needs in order to optimize prognosis. This often involves a variety of treatment, social support, and other services.