Are you or someone you know and love dealing with an addiction to Crack Cocaine? Crack is an extremely powerful and addictive drug. It produces a short and very intense euphoric high and it is this effect that makes it so addictive.

You may have started off recreationally, perhaps initially obtaining a high from cocaine. Maybe reaching the stage where cocaine no longer produces the high you seek, progressing on to crack as it has a more intense and immediate effect. You could have just been offered it and tried it out of curiosity to find out how it feels.

Addiction takes numerous forms from excessive use to abuse, binging and constant top up. However, if addiction is affecting you or your loved one, it’s important to know that with the correct treatment, recovery is possible.

What Is Crack Cocaine?

A powerful stimulant and highly addictive drug usually smoked in a pipe. It is manufactured in homemade laboratories from cocaine and other ingredients. Derived from the leaves of the Coca plant it is cooked into rock form. The powder form of the drug is known as cocaine. Crack is stronger and more potent in the high it delivers and has other added ingredients.

A Crack Cocaine rock costs anything between £5 and £25. The intense high the drug produces, quickly wears off and the comedown effects are very unpleasant. This is what makes the drug so expensive and addictive, users will stay high for as long as they can afford. It is no exaggeration when you hear of Crack Cocaine addicts claiming they have lost everything of value, such as houses, cars, relationships, careers and thousands of pounds to the drug. Because of the very intense craving for more that it produces, users will rarely stop at smoking one rock and often end up binging for hours, days and sometimes even weeks.

Why Is Crack Cocaine so Addictive?

image explaining why why is crack so addictive

It is one of the most powerful illegal drugs when it comes to producing psychological dependence. It stimulates key pleasure centres within your brain and causes extremely heightened euphoria. Compulsive use can develop soon after you start using because the substance is smoked and enters the bloodstream rapidly. Tolerance develops quickly – failing to achieve the same high you did before from the same amount.

The intense high the drug produces quickly wears off and the comedown effects can be very unpleasant. This is what makes the drug so expensive and addictive if you or a loved one are using crack the aim will be to stay high for as long as possible. It is no exaggeration when you hear of addicts claiming they have lost everything of value, such as houses, cars, relationships, careers and thousands of pounds to the drug. Due to the very intense craving produced, using will rarely stop at smoking one rock and could often continue in binging for hours, days and sometimes even weeks.

Signs of Crack Cocaine Addiction:

an image showing crack pipe

Is someone I know addicted?

The following signs and symptoms will help you to decide if someone you know might be in trouble:

  • Do they disappear for long periods of time and come home looking worse for wear, agitated, anxious and exhausted?
  • Do they seem to be permanently run down and have scabs, spots and sores around their mouth?
  • Are their pupils dilated and do they seem overly excited or aggressive?
  • Are they restless and full of energy, unusually chatty and confident?
  • Have you found any paraphernalia? (see examples below)
  • Do they owe large sums of money and never seem to have money of their own?
  • Do they frequently disappear into the bathroom, bedroom or outside?
  • Have you spotted brown yellow residue on their fingers, teeth or on things they have touched?
  • Have they had an unexplained weight loss and a gaunt appearance?
  • Do they isolate in their room for long periods of time, lying awake at night and sleeping all day?
  • Do they regularly disappear overnight or during the day for long periods of time?
  • Have money or valuables gone missing?
  • Are they always trying to borrow money from you?
  • Do they seem anxious and paranoid?
  • Are they agitated and quick to anger?
  • Have they lost interest in relationships, friends, children and family?
  • Do you suspect they may be sleeping with multiple partners or using escort services?
  • Do you suspect they may be prostituting themselves or working as an escort?
  • Have they stopped doing the things they enjoy?
  • Do you recognise them from the person they used to be?
  • Are they depressed and unmotivated, only leaving the house to meet a dealer?
  • Are they defensive when challenged?
  • Do they seem to feel the whole world is against them and everything is someone else’s fault?

