Thursday, August 16, 2007

Crack: Brief History, Law

Crack comes as crystals that look like small rocks. Some of the "pieces" look like grains of sand, although normally they're as much as 2 cm across. They vary in colour from pale yellow or pink, to white. Freebase is a fine white powder that looks a bit like icing sugar.

Crack is generally smoked. According to users the intensity of the hit can't be exaggerated; it comes within seconds, but it's short lived. For a few minutes, 15 at the most, crack gives:

  • an intense euphoria and elation, and a great surge of energy
  • an incredible sense of well-being and power. Of all the drugs on the street, crack packs the biggest punch.

Crack may take you straight up but in as little as five minutes, and rarely more than 15, the rush starts to wear off. Within 20 minutes of a crack hit the comedown begins:

  • you've got the shakes and are twitching uncontrollably
  • you're shivering as if you were in a deep-freeze
  • you're weak and tired
  • you're paranoid and depressed
  • you feel alone and threatened by those around you
  • you're irritable and AGGRESSIVE. And this comedown can last for days.

How low can you go?
  • Crack users say you can't begin to describe how awful the low is. It's not so much like jumping off a cliff as tumbling down a slope covered in broken glass.
  • Regular users feel the need to keep taking larger and larger amounts of crack to get even near the original hit.

Crack is cocaine that has been processed ("washed up") and it can be 80-100 per cent pure cocaine - much higher and therefore more dangerous than the 30-60 per cent purity of street cocaine. Crack vaporizes more quickly and enters the body faster than cocaine. It affects the body in the same way as cocaine, but to a far greater extent. Freebase is another rarer form of processed cocaine.

Just don't inject. Injecting doesn't give a bigger hit, and there's a real danger of overdosing or becoming infected with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C from shared needles and any other equipment used (the works).

Crack bender

Users have been known to smoke large amounts of crack every day for several weeks. Taking so much crack always leads to indescribable withdrawal symptoms, a hellish comedown and a real risk of death.

Crack is addictive

Crack has been labeled the "one hit and you're hooked" drug. This isn't strictly true, but the nature of the drug is such that if you try it, your chances of becoming addicted are higher than with ANY other drug. Your physical addiction is very powerful because crack gives you an intense high followed almost immediately by a terrible low - your body's response is to crave more. You can also become psychologically dependent and feel you can't face the world without the drug. But what you don't realize is that it's the crack that's making your life so unbearable. If you have a problem with crack, you MUST get professional help.

"Before you know it, crack takes over your mind. You're obsessed by it. You'll do anything for it."

On the rocks - crack's other nasty surprises
Long-term crack use - and that means weeks not years - can lead to lots of other problems.

Psychological problems
You feel intense aggression, hatred and distrust of other people, even friends and family. You become psychotic, delusional and violent, lose all contact with reality and are unable to judge any situation properly.

Social problems
Many users sell everything they own to fund their habit. Crack is expensive - $200 a day is nothing out of the ordinary. When there's nothing left to sell, crime may be the only option and a prison sentence the most likely outcome.

Complete isolation
When you're coming down you won't want to be with anyone and they won't want you. The isolation gets worse; life isn't worth living.

The Law

Crack is a Class A drug. It's illegal to have, sell or give to your friends and carries the highest level of penalties.
  • The penalty for possessing crack for your own use is a long prison sentence and an unlimited fine.
  • Possession with intent to supply (and there's no minimum amount) can lead to life imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

Drug combinations
Crack is so powerful in its own right that using any drug alongside it is potentially lethal. Some users take heroin to ease the comedown. It's that bad.

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