If you have a loved one who is addicted to crack cocaine, you are always in fear that they will ultimately have a crack cocaine overdose. Crack cocaine comes from mixing cocaine with baking soda or ammonium salts formed into crystals or blocks which can be pale rose to white or yellow in color. It is smoked and gets its name from the crackling sound it makes when being heated and smoked. Crack renders an intense high, but it is very short-lived; the high only lasts about 15 minutes. Smoking crack makes it reach the brain quicker than snorting it. Individuals can become crack or cocaine addicts after the first time of use.
Effects of Crack Cocaine
Crack causes a short-lived intense high which is immediately followed by depression and cravings for more of the drug. The user will have a dry mouth and dilated pupils. Crack cocaine is a stimulant which means that the individual will have increased energy and be very talkative with a decreased appetite. Crack may cause someone to have extreme mood swings and exhibit a false sense of self- confidence or power. After an extended period of use, the user will show signs of isolation, paranoia, and defensiveness. They may feel as if bugs are crawling on them and show signs where they scratch and pick at the skin. When using crack for an extended period, individuals show evidence of premature aging and will probably display burn marks on the lips or fingers from the crack pipe used when smoking the drug.
Unintentional overdoses of crack cocaine are not uncommon and usually come from the user trying to get a more intense high. Smoking crack is dangerous because it enters the bloodstream so quickly. A user can experience chest pains and convulsions during inhalation of the drug. Crack is similar to heroin in the fact that when the user buys it on the street, they never know the percentage of purity. The drug could have been mixed with other substances so you could get 20% purity one time and the next get much more. Not knowing the purity makes the chances of crack cocaine overdose very high.
Another factor to consider is whether or not the individual is combining crack with other substances such as alcohol or other depressants. By doing this, it dulls the effects of the crack leading the user to think that they can use more of the drug to achieve the high for which they are searching.
If Your Loved One Overdoses on Crack
If you have a loved one who constantly binges on crack cocaine, there is a good chance that they will experience an overdose. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you know the signs and symptoms of an overdose and what to do in the case of one happening. The signs of a crack overdose are much the same as a crack high, but more intense. There will also be physical signs which indicate that immediate treatment is necessary.
When experiencing an overdose, your loved one may become incoherent and extremely agitated. They may experience severe itching, more than with a typical crack high, and the skin may become cold and clammy. Respiratory problems will appear such as coughing, shortness of breath, and lung trauma with bleeding and coughing up black mucus. Coughing up black mucus is a sure sign that it is urgent to get medical attention for an overdose of crack.
Other crack cocaine overdose symptoms or indications can be unconsciousness, indications of a stroke, or signs of a heart attack. Any of these implications are symptoms that need immediate attention from medical professionals. If you feel that your loved one is displaying any of these signs of crack cocaine overdose (or any substance of abuse), call 911 immediately and get help. The sooner you get help, the more likely they will survive the overdose.
Afterward, discuss your treatment options and see that your loved one seeks help for drug addiction to prevent future incidences, and to help them get back to a life of sobriety and normalcy. You may prevent an overdose situation by intervening and seeking addiction treatment programs immediately.