If you are worried that a friend or member of your family may be using crack there are various items of paraphernalia you may have found that could be an indication of use:

image with crack paraphernalia

Above is a typical shop bought Crack pipe and homemade smoking paraphernalia; the giveaway will be a brown-yellow residue, indicating frequent use.

Items to look out for are:

  • Light Bulbs: Crack is slowly heated to burn and give off a vapour which is then inhaled. A traditional glass pipe is often used but light bulbs are also popular. Users remove the bulb’s inner workings then place the rock inside it. If you find an empty bulb with scorch marks it could indicate use.

image showing a woman smoking crack

  • Tin Foil and Straws: used for what is referred to as freebasing, using tin foil and a straw (or a hollow pen) is probably the second-most common method for smoking Finding balled up pieces of tin foil or tin foil with yellowish-brown or black burn marks may indicate your loved one is using.

photo of a woman smoking crack

  • Aluminum Cans: A typical example of a homemade smoking device. An indentation is made on the side of the can. Within the indentation, they will make a series of pin-sized Crack has a subtle but distinctive smell likened to burning plastic or cat urine.image showing a self made crack pipe
  • Glass Pipes and Stems: “Stems” are often the preferred smoking device for many users. These are either straight, hollow glass tubes or glass tubes with a rounded bowl-like After some prolonged use, the stem will gather a brown smoke residue inside and black burn marks on the outside from lighting the device to heat the rocks.

new crack smoking

Finding any of these things should ring alarm bells. This paraphernalia can also be used to smoke heroin; either way, your loved one may have a problem that you do not want to ignore. The best course of action is to confront them kindly but firmly, encouraging them to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Am I Addicted?

Answer the following questions honestly about yourself, it may help you to identify if you have a problem that requires professional help and support:

  • Do you use so you can socialise, and feel unable to do so without it?
  • Have you had health warnings about your use but still continue to use?
  • Is it affecting your relationships, finances or work?
  • Has it stopped working for you and so you are resorting to mixing with other drugs to get high?
  • Have others expressed that they think you have a problem?
  • Do you continue to use despite it making you miserable and it taking over your life?
  • Has it affected your mental and emotional health?
  • Do you find yourself using larger amounts to gain the same effect?
  • Are you able to stop after just one or two rocks or do you end up on a binge, sometimes lasting for days at a time?
  • Are you hiding your use from others?
  • Is it causing you to feel anxious, paranoid, lethargic and run down?
  • Have you committed a crime whilst under the influence?
  • Have you done things you regret whilst high?
  • Do you place it above your family, children and responsibilities?
  • Do you feel out of control and unable to stop using?
  • Have you ever stolen, committed a crime, sold items or sold your body in order to fund it?
  • Are you unable to stop once you start and do you carry on until the money runs out?
  • Are you unable to stay away from crack, despite swearing off it time and time again?
  • Do you use on your own?
  • Do you need it to function?
  • Do you feel suicidal or like there is no hope or point, with or without it in your life?
  • Has it seriously altered your appearance and had devastating consequences for you and your family?

If you can honestly answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, then it is likely you have a problem – you may be suffering from addiction. You don’t have to waste another day stuck in the misery and pain of this destruction. Professional help is available for you.

What Should I Know about Crack Cocaine?


From the picture below you can see that this is a worldwide problem, with very high and alarming statistics. Cocaine is still more popular, this is because it tends to be used recreationally. Crack Cocaine is so addictive, that it is rarely used recreationally and is usually part of a full-blown addiction.

Image with the similarities between crack and cocaine

What Other Names Are There for Crack?

image with the street names of crack cocaine

What Is the UK Law on Crack Cocaine?

Cocaine, Freebase and Crack Cocaine are all classified by law as Class A drugs. This means it is illegal to possess, sell or give away the drug. Convictions for possession or intent to supply carry hefty prison sentences.

Driving whilst high or with the drug in your system can carry the same heavy penalties as drink driving. If you drug test positive, it is likely you will be charged with possession as well as driving under the influence

What Are the Effects of Crack on the Body and Brain?

