Street terms: Big C, Blow, Coke, Flake, Freebase, Lady, Nose Candy, Rock, Snow, Snowbirds, White Crack.
Crack or crack cocaine is a form of cocaine. It has not been neutralized by an acid to make cocaine hydrochloride, the purist form of the chemical. Crack comes in a rock crystal form that can be heated and inhaled or smoked. It is called ‘crack’ in reference to the cracking sound it makes when it is heated. Crack cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant.
Crack cocaine is almost always smoked or freebased. Freebasing involves heating the crack until it liquefies and inhaling the vapors through a pipe. The vapors are absorbed by the lungs, producing an immediate euphoric high.
Crack is highly addictive, possibly even more than other forms of cocaine. Crack users are at risk for the usual effects of cocaine (dangerously elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature, risk of seizure and cardiac arrest) as well as respiratory disorders, such as coughing, bleeding, shortness of breath, and lung trauma. Crack use can cause paranoia and aggressiveness.
Cocaine use and abuse has a variety of negative effects on the body. For example, cocaine constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, and increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Cocaine use also decreases appetite, chronic users can become malnourished as well.
Regular intranasal use (snorting) of cocaine can lead to loss of the sense of smell; nosebleeds; problems with swallowing; hoarseness; and a chronically runny nose. Ingesting cocaine can cause severe bowel gangrene as a result of reduced blood flow. Injecting cocaine can bring about severe allergic reactions and increased risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne diseases. Binge-patterned cocaine use may lead to irritability, restlessness, and anxiety. Cocaine abusers can also experience severe paranoia or a full-blown paranoid psychosis in which they lose touch with reality and experience auditory hallucinations.