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Crack Cocaine Addiction

Crack cocaine is an extremely powerful drug. Crack cocaine addiction is inevitable; once an individual has tried crack cocaine they may be unable to predict or control the extent to which they will continue to use. Crack cocaine is probably the most addictive substance yet devised. Crack cocaine users need more and more crack cocaine to attain the same high and avoid the intense "crash" or depression that follows their high. They become physically and psychologically dependent on crack cocaine, which often is a result of only a few doses taken within a few days. This dependence on crack leads to crack cocaine addiction. To balance off the intense lows, crack cocaine users often use other drugs, such as alcohol, hash or marijuana in addition to crack.

This all to often is the process of crack cocaine addiction: the soon to be crack addict takes his first hit of crack cocaine. Upon inhalation of this powerful drug the users body instantly begins the addiction process. The individual's mental and emotional being is soon to follow, but for now just their body suffers from the initials stages of crack cocaine addiction. After the first few times of crack cocaine use their mind slowly starts the crack cocaine addiction process. This grows stronger and stronger until the addict mentally believes that they cannot live without crack. They now are entangled in a full fledged crack cocaine addiction. Shortly after this occurs crack takes complete control over their emotions.

Once the individual's emotions have been over ridden by crack cocaine addiction they no longer feel normal without being intoxicated. When this occurs they feel the need to use more crack just to feel normal. In order to get high they have to take an immense amount of crack cocaine. Their crack cocaine addiction has infiltrated all areas of their life. They can no longer function physically, emotionally, or mentally without smoking crack. This cycle of crack cocaine addiction continues until the individual either quits using crack cocaine or dies.

The above process of crack addiction demonstrates the potential power of this insidious drug. Even though death lurks around the corner, individuals with an addiction to crack continue to uses with no regard for their life, or anyone elses.

Crack addiction is attributed in part to its short-lived high which causes the user to want another hit almost immediately. Smoking crack delivers large quantities of the drug to the lungs which goes directly to the brain in a concentrated form through the bloodstream, producing effects comparable to intravenous injection.

Addiction to crack has spread out from the cities and into residential communities nation wide. More than three-quarters (32 of 42) of law enforcement, and Pulse Check sources consider crack to be widely available in their communities. In most of these communities, crack continues to be locally processed and distributed. Settings for crack sales include cars, parties, schools, college campuses, raves, and shopping malls. Crack tends to be sold in 0.1 and 0.2 gram rocks which generally cost approximately $10 and $20.

Crack Cocaine Addiction and Crime Rates

Due to the nature of crack addiction, there is a strong link to crime as users seek to fund their habit. During FY 2000, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made 8,718 arrests involving powder cocaine and 6,734 arrests involving crack. More than 3,000 of those arrested by the DEA for crack related offenses were between the ages of 21 and 30. The DEA made 13,588 cocaine and crack cocaine related arrests during FY 2001, representing 38.8% of the total arrests made by the DEA during that year. Also, during FY 2001, 41.2% of the Federal defendants nationwide were charged with committing drug offenses. Crack was involved in 4,941 (20.4%) of the Federal drug cases.

  • Crack is the only drug for which the first offense of simple possession can trigger a federal mandatory minimum sentence. Possession of 5 grams of crack will trigger a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence. "Simple possession of any quantity of any other substance by a first-time offender-including powder cocaine-is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum of one year in prison." (21 U.S.C. 844.)
    Source: US Sentencing Commission, Special Report to Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy (Washington DC: US Sentencing Commission, February 1995), p. iii.
  • In federal court today, low-level crack dealers and first-time offenders sentenced for the trafficking of crack receive an average sentence of 10 years and six months. Source: US Sentencing Commission, Special Report to the Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy (Washington DC: US Sentencing Commission, February 1995), p. 150

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