The Body

Regular binging or addictive use can cause the body the following problems, some of which are irreversible. Sadly, heart attack from overdosing tends to be the main cause of death in users. Other life-threatening complications can arise from lung and respiratory illnesses also.

:image showing the phisiological effects of crack cocaine

The brain

Crack is extremely addictive due to its reaction in your brain when it works well, you may experience: Increased sex drive, extreme euphoria, alertness, heightened senses, sociability, feelings of powerfulness, confidence and vastly reduced inhibitions. It also produces an insatiable appetite for more, which could lead you to daily addictive use or binging for days at a time. The graphic below demonstrates exactly how powerfully damaging it is to the brain. It affects your brain in the same way cocaine does, but due to its increased potency, the damage can be accelerated even more.


Mixing Crack Cocaine with Alcohol or Other Drugs

This is commonplace as the come down can leave you in a heightened state of anxiousness, paranoia and overstimulation of the body and brain. Many heavy users also become addicted to Alcohol, Benzodiazepines and Heroin to bring them down and stop the withdrawals, especially after a binge. This becomes an additional addiction, but is quite commonplace amongst those addicted to crack.

Mixing depressants and stimulants, such as crack and heroin together can have unpredictable results due to the brain receiving contradictory messages. Also known as speedballing, this type of use can increase the chances of complications, overdosing and possibly death.

This potentially fatal mix of drugs increases the risk of side effects, such as panic attacks, hallucinations, paranoia, hostile behaviour, depression and sleep and appetite problems.

Is Crack Cocaine Safe to Use during Pregnancy?

Absolutely not; using cocaine in any form, whilst pregnant can lead to premature birth, and low birth weight, miscarriage and health problems. The more you use, the more damage caused to your unborn child.

It could lead to developmental problems both physically and mentally for the child, and a great deal of shame and regret for the mother. If you are in addiction and pregnant it is essential to seek professional help to do the best you can for both yourself and your baby.

What Are the Negative Effects of Crack Cocaine?

Everyone reacts differently, ingesting the drug can become your worst nightmare and that’s leaving aside the health risks. If you or a loved one have a bad experience the following symptoms may occur; the longer the use, the more prone to developing them.

  • Anxiety and Panic attacks
  • Unable to self-calm
  • Acting in an uninhibited/seedy or risk-taking way
  • Anger and agitation
  • Violent outbursts
  • Extreme Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Little or no appetite
  • Preoccupation with getting and using and going to dangerous extremes to do so
  • Paranoia (false beliefs that they are being watched or hunted)
  • Hallucinations (auditory and visual)
  • Intense cravings
  • Severe depression
  • Suicidal thoughts, actions and self-harm
  • Psychosis

Sadly, things may get worse; the longer you use, the more often you need it in order to gain the enjoyable effects. This is due to damage caused to your brain and a quick tolerance to the drug develops. When this happens, you or your loved one might resort to mixing crack with other drugs, this could increase your fatality risk.

In order to feel high again you or the person you are concerned about may have resorted to injecting to get a more intense high, or mixing prescription drugs and heroin. Over time becoming withdrawn, and incredibly isolated from family and friends; only associating with other addicts in order to get more drugs.

We understand that even though it is apparent to all that you are destroying your life – you might still be compelled to keep using; you are probably unable to stop yourself and may have lost all sense of reality and control. If you find yourself or a loved one at this stage, urgent intervention may be necessary to survive and overcome addiction.

Sharing paraphernalia with other users could put you at risk of transmitting or contracting a bloodborne virus such as Hepatitis infections and HIV.

What Does the Comedown from Crack Cocaine Feel Like?

Unfortunately, the comedown can last for days in some cases; whilst you are coming down you may have strong cravings for more of the drug and suffer flu-like symptoms, extreme anxiety and paranoia. The severity of the comedown can depend on how much you have been taking. If you have been up for days and nights, endlessly binging and not eating or hydrating properly the comedown is likely to be very unpleasant. You may feel extremely anxious, agitated and paranoid or be completely exhausted and just want to sleep for a long period of time.

