Smoking crack provides the user with a rapid and intense high that is followed by severe depression, feelings of worthlessness, and a craving for more of the drug. Smoking crack delivers large quantities of the drug to the lungs, producing effects comparable to intravenous injection. These effects are felt almost immediately after smoking crack. The effects are very intense but do not last long. For example, the high from smoking crack may last from 5 to 10 minutes, while the high from snorting the drug can last for 15 to 20 minutes.
Crack is the street name for crystallized freebase cocaine. This drug is created by processing the powdered cocaine hydrochloride in to a form that can be smoked. Crack is a powerful central nervous system stimulant, sold in ready to smoke chunks or "rocks". Crack looks like small lumps or shavings of soap, but has the texture of porcelain. Because of the way it looks, crack is often referred to as "rock" or "ready-rock". The rocks are nicknamed "Crack" because of the crackling sound they make when the user is smoking crack. This drug is generally more pure than the powdered cocaine from which it is made, but it can still contain impurities. Crack is five to six times stronger than the cocaine normally purchased on the street.
In a brief period of time, the drug begins to control the user. This is the pattern of behavior that leads to addiction and dependence. Smoking crack often causes the drug addict to "binge" on the drug. During a binge, the addict is smoking crack continuously until money and/or drug supplies are gone, or the user experiences physical collapse. Once someone is addicted to this drug, smoking crack supersedes every other need, leading to crime and violence to acquire it.
Because of the large doses of the drug that are taken into the bloodstream and the brain, smoking crack increases the chance of cocaine overdose or cocaine poisoning. Symptoms of both include nausea, vomiting and irregular breathing; convulsions, coma, and death are possible. Smoking crack in combination with other drugs, such as alcohol or opiates (speedball), can also cause severe and potentially fatal reactions. After long periods of smoking crack, users may develop cocaine psychoses, a condition which is characterized by paranoia, and visual, auditory, and other sensory hallucinations.