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The Physical and Mental Differences between Crack and Cocaine Addiction

Drug overdose deaths in the US have risen steadily over the last decade. If you are struggling with substance abuse or drug addiction, getting the help you need can do more than put you back in control of your life. It can save your life.

When we think of drug overdoses in the US, we often think of Schedule 1 drugs like heroin or prescription opioids like Vicodin or Oxycontin. We may fail to see the potential danger of crack and cocaine, though both can lead to overdose and death.

What is the difference between crack and cocaine? Do these differences lead to notably different physical and mental side effects? Read on to find out.

The Primary Difference Between Crack and Cocaine

Crack and cocaine come from the same plant (coca) and, in many ways, are more similar than most people realize. In fact, we tend to think of these two drugs as unrelated due to social stigma.

Cocaine is a high-cost street drug that we tend to associate with wealthy or infrequent users, while crack is perceived as a low-cost street drug that has a higher rate of addiction.

Cocaine is sold in a powder form that users typically ingest via snorting, though they may also combine it with a liquid to inject.

Crack undergoes a different process that makes it denser and more rock-like so that it can be smoked. This process also makes crack more concentrated than cocaine, so it may produce stronger effects and slightly increase the chance of becoming addicted. 

Physical and Mental Effects of Cocaine vs Crack

Because they have an almost identical physical makeup, cocaine and crack both produce effects such as euphoria, increased energy, and acute focus. Smoking crack or injecting cocaine tends to produce a shorter onset of effects and a shorter overall duration compared to snorting cocaine. 

They can also produce similar side effects, including:

  • Paranoia
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Reduced appetite
  • Headaches
  • Mood disorders
  • High blood pressure

Snorting cocaine can cause damage to the nasal passages and reduce the sense of smell. Injecting cocaine can increase the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS due to needle sharing. Smoking crack, on the other hand, can cause lung damage and disorders such as asthma.

Because the effects of crack and cocaine are short-lived, withdrawal can set in within an hour of your last usage. Medical supervision can make extreme withdrawal safer and more tolerable. When it comes to drug testing, you may have crack and cocaine in your system for a few hours (blood tests) to several months (hair tests).

Drug Addiction Intervention Saves Lives

When you’re dealing with drug addiction, the difference between crack and cocaine becomes negligible. At the end of the day, both can cause overdoses and death. Support groups, hotlines, and rehab centers can support your road to recovery and lead to better long-term health.

When it comes to your health, knowledge is power. If you’re looking for more information on medical care, wellness, and fitness, you’re in the right place. Take a look around to learn something new.

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