Pure cocaine was first used in the 1880s as a local anesthetic in eye, nose, and throat surgeries because of its ability to provide anesthesia as well as to constrict blood vessels and limit bleeding. Many of its therapeutic applications are now obsolete due to the development of safer drugs.
Approximately 100 years after cocaine entered into use, a new variation of the substance emerged. This substance, crack, became enormously popular in the mid-1980s due in part to its almost immediate high and the fact that it is inexpensive to produce and buy.
Crack is a highly addictive form of cocaine that is typically smoked. The term "crack" refers to the crackling sound heard when the substance is heated, presumably from the sodium bicarbonate that is used in the production of crack.
Extent of Use
According to the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 7.8 million Americans ages 12 and older reported trying crack at least once during their lifetimes, representing 3.3% of the population ages 12 and older. Approximately 1.3 million (0.5%) reported past year crack cocaine use and 467,000 (0.2%) reported past month crack use.
Among students surveyed as part of the 2005 Monitoring the Future study, 2.4% of eighth graders, 2.5% of tenth graders, and 3.5% of twelfth graders reported lifetime use of crack cocaine. In 2004, these percentages were 2.4%, 2.6%, and 3.9%, respectively.
|8th Grade||10th Grade||12th Grade|
Approximately 69% of eighth graders, 76.9% of tenth graders, and 63.8% of twelfth graders surveyed in 2005 reported that taking crack cocaine occasionally was a "great risk."
|Say "great risk" to:||8th Grade||10th Grade||12th Grade|
|Try crack once/twice||49.6%||57.0%||48.4%|
|Take crack occasionally||69.4||76.9||63.8|
According to data from the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program, a median of 30.1% of adult male arrestees and 35.3% of adult female arrestees tested positive for cocaine (all varieties) at arrest in 2003. The adult male samples were compiled from 39 U.S. sites and the adult female samples were compiled from 25 sites. A median of 17.2% of adult male arrestees and 24.5% of adult female arrestees reported using crack cocaine at least once in the year before being arrested.
|Past Crack Cocaine Use by Arrestees||Male||Female|
|Used in past 7 days||12.9%||20.0%|
|Used in past 30 days||13.8||20.5|
|Used in past year||17.2||24.5|
|Avg. # of days used in past 30 days||8.1 days||10.1 days|
Cocaine is a strong central nervous system stimulant. Physical effects of cocaine use, including crack, include constricted blood vessels and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Users may also experience feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety.
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, are very intense, but do not last long.For example, the high from smoking cocaine may last from 5 to 10 minutes, while the high from snorting the drug can last for 15 to 20 minutes.
Evidence suggests that users who smoke or inject cocaine may be at even greater risk of causing harm to themselves than those who snort the substance. Cocaine smokers may suffer from acute respiratory problems including coughing, shortness of breath, and severe chest pains with lung trauma and bleeding.Smoking crack cocaine can also cause particularly aggressive paranoid behavior in users.
An added danger of cocaine use is when cocaine and alcohol are consumed at the same time. When these substances are mixed, the human liver combines cocaine and alcohol and manufactures a third substance, cocaethylene. This intensifies cocaine's euphoric effects, while also possibly increasing the risk of sudden death.Most cocaine-related deaths are a result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest.
Cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug. Compulsive cocaine use seems to develop more rapidly when the substance is smoked rather than snorted. A tolerance to the cocaine high may be developed and many addicts report that they fail to achieve as much pleasure as they did from their first cocaine exposure.
During 2002, emergency departments (ED) nationwide reported 42,146 crack mentions to the Drug Abuse Warning Network. Crack accounted for 21% of the total cocaine mentions during the year. The number of crack ED mentions has increased from 33,789 in 1995, but has decreased from 46,964 in 2001.
Crack cocaine represented 72% of all primary cocaine admissions to treatment in 2004. From 1994 to 2004, the number of admissions to treatment in which crack was the primary drug of abuse decreased from 220,614 in 1994 to 184,949 in 2004. The crack admissions represented 13.2% of the total drug/alcohol admissions to treatment during 1994 and 9.9% of the treatment admissions in 2004. The average age of those admitted to treatment for crack cocaine during 2004 was 38 years.
Arrests & Sentencing
During FY 2003, cocaine was the primary drug involved in Federal arrests. There were 11,794 Federal drug arrests for cocaine in FY 2003. The DEA made 6,522 arrests for powder cocaine and 3,842 arrests for crack cocaine during FY 2003.
Between October 1, 2004 and January 11, 2005, there were 1,205 Federal offenders sentenced for crack cocaine-related charges in U.S. Courts. Approximately 95.2% of the cases involved crack cocaine trafficking. Between January 12, 2005 and September 30, 2005, there were 4,077 Federal offenders sentenced for crack cocaine-related charges in U.S. Courts. Approximately 95.3% of the cases involved trafficking.
Production & Trafficking
rack is cocaine that has been processed from cocaine hydrochloride to a free base for smoking. Crack cocaine is processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water. It is then heated to remove the hydrochloride producing a form of cocaine that can be smoked.
Cocaine (all forms) was first Federally-regulated in December 1914 with the passage of the Harrison Act. This Act banned the non-medical use of cocaine; prohibited its importation; imposed the same criminal penalties for cocaine users as for opium, morphine, and heroin users; and required a strict accounting of medical prescriptions for cocaine. As a result of the Harrison Act and the emergence of cheaper, legal substances such as amphetamines, cocaine became scarce in the U.S. However, use began to rise again in the 1960s, prompting Congress to classify it as a Schedule II substance in 1970.
Schedule II substances have a high potential for abuse, a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States with severe restrictions, and may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. While cocaine can currently be administered by a doctor for legitimate medical uses, such as a local anesthetic for some eye, ear, and throat surgeries, there are currently no medical uses for crack cocaine.
|Moonrock||Crack mixed with heroin|
|Oolies||Marijuana laced with crack|
|Wicky stick||PCP, marijuana, and crack|