Cocaine and crack are powerful central nervous system stimulants, which can either come in a powdered form (cocaine powder) or can be prepared to form rock crystals (crack cocaine).
Coke, snow, flake, and charlie (along with many others).
How cocaine/crack works
Cocaine and crack produce a feeling of intense confidence, wellbeing and both physical and mental nimbleness, which is at its peak for around 5-15 minutes after each use. Over time, taking the drug can lead to compulsive use or dependence.
After each hit, levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain are reduced and levels of adrenaline are increased. This is the main reason you can feel depressed, hopeless, irritable etc after a ‘session’.
It’s also why the ‘pleasure’ you get from crack or cocaine feels less with each hit. Too much adrenaline can lead you to feel restless, anxious and even paranoid.
Cocaine and the law
Possessing cocaine or crack is illegal and punishable by up to seven years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
Supplying crack cocaine, which includes giving some to a friend, is punishable by up to life imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
The harmful effects
Some of the health risks of using crack and cocaine include:
- heart problems (that can lead to heart disease, strokes and brain damage)
- weight loss and poor nutrition
- severe irritation and damage to the lungs, especially from smoking crack
- damage to the liver’s ability to detoxify, and risk of serious liver damage from hepatitis
- psychological and personality changes
Recovery services available
- Key working
- Structured group programmes
- Counselling and psychological support
- Complementary therapies
- Assessment for rehabilitation
- Referral to aftercare services
- Self-help groups