If you have an addiction, the duration of withdrawal tends to cease after around four weeks. Of course, this can vary from person to person, but for an addict, understandably, it can feel like a lifetime before you start to feel better.


What Are The Dangers of Using Crack Cocaine?

Make no mistake, it is a very dangerous drug and carries many risks to your body and state of mind. Many have died from overdosing during a binge; it raises the body temperature, increases blood flow, speeds up the heart rate and can cause convulsions, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiac arrest. So there are definite risks of fatality, even if you are young, fit and healthy.

Is There Free Treatment for Crack Addiction?

Sadly there is little help available on the NHS. Free rehab, means applying through your local Drug and Alcohol Team (DAT) for funding from the government. Funding is scarce, takes a long time to secure and is only reserved for exceptional cases. The quickest way to access rehab is through private funding.

Your local DAT can provide groups and key worker one to one sessions. Many have also introduced SMART groups, which are aimed at abstinence and goal setting. Cocaine Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous also provide meetings and non-judgemental, compassionate support. They are a self-help organisation, so whilst not professionally run, 12 Step fellowships are proven to be hugely successful in the treatment of addiction.

Professional Treatment for Crack Addiction

The level of yours or your loved one’s addiction will indicate the type and intensity of treatment that may be needed to successfully establish recovery.

Addiction is an illness of the mind; a chronic relapsing brain disease. It will lead to having lost the power of choice, being at the mercy of warped thought patterns and overwhelming compulsions. There may be every good reason to stop, yet it just seems impossible. It’s heart-breaking for you and for your loved ones to watch. It is understandable and common for all concerned to feel helpless and hopeless. For these reasons it is important to unearth and address the underlying issues and maladaptive thinking and behaviours.

Addiction requires professional specialist treatment and rehab is definitely the best treatment option. However, if you have a lesser problem, some free community services may be enough to get you back on track.

Each area in the UK has a local DAT; you can self-refer into this service and engage with the treatment on offer. Therapeutic measures are the most successful method of overcoming addiction; this may include counselling and holistic therapies, it is not the drug that is the problem in addiction, but your mind continuing to drive you to use despite mounting consequences.

effects of crack cocaine

Rehab for Crack Cocaine Addiction

As the leading authority on rehabs in the UK and overseas, we can advise you of all the available options for access to recovery. We advise on both free and private services. Our addiction experts will carry out a complimentary assessment and help you choose the best course of action.

We work with many established and successful rehab clinics all over the country, as well as abroad. All the rehabs we work with are fully regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

An intensive therapeutic inpatient treatment programme may be beneficial. Tailored to your physical, mental, social, spiritual and emotional needs. Proven addiction treatments are:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
  • One To One Counselling and Trauma therapy
  • Process Therapy Groups
  • 12 Step Therapy
  • Educational Workshops and Relapse Prevention
  • Holistic Therapies; Mindfulness and Meditation, Music, Art, Equine, Acupuncture, Yoga, Tai Chi and fitness

Rehabs are a safe and caring place, with teams of experienced and qualified doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, addiction counsellors, holistic therapists and recovery support workers. All working together to provide you with a haven away from the madness of addiction.

We recommend a minimum of a 4-8 week inpatient programme for crack addiction. If you have a physical dependence on alcohol, heroin or prescription drugs we will arrange a suitable medical detox.

Once rehab has been completed, Addiction Helper will help to ensure a seamless transition back into everyday life. We offer free aftercare with the rehab and can arrange private one-to-one counselling sessions. We will do all we can to ensure you remain healthy and well on returning home. There is no quick fix to any type of addiction and no magic pill to take it away. In order for you or your loved one to recover, changes must be made and continued to maintain sobriety.

happy drug free family photo

Our telephone lines are open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. We are passionate about saving lives and helping addicts and their families break free from the misery, terror and pain of addiction.