Crack cocaine is a volatile, highly addictive drug. It is usually smoked through a glass or metal pipe and can have a person
hooked after just one use.
Crack is a varied form of powdered cocaine. In the 60's, 70's and early 80's, addicts found that smoking cocaine in a base form
or "free-basing" was a more intense, satisfying high than snorting. Free-base cocaine is a far more pure form of cocaine than average powdered cocaine. It is processed with water and ether to remove all impurities which yields a more powerful product.
It is then smoked through a glass pipe. It is a dangerous process and sometimes causes the cocaine or the ether container to catch fire and explode.
The comedian, Richard Pryor, was on a free-basing binge in the early 80's when he was hospitalized for burns after an ether explosion. The fire completely covered him in flames and the doctors gave him a one to three chance of surviving. He did survive
and his mishap is probably the most famous example of free-basing accidents. Throughout the years, many people have died processing free-base cocaine.
As the early1980's rolled in, on its heels came a new drug called crack. Crack is more crude form of free-base cocaine.
Leaving the impurities in, crack is a culmination of most everything that free-base cocaine isn't. It is "safer" to produce and
smoke. But this doesn't make it any less lethal.
Crack addiction is similar to free-base addiction, the user will try to get the drug by any means possible and continue to
smoke it until close to death. It is an all encompassing addiction that holds no regard for its user or those affiliated with them.
One "hit" off a glass pipe filled with crack can get anyone addicted. There is no such thing as a "casual crack smoker" and
no one is immune from its addictive grips.
Crack is usually smoked through a glass pipe or metal tubing. Car and radio antennas are used frequently. In many conve-
nience stores, little flowers in glass tubes are sold. You may have seen them. These are made specifically for smoking crack. Pieces of metal wool like brillo-pad or chore-boy pads are stuffed in one end of the pipe. The metal wool serves as a filter and collector, holding the crack rock in place while catching any residual. This way, every bit of the crack rock is smoked. When
a pipe is "pushed", the metal wool is pushed from one end of the pipe to the other, catching any remaining crack residue
inside the pipe.
A crack pipe may be burnt from both sides and is sometimes cracked or broken. A crack user may have burnt fingertips or lips
from smoking a hot pipe.
Crack is absolutely lethal, causing horrible damage to the body and mind. The intensity of the addiction is well known. If you
know someone who is smoking crack, try to get them help as soon as possible. A crack addict may die before they are ready
to give up the drug. They will use any means possible to continue their addiction. Unlike other drugs, a crack user's "rock
bottom" is usually far lower than other drug users. But crack addicts can and do recover. It happens all the time so there is
hope for you or the addict close to you. But waste no time in getting help. There may not be another chance.
Author. Patrick McLemore. He has been a recovering alcoholic and drug addict since June 6, 2005. Patrick widely known as
an expert in the field of addictions, he has not only studied the topic extensively, but has lived it. Patrick has worked with the
Manor House Recovery Center for over two years. During that time he has been instrumental in the recovery and continued
sobriety of numerous recovering alcoholic and drug addicts.