(rocks, stones, freebase cocaine)
Crack is made from cocaine, baking soda and water.
Usually smoked through a water pipe (sometimes in cigarettes or joints), it produces a rapid, ultra-intense high which lasts for about 2 minutes, followed by a pleasurable buzz which usually lasts around 20 minutes before a long low or crash. Because the hit is so strong, some people get hooked on the sensation and end up blowing all their cash trying to repeat the high, or overdosing.
Crack has increased in popularity hugely in recent years, with both clubbers and professionals regularly taking the drug (figures from the Home Office's British Crime Survey reveal that one in 30 British men aged between 19 and 24 has used crack - twice as many as in 1996 and four times as many as in 1993).
Despite media claims to the contrary, addiction is very rarely instant. Street prices vary wildly, but a rock of smokable cocaine can cost £10 - £20, with smaller 'clubbing rocks' - usually half the price and half the size of normal - sold for around £10 each.
Side effects: Because of the addictive nature of crack, there is a strong link to crime as users seek to fund their habit. Some people can get very aggressive on crack or lose control and put themselves at risk.
The huge mood swings created by the drug can bring about paranoia and depression. High doses can result in psychosis, confusion, irritability, fear, paranoia, hallucinations and aggressive anti social behaviour. Not a drug if you're trying to impress a new date, then.
Health risks: If you can, avoid taking with other stimulants or with alcohol. Smoking crack can cause chest pain, lung damage and bronchitis. Crack inceases heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature and can lead to decreased sleep and appetite, seizures, strokes, heart attacks and, in some cases, death.
Because it's an appetite suppressant, crack can also make users vulnerable to malnutrition.
Detection periods: Cocaine can be detected in the urine up to 12 hours to 3 days after use at common levels.
The Law: Crack is categorised as Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
(See also Crystal Meth)
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