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
- 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.