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What are the Dangers of Smoking Crack

Crack is a slightly different form of cocaine that is mixed with another basic chemical such as ammonia or baking soda. When smoked, crack produces a very fast, very intense feeling of euphoria. Unfortunately, this feeling is extremely addictive. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, around 72 percent of cocaine related drug treatment admissions are due to crack cocaine. This is a startlingly high statistic considering the dangers of smoking crack. Users often underestimate the dangers of using crack cocaine.

Immediate side effects

Many of the immediate side effects of crack cocaine are extremely dangerous. As an intense stimulant, it increases certain functions within the body. When smoked, crack passes through the lungs, into the bloodstream and right to the brain. Many of these reactions lead to seizures, coma, and death. The dangerous immediate effects of smoking crack are:

  • increased heart rate possibly leading to cardiac arrest,
  • increased blood pressure possibly leading to stroke,
  • increased respiration and body temperature possibly leading to unconsciousness,
  • hallucinations possibly leading to a psychotic break, and
  • erratic and violent behavior possibly leading to risk taking.

As if these short term effects are not dangerous enough, many of these lead to long term problems.

Long term physical side effects

crack cocaine effects

Using crack cocaine can cause brain damage.

When people think of drug use they do not always consider the lasting damage that a drug like crack cocaine can do. Some of the long term effects of crack are:

  • brain damage – crack use floods the brain with dopamine. This chemical causes feelings of pleasure. Because of this flooding, the brain starts to shut down the receptors for dopamine. Once they are shut down, it makes it very difficult for the addict to feel pleasure without the drug.
  • neurological damage – because crack acts to excite the nervous system continuously, it can burn the system out. This causes memory loss, seizures, uncontrolled muscle movements, unregulated temperature, and fluctuating blood pressure. This damage is most often permanent.
  • circulatory system damage – continuous high blood pressure leads to heart attack, stroke, and other cardiac issues.
  • respiratory damage – just as smoking cigarettes damages the lungs, crack also damages these delicate tissues. Unlike cigarette smoking, the damage that crack does to the lung is not reversible.
  • severe depression – due to the dopamine flood crack causes, the lack of the drug causes the opposite reaction. Many addicts suffer from treatable but permanent states of depression and psychosis.
  • tooth decay – although tooth decay seems like a lesser problem, severe tooth decay causes blood infections which sometimes if untreated can kill.
  • reproductive system damage – continual crack cocaine use results in infertility, erectile dysfunction, and the inability to feel pleasure in both men and women.
  • Hepatitis C and HIV from sharing paraphernalia.

According to the US National Library of Medicine research into the long term effects of crack and cocaine is still ongoing. There is a lot that researchers still do not know about the long term consequences of this addiction.


Addiction to crack cocaine comes with its own dangers. Users describe their first experience with crack as the most profound euphoria that they have ever felt. Unfortunately, they spend the rest of their time chasing that euphoria. This is because crack starts doing damage the first time that it is used. This is partly the reason why it is so addictive. When they start chasing that high, they forget almost everything else. They become emaciated, their teeth rot, their physical appearance becomes sallow and pocked with sores, and they will do anything to get the drug.

The social effects of addiction are just as dangerous as the physical ones. Family and friends who do not use start to avoid the addict. While the addiction is controlling an individual, it is impossible to form lasting relationships or have meaningful encounters. Because crack addicts often steal and lie to get the money for the drug, friends soon find it impossible to trust them. The sense of betrayal that they feel may never go away.

Financial and legal dangers

When people are addicted to a drug, they often show up to work high or in withdrawal. They cannot perform their jobs while in this state. This leads to poor work performance. When the drug starts to take control of their lives, they may be late to work or not show up at all. Usually crack addicts become unemployed shortly after they start taking the drug. An employer will not tolerate a user for very long. The lack of employment leads to a lack of money and financial insecurity. An addict may use rent, food, or utility money for drugs. They become homeless and sometimes resort to criminal activity.

This criminal activity leads to another sort of danger. Prostitution, trafficking, possession, and theft all lead to arrest. When an addict is desperate, they might do any of these things to get the drug they need. Usually these activities lead to arrest and incarceration. Both of which are extremely expensive and dangerous.

Crack is dangerous

Crack cocaine is considered by many to be one of the most addictive and dangerous illicit drugs. It can ensnare the user after only one try. Smoking crack causes irreparable damage to most of the user’s internal organs. Not only can it kill on the first try it starts to consume a person almost immediately. Smoking crack can destroy a person’s life, health, and happiness in very little time.

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