What are the Health Consequences of Smoking Crack?

Crack is a freebase form of cocaine that provides a brief but intense high when smoked. Smoking crack allows the drug to reach the brain very quickly and create a strong surge in dopamine, leading to short-term feelings of euphoria. Crack is less expensive that cocaine, leading to it being used more often in impoverished areas and by younger drug users who can afford it. Smoking the drug is a particularly dangerous route of administration that can lead to major health complications in both the short and long-term.
According to a 2013 CBC News article entitled Crack Cocaine: 9 Things You Need to Know, “Cocaine is well-known for creating feelings of euphoria, alertness or extra energy. It also, according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, boosts the same brain chemicals that make people feel good when they drink, eat or have sex. The list of potential effects cocaine and crack cocaine can have on a person is long, and can vary depending on the amount taken, how often it is smoked and any medical or psychological conditions a person may have. According to CAMH, people may use cocaine occasionally without harming themselves, but the drug can be ‘very dangerous, whether it’s used once or often.’”
Cocaine is known for its stimulating and euphoric properties. Zawn Villines, in a 2015 Mental Health article entitled Effects and Side Effects of Crack Abuse, explains, “It is a central nervous system stimulant, which means that it speeds up activity in your brain. Of course, this doesn’t mean crack makes you smarter; instead, it just makes you feel smarter, and this false sense of confidence can lead to a host of problematic and dangerous choices.” Health problems and symptoms of crack include but are not limited to: insomnia; anxiety and panic attacks; constricted blood vessels; increased blood pressure; heart attack and heart failure; seizures; stroke; and respiratory failure. There is also a danger of pulmonary problems as a result of smoking the drug, commonly referred to as “crack lung”, with symptoms including breathing problems, fever, and severe chest pains.

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