]Cocaine is a bitter-tasting white powder. It is a powerful stimulant that acts on the pleasure centres of the brain. The powder in its original form is mixed with talcum powder or teething powder to increase the quantity for the user. The end product is about 20% pure.

Crack is the crystallized form of cocaine forming a rock-shape. The cocaine powder is cooked and mixed with a binding agent such as bicarb to form the rock. This method is known as freebasing and the end product is about 90% pure.

Also known as coke (cocaine) and rocks (crack)

How is it used?

Cocaine powder is divided (cut) into lines and snorted through a rolled-up banknote or straw. Crack is smoked through a glass or metal pipe. The rock is melted on copper gauze and inhaled.

When smoking ‘crack’, the ‘high’ is more intense and immediate compared to the method of snorting.

The HIT. When the user smokes, they will experience

  • Heart rate and blood pressure increases
  • Cold sweats 
  • Ringing ears
  • Shaking 
  • Increased energy
  • Insomnia – problems sleeping 
  • Grandiosity (over-confidence)
  • Super-sensitive hearing 
  • More talkative or withdrawn

Symptoms of Cocaine/Crack use:

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Runny nose
  • Anxiety 
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent sniffing 
  • Nose bleeds (if snorted)
  • Insomnia – problems sleeping 
  • Loss of concentration

What are the effects of Cocaine/Crack?

  • Increased confidence 
  • Feeling powerful
  • Increased energy 
  • Paranoia 
  • Increase or decrease in sex drive 
  • Dehydration

What are the long-term effects?

  • Risk of addiction and psychological dependence
  • Heart and respiratory failure 
  • Damage to nasal passage
  • Convulsions and Coma 
  • High risk sexual behaviour
  • Chronic use results in psychosis, violence, confusion and risk of suicide

How addictive is cocaine/crack?

Addiction to cocaine is primarily psychological. The high is so pleasurable that some users describe becoming addicted after their first ‘hit’. Addicts have described falling in love with the drug. An irresistible compulsion to repeat the sensation is created and the user starts craving more and more. The chronic user will do anything to obtain that high. They will sell everything they have, lie to and manipulate loved ones, even turn to criminal behaviour and drug dealing to finance their expensive habit. Nothing else matters – cocaine rules their lives.

What happens when you STOP using?

  • Increased cravings 
  • Depression 
  • Aggression 
  • Fatigue 
  • Anxiety 
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

The initial withdrawal phase during which symptoms are experienced lasts about 4 days, usually followed by 2 less intense phases lasting between 4 and 10 days. The initial phase is characterised by the symptoms listed above.