Tag Archives: cocaine

Cocaine and Crack: What’s The Difference?

Crack cocaine received lots of media attention as it became more common in the 1980s. Politicians spoke about crack being the most dangerous drug in America, tearing apart communities, and causing violent crimes. Cocaine, although still considered a harmful drug, didn’t receive as much attention. What’s the real difference between crack and cocaine?

Crack and powder cocaine are both cocaine, but they’re different forms of the drug. Powder cocaine is made from HCL, or hydrochloride, a type of salt. Crack, which is usually in rock form, has been processed to remove the HCL, which makes it more rapidly absorbed into your system.

Cocaine is typically more expensive than crack, which explains why most people associate crack with lower-income communities. Crack also carries harsher prison sentences. There’s a minimum of five years in prison for possessing 28 grams of crack, while the minimum sentence for 500 grams of cocaine is also five years. The average prison term for crack possession is much longer than cocaine possession.

Crack and Cocaine Addiction

The effects of cocaine hit within five minutes, peak in 30 minutes, and usually last for an hour or two. However, the effects of crack hit in less than one minute, peak in five minutes, and last less than an hour. This is mostly due to a difference in administration, not a difference in how the drugs are created or processed. Powder cocaine is usually snorted, while crack is usually inhaled by smoking. Crack is also sometimes injected, which also brings about immediate and powerful effects. If powder cocaine is injected, it hits you as quickly as crack does.

Both drugs have similar short-term effects, but crack is typically more powerful because your body absorbs it so quickly. They also have similar long-term effects, including:

  • Cardiovascular damage
  • Respiratory problems
  • Seizures
  • Hyperpyrexia (high fever)

There is some debate on whether crack is more addictive than cocaine. Crack may be more psychologically addictive because of the immediate and powerful effects and because of the need to use it repeatedly to maintain the effects. However, both have very similar physiological effects on the body. Overall, there is no difference in physical addiction or dependence between crack and cocaine.

Although there are some differences between crack and cocaine, both are very harmful and addictive drugs. Addiction to either requires professional treatment for a successful recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, call us at 800-737-0933 for help.

Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol Increases Risk of Suicide Attempt

crisisjournalcoverCocaine is the type of drug that is often used in conjunction with other drugs. Simultaneous cocaine and alcohol consumption is a common mixture among users. In addition to the usual warnings against cocaine and alcohol abuse, researchers from Brown University have released a study that shows that people who abuse the two drugs together are more likely to attempt suicide.

The research team was led by Sarah Arias, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior in the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and investigated 874 suicidal patients from several hospital emergency rooms around the country between 2010 and 2012. All of them were screened for several issues, including substance abuse. After pouring over the information, the researchers noted that of all the patients, 298 had abused alcohol before being admitted into the emergency room, 72 were abusing cocaine, and 41 people were using both cocaine and alcohol.

Researchers then tracked the group again and found that 195 of the total had another attempt within the next year. Through this follow-up information they found that people who were abusing both alcohol and cocaine were 2.4 times more likely to have another suicide attempt. The results of the study appear in the journal Crisis.

Preventing suicide is a major factor when it comes to future treatment and prevention planning. The effects of cocaine paired with the effects of alcohol can increase feelings of depression, anxiety and hopelessness. These are the exact feelings that can fuel a suicide attempt, and another reminder of how successful drug treatment programs can help save lives.

New Research into Cocaine and Liver Disease

cocaine userResearchers and scientists have made huge advances in the treatment of HIV. At one point, patients who were diagnosed with the virus were almost guaranteed a painful, imminent death. However, the medication and knowledge available to health care providers allows for most HIV patients to live a relatively normal life. Although, this is not the case for HIV patients who also have a history of drug abuse or continue to use drugs. A new study is being conducted in South Florida to examine the relationship between cocaine use and liver disease among HIV patients.

Drug use and Hepatitis C are often linked because one of the most likely ways to contract the disease is by using needles. HIV users who abuse drugs like cocaine and also use needles and develop Hepatitis C need more specialized care, as their ability to fight off any other disease or illness is diminished.

“Liver disease is known to shorten the lives of people with HIV. With 35 million people around the world with HIV – and a large number of them regular drug users – this research is focused on determining how to help them more effectively,” explained Marianna K. Baum, the researcher that is heading the study. She stressed that it is difficult to treat HIV patients that have an addiction to cocaine because it makes them more resistant to medication and they are less likely to follow a medication and therapy regimen.

The idea to look into more effective treatments for these patients came after Baum realized that some of her patients had slower disease progression when they took over the counter vitamins. She decided that this link may provide better solutions for those who are struggling with the virus and liver disease.

The research is being conducted at the Florida International University Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work. Researchers will use data from the Miami Adult Studies on HIV. The team will focus on populations that are often left out of HIV studies to help get more inclusive results.