Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant which grows indigenously in South America. It is classified as a drug and consequently a banned substance in many countries. Possession of the drug attracts very heavy prison sentences. Cocaine is found either in solid form, known as Crack, or in powder from. There is not too much difference between the two chemically speaking. However,for many years in the United States, there was a very huge sentencing disparity for possession of crack and powder coke. The sentence ratio was 100:1which meant that being found in possession of 1 gram of crack cocaine attracted the same jail term as possession of 100g of powder cocaine. Since crack is mainly used by African-American men, most of them were arrested and jailed for very long periods. It wasn’t until 2010 that President Obama signed into law The Fair Sentencing Act which set to reduce the sentencing disparity from 100:1 to 18:10. This move was received with jubilation across the country, especially by the black minority who were in danger of serving long jail time. This brings us to the question, how different is crack cocain from powder cocaine?
Well, there are some differences in the cost, preparation, effects and the method through which they are administered into the body. Crack is produced by heating a mixture of baking soda(sodium bicarbonate), powder cocaine and water in a spoon. Due to the fact that it is easy to make, crack is usually cheap and readily available. It is thus most popular among teenagers and the lower middle class people, usually African-Americans. Powder coke, on the other hand is more expensive and is usually used by the upper middle class demographic, and is very popular in among Latinos.
The method in which they are used also differs. Powder coke is mainly snorted or dissolved in water and injected into the body. Crack is usually smoked or inhaled. Generally, since crack is smoked, it reaches the brain faster and it effects are felt much faster, albeit for only a short time. Thus, a person who wishes to experience the “high” associated with crack is likely to have multiple doses per day, thus it’s addictive nature. Powder coke, takes a few minutes for it to have any effects, however, the effects lasts for long. The effects of cocaine on the body are the same for the two types. It stimulates the release of large amounts of adrenalin, which is why users are very active and hyper. It also produces feelings of euphoria and general relaxation. Cocaine is regarded as a stimulant.
Apart from addiction, other short and long term effects the user is likely to experience include: low appetite which usually leads to great weight loss, irregular sleeping patterns, increased irritability in the individual, immoral or antisocial behavior, respiratory diseases for those who snort, lung failure for those who smoke it, general body weakness, high blood pressure which may result into heart failure, loss of memory and/or brain damage. For the users who inject the drug, their skins may develop some puncture-like holes which might get infected. In a worst case scenario, the person may die from an over dose.
For a person who is addicted to cocaine, all is not lost as the government has set up numerous inpatient and outpatient rehab centers for addicts all over the country. If you’ve got a friend or family who is into such, the best thing is not to condemn or judge them. Anybody makes mistakes, but only a strong person admits that and seeks help.