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The face of crack addiction: Who uses crack cocaine? (INFOGRAPHIC)

The U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health has found that about 8.6 million citizens aged 12+ have admitted to using crack. But, what does the typical person using crack cocaine look like? This infographic is based on trusted governmental statistics and can answer your questions. Check it out!

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Who uses crack in the U.S.?

The 2006 NSDUH (National Survey on Drug Use and Health) in the U.S. reported that 8.6 million citizens aged 12+ have admitted to using crack. About 1 million Americans (0.5%) say that they tried crack in the year previous to the survey, while “regular” crack users who report past month use represent 0.2% (406,000 people) of the total population.

A survey by Monitoring the Future showed that among high-school students, 3.2% of twelfth graders had used crack cocaine at some point in their lives.

Some of the most recent numbers regarding active cocaine addiction suggest that almost 1.4 million U.S. citizens meet the criteria to be classified as dependent on cocaine under definitions provided by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DMS-IV).

Q: But, is crack cocaine the same as powder cocaine?

A: Not really!

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In July 1986, in the midst of a surge of articles regarding the crack ‘epidemic’ both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives held hearings on the perceived crisis. At these hearings, it was asserted that crack:

  • was more addictive than powder cocaine
  • produced physiological effects that were different from and worse than those caused by powder cocaine
  • attracted users who could not afford powder cocaine, especially young people
  • led to more crime than powder cocaine did

What risks do crack users face?

1. ER visits: Problems with cocaine were responsible for almost a quarter of the 2 million ER visits that were due to drug abuse, while one of the greatest health risks continues to be overdosing on crack.

2. STDs: Crack cocaine smokers exhibit more high-risk sexual behaviors, including multiple sexual partners, sex without condoms or other barriers, and sexual activity during or following drug use. Although the practice of trading sex to support a drug habit is not unique to crack cocaine, between one-quarter and one-third of all drug users have traded sex either for drugs or for the money to buy drugs.

  • gonorrhea
  • herpes
  • syphilis
  • viral Hepatitis
  • bronchitis
  • chronic cough
  • black sputum

3. Impact on children of crack users: Infant and child exposure to crack cocaine use can be risky for child development. Some of the general concerns include:

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  • poor nutrition
  • other drug use
  • lack of prenatal and postnatal care
  • dysfunctional parenting

However, negative factors from crack cocaine use continue to other parts of users’ life and impact their own finances, criminal record, health status, relationships with family and friends, etc.

The face of crack addiction questions

If you have any questions? Maybe you’d like to learn about the ways you can quit crack safely? Feel free to post them in the comments section at the bottom of the page! We try to answer all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly, or we will refer you to professionals who can help.

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Reference Sources: SAMHSA: Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings
U.S. Sentencing Commission: 1995 Report to the Congress: Cocaine and Federal Sentencing Policy
NIDA: Cocaine
U.S. Department of Justice: Drugs and Crime Facts
Graham, Kyle, “Sorry seems to be the hardest word: The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Crack, and Methamphetamine “, University of Richmond Law Review (Richmond, VA: Richmond School of Law, March 2011) Vol. 45, Issue 3, pp. 771-773.
Kora DeBeck, Thomas Kerr, Kathy Li, Benedikt Fischer, Jane Buxton, Julio Montaner, and Evan Wood, “Smoking of crack cocaine as a risk factor for HIV infection among people who use injection drugs“, Canadian Medical Association Journal, (October 2009), 181(9), p. 588.
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.

