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Cocaine and crack are drug terms that may be used interchangeably, but there are many notable differences between the two substances. Now, let’s take a look at cocaine and crack, how each drug works, and how to treat both cocaine and crack addictions.
What Is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant that is classified as a Schedule II drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). It has a high potential for abuse. However, in rare instances, cocaine is used by doctors as a form of anesthesia during ear, eye, and throat surgeries.
Cocaine is sometimes referred to as coke, blow, powder, or snow. It may be used as a water-soluble hydrochloride salt or water-insoluble cocaine base.
As a hydrochloride salt, cocaine may be injected or snorted. Comparatively, as a base form of cocaine, the drug is heated and inhaled as smoke.
There are short- and long-term side effects of cocaine use. These include respiratory failure, stroke, or heart attack.
Additionally, children of cocaine-addicted mothers enter the world as addicts. Babies of cocaine-addicted mothers often suffer from birth defects and other health problems as well.
What Is Crack?
Crack refers to the crystallized form of cocaine, and the drug gets its name from the cracking or popping sound that comes from heating the substance. Crack crystals are developed from the powder form of cocaine, and they may range in size and color, too.
Crack is more potent than traditional cocaine. The Foundation for a Drug-Free World points out crack has a purity level that ranges from 75% to 100%. As such, crack tends to reach the brain much faster than cocaine. Crack’s effects on the brain are also much stronger than those associated with cocaine.
Smoking crack typically results in an immediate high that lasts about 15 minutes. This high is usually immediate and intense. Meanwhile, even one-time use of crack may lead to a long-lasting crack addiction.
Crack vs Cocaine: What’s the difference
There are many differences between cocaine and crack. To begin with, crack is made by dissolving powdered cocaine in water and then filtering it. After that, it is dried into a solid form. On the other hand, cocaine is made by mixing powdered coca leaves with sodium bicarbonate and water to create a paste-like substance. Once the mixture has solidified, the coca leaves are removed, and the resulting powder is dried into bricks of cocaine. The bricks are then broken down into smaller pieces, which produce a fine white powder that can be easily snorted. In other words, while crack is made by dissolving powdered cocaine in water and then filtering it, cocaine is made by mixing powdered coca leaves with sodium bicarbonate and water to create a paste-like substance that is later dried into a solid form. Additionally, while both drugs are most often smoked or snorted, they can also be ingested in other ways. Another difference between crack and cocaine is that while crack can be more addictive than regular cocaine due to its high purity, its effects are also more short-lived. Moreover, in addition to being smoked or snorted, both substances can be ingested orally or by injection. Finally, despite being cheaper than cocaine as well as being more potent and addictive, crack is less popular than its precursor drug
Is Cocaine and Crack Abuse Common?
Cocaine and crack abuse is most prevalent among teenagers and college and university students. Fortunately, recent research indicates cocaine and crack abuse is declining in the United States.
Verywell Mind reports a 2014 study showed nearly 913,000 Americans met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for cocaine and crack dependence or abuse. Conversely, an estimated 1.4 million cases of cocaine and crack dependence or abuse were reported in 2008.
Cocaine and Crack Addiction Treatment Research: Here’s What You Need to Know
The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes cocaine accounted for approximately 6% of all drug abuse treatment program admissions in 2013. Among these drug abuse treatment program admissions, 68% of patients smoked crack. These individuals were also likely to be using more than one illicit substance.
Today, there are no medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat a cocaine or crack addiction. Researchers continue to explore potential treatment options to help individuals alleviate cocaine or crack addiction symptoms.
Some researchers have studied dopamine as a potential cocaine or crack addiction treatment. Dopamine has been shown to induce changes in the brain related to serotonin, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters. But to date, researchers have yet to establish a firm link that indicates dopamine can effectively treat cocaine or crack addictions.
Controlled trials have been performed to explore the use of disulfiram to treat cocaine or crack addiction. Disulfiram has been shown to help treat chronic alcoholism.
Thus far, disulfiram has shown promise in helping cocaine addicts reduce their drug use, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports. Yet there is no guarantee disulfiram will work for all cocaine addicts, and additional research is needed to determine disulfiram’s viability as a long-term treatment for cocaine or crack addictions.
Researchers have been working on a cocaine vaccine as well. This vaccine is designed to reduce the risk of cocaine or crack addiction relapse. It creates cocaine-specific antibodies that bind to cocaine and by doing so, prevent cocaine from reaching the brain.
Studies have shown that the aforementioned cocaine vaccine may be a safe way to address cocaine or crack addiction. On the other hand, one clinical trial indicated that only 38% of patients who received the vaccine attained sufficient antibody levels for a duration of two months.
How to Address a Cocaine or Crack Addiction
Behavioral interventions are commonly used to help cocaine or crack addicts beat their addictions. These interventions enable addicts to work with doctors, family members, and friends to achieve optimal results.
Although behavioral interventions sometimes help cocaine or crack addicts achieve short-term addiction relief, relapse is still a problem for many addicts. Without the proper long-term treatment program in place, an addict risks a relapse that could have major ramifications on his or her health.
For those who are searching for a safe, effective cocaine or crack addiction treatment, ibogaine may be ideal. Ibogaine therapy programs have been shown to help cocaine or crack addicts address the obsessive cravings that come after a person stops their drug use. Plus, ibogaine treatments are backed by medical professionals who work with patients to help them address post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).
At Clear Sky Recovery, we provide ibogaine therapy for cocaine and crack addicts. Each ibogaine treatment program is customized to a patient. It is also designed to help an addict realign his or her neurochemistry. That way, a patient can replenish dopamine receptors in the brain that were previously destroyed due to cocaine or crack addiction.
If you or someone you know is dealing with a cocaine or crack addiction, our ibogaine therapy program may be helpful. To find out more about ibogaine therapy for cocaine or crack addiction, please contact us today.
Dr. Sola is one of the world’s leading experts in medically-based ibogaine treatment; he has more clinical experience with safe and effective ibogaine administration than any other M.D. in the world today.