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  1. I am what youd call a “recreational user” of crack cocaine, i smoke in a pipe. It all started with my diagnoses of moderate to severe Scoliosis. I am one of the lucky few who recieve pain medications and am 125% honest with my doctor with what i consume, when i smoke this well, lets call it garbage, because i dont advocate or reccomend its use one bit however, i have no need to take my pain medications.. which unfortunately with this opioid crisis leads me to regularly smoke it despite the health consequences, i do recieve multiple opioids however, i feel i function better on CC ( crack cocaine) perhaps im not at the delusional stage yet nor have i experienced the paranoia spoken about, but for safety reasons when im smoking it i make sure every door of the house is chain locked, i smoked heroin a few times, but either not correctly or it NEEDS to be injected i will not inject druga unleas administered by a doctor thus it was extremely ineffective compared to my pain medication, i make enough money to support my lets call it “addiction” however the health consequences are inevitable, i am 23 years old/ of age and i at times feel my heart constricting which is not great, but it allows me to do my daily routine, i wake up, take pain meds, around lunch i smoke a little, yes i get a nice buzz, from pain meds and crack but my saying goes ” whats a buzz compared to being able to live normally” this all came about from carrying my 130lb dog up 4 flights of stairs 3-5 times a day for 6 months during his old age i dont really know if im looking for an answer or looking to stop, because i am not, however opinions matter, how long can or will i be able to maintain a healthy life continuing doing this, p.s. i smoke between .5-1 gram a day which ive seen some smoke within an hour which is crazy to me, what does this blog have to say, i am also on many pain medications which ill be honest, i rather not wake up, sit to pee as i am a man ( haha) then run to my pain meds because i want to tear my head clean off, only once have i smoked as soon as i woke up and it was a rather odd time, i still feel like it was a dream, i ended up binging and being awake for approx 38 hours, i did eat plenty, steak, salad etc and made sure to take care of myself but i at times KNOW my blood pressure/ heart rate are too high to maintain and am not worried because when those situations happen amen, i am able to cut myself off, but on the odd time that happens i figure fuck it, smoke all i have left in one go, and imagine i am in heaven on earth for about 5-10min which is stupid yes but hey to each their own.. im looking to read what the blog has to say, because i use to escape very real and tormenting nightmarish back pain which without anything is impossible to even get out of bed, im not searching for a ‘ quit while youre ahead’ answer, my doc told me to be careful and to take care of myself however, hes retiring i believe next year so ill have no one to call if im feeling ill or somthing, thus what answers do you propose, yes this is an addiction site, no i am not looking to stop using substances especially opioids due to EXTREME withdrawal, both mental and physical, mental being the worst of the two, i attempted to detox on my own with only alcohol to support me, ans 2 liters of rum, goldschlagwr, jager etx barely helped so i know cold turkey with replacement substances is not an answer either, and i will not risk the operation which can leave me paralyzed for life if i can get by with my day to day routine doing dumb narcotics as you may call them, but if i were able to have a proper dose of opioids perhaps this substitute as ill call it would not be needed, but real pain patients like myself are suffering due to idiots selling their pills or idiots dying, and its too bad, im spoken to many close friends on the topic and no one reallly has an answer except “well nothing is good but do what ya gotta do” i am, but how long can a pretty healthy 23 year old continue to substitute his pain meds with CC ive had friends pass away as old as 55 while some early 20 so its hard to judge if im on the right path FOR MYSELF not others but me alone, is a .5.gram a day functional user going t o make it from 23…to persay 30-45 i domt do cc everyday, perhaps one week out of every month i use .5-1 smoked… my heart was tested about a year ago prior to starting smoking it up to that point i ever only recreationlly snorted a few lines per year but whats the answer, how long till i spiral into a black hole i cant climb out of, i have a relatively high IQ aswell, which i rather not lose to a stupid drug… let me know whatcha think hoping this is anonymous i am relatively high as i write this stupid ramble in search of a good answer to my pain issue, thanks for reading. P.s. i only use for 1/4 weeks permonth for safety reasons or atleast do my best to. i think fuck the opioid crisis, its sending pain patients as young as myself to worse things, from experience opioids can be used effectively if not abused or given to the wrong people perhaps write a blog and quote me but…. this is anonymous. Email me, thanks9

    1. Hi Richard. Crack in not the solution to your pain. I know withdrawals can be unpleasant, but their effects can be minimized in a medical setting and with a proper care. So, I suggest you seek a professional help. A good treatment center will address all your issues form physical to psychological. Call our number and let us help you.

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