Drug Addiction

History Of Cocaine Vs Crack

Most people around the world think that crack and cocaine are the same. Yes, they are all cocaine, but they are also very different at the same time. Their history, composition, creation, appearance, effects, mode of consumption and concentration differ from one another. Before looking at crack and cocaine history, it is important to understand their differences, so that you can have a better understanding of their diverse histories.

Cocaine

CocaineCurrently, cocaine is the second most abused drug in the world, after marijuana. People use it as a recreational drug, despite it being illegal, because it is an addictive stimulant substance that affects the performance of the brain by causing a high feeling.

Cocaine is a product of a South American coca plant, whose leaves contain the substance. The high feeling that this drug causes arises from its action, which involves inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Consequently, the three neurotransmitters concentrate in the brain in greater concentrations. Cocaine is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier or even causing its breakdown.

This stimulant drug is a hydrochloride salt, which appears as a fine white powder. In the streets, users may identify it as snow, coke, white dust and nose candy, among other names, to avoid being caught while purchasing and selling it since it is illegal.

Since drug dealers often want to make more profits from selling cocaine, they may mix it with other drugs like synthetic opioids such as fentanyl or amphetamine. These are dangerous additives that cause more harm to the human body.

Methods Of Ingestion

CocaineCocaine users ingest the powder in several ways to acquire a certain level of high in terms of duration and intensity. Some may snort or smoke it, while others prefer to inject it into their veins. For others, adding to food or drinks or rubbing into their gums gives them a certain level of satisfaction. Therefore, the duration and intensity of the high produced depends on the method of ingestion.

For example, cocaine users that prefer to snort it experience its effects in about one to five minutes. These effects peak within the next twenty to thirty minutes and later dissipate within one to two hours. On the other hand, if injected into the vein, the effects begin within one minute. They peak in about three to five minutes, and also last for thirty to sixty minutes.

This concludes that injecting cocaine into your blood stream will cause effects faster, leading to very intense high that is short lived. On the other hand, if you snort it, the effects take longer to come around, and the high feeling lasts longer.

Uses Of Cocaine

Medical

Before the emergence of synthetic local anesthetics like lidocaine and benzocaine, cocaine was quite effective as a numbing agent. Most especially, doctors used it during painful procedures such as lacrimal duct and nasal surgery. Cocaine lost its value in medical use due to its side effects such as glaucoma, cardiovascular toxicity and pupil dilation.

Recreational Purposes

It is not a surprise that cocaine users like to escape reality for some minutes. Therefore, they take advantage of the effects that cocaine has on the nervous system to acquire a feeling that only cocaine can give.

When taken for recreational purposes, cocaine increases feelings of sexuality and competence, as well as feelings of euphoria and well-being. It also increases alertness, motor activity and energy.

Sign Of Cocaine Users

Identifying a person that has just ingested cocaine is quite an easy task. Due to the mental effects that the drug causes, a user may experience agitation or intense feeling of happiness, accompanied by loss of reality. Additionally, users experience sweating, increased heart rate that could lead to high blood pressure and large pupils. If cocaine is taken in high doses, the body temperature may also rise.

Effects Of Cocaine Use

Cocaine affects you depending on various factors. They include your health, weight and size and the frequency of consumption. The strength of the batch as well as the amounts consumed also determines the effects that you will experience. If you mix with other drugs, the effects will differ as well.

Short Term Effects

As soon as you ingest cocaine, you are prone to experience some effects that will last for a short period of time. These effects include irritability, mental alertness, extreme energy and happiness, paranoia and hypersensitivity to touch, sound and sight.

At the same time, you may experience restlessness, nausea, constricted blood vessels, raised blood pressure and body temperature, irregular heartbeat, tremors and dilated pupils.

Long Term Effects

As you continually use cocaine, your body tends to be addicted and cause long-term use. Consequently, the effects pose more risks upon your health. Some of these effects depend on the mode of drug ingestion. For example, snorting cocaine leads to nosebleeds and nasal septum irritation. On the other hand, injecting the stimulant leads to collapsed veins and allergic reactions.

Other long term effects that arise due to prolonged cocaine use include abdominal pains, cardiac arrest, stroke, seizures, and unrelenting headaches, contraction of hepatitis and HIV and significant weight loss.

Crack

Crack DrugCrack is a stimulant product derived from cocaine. Therefore, it is a cocaine form that has different components from the original cocaine that are known to be quite deadly. Obtaining crack from cocaine involves mixing cocaine powder with baking soda and water. After boiling the mixture, a solid substance forms, which cools and broken into pieces.

During the heating process, the mixture produces a cracking sound, hence the name crack. Due to its components, crack is quite more concentrated and more addictive, compared to cocaine. While in rock form, it appears in several colors like tan, light brown, white or cream.

Crack affects the brain the same way that cocaine does; through inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. However, this action is more instant and rapid which explains why people get addicted faster than cocaine.

Method Of Ingestion

The only means to absorb crack into your body is through smoking it. Within one minute, you are prone to feel the effects, which peak in about three to five minutes. These effects then last for thirty to sixty minutes, meaning they are short lived. This reaction after smoking crack is the same as the one you could get by injecting cocaine into your blood stream.

Uses

Crack does not a variety of uses apart from recreational use. Similar to cocaine, crack users smoke the stimulant to experience the effects on their bodies after large amounts of dopamine are released into the brain. They also use street names like dice, snow coke, 24-7, rock star and sugar block, among others.

Therefore, crack causes alertness, euphoria, increased energy, supreme confidence and a craving for more of the substance. Consequently, users tend to become addicted within a very short period of usage. After the dopamine levels plummet, the user is left low and depressed. This occurrence accelerates the cravings to be continuously high on the drug.

Signs Of Crack Users

Crack users have tendencies of exhibiting excessive energy that appears in some form of excitement. This stimulation may be exhibited inform of violence as well and unpredictable mood swings. They may talk rapidly or consume food substances in an inhumane rate. After the high feeling wears off, they change into dull and greatly fatigued persons, who can fall asleep for days.

Effects Of Crack Use

The intense but short lived high that crack causes brings about some short and long term effects upon users. The short term are experienced immediately after smoking the drug, while the long term emerge after continuous and lengthy consumption due to the addiction that builds up.

Short Term Effects 

After smoking crack, you are prone to suffer intense depression, more craving for the drug and edginess as the drug wears off. Before then, you may experience a highly increased heart rate, convulsions and muscle spasms.

Additionally, you may become paranoid, anxious, hostile and angry, even when you are not high on crack.  What’s more, you are at risk of suffering from respiratory failure, heart attack, seizures or stroke. In extreme consumption crack, sudden death may as well happen.

Other effects include contracted blood vessels, dilated pupils, nausea, panic and psychosis, and hallucinations.

Long Term Effects

Due to the cravings that appear after each smoke, one may become addicted to crack, resulting in continuous and prolonged use. After long term use, you may experience lung bleeding and damage, shortness of breath and coughing.

The liver, heart and kidneys as well suffer due to the severe damage that takes place over time. If crack is abused on a daily basis, you may lose appetite and suffer from malnutrition, while also experiencing sleep deprivation. The aggressiveness and paranoia may as well become a part of you.

The depression that begins every time the drug wears off becomes worse with each consumption of crack. This may affect your thinking, leading you to commit crimes like murder, or have suicidal thoughts.

Other effects include severe tooth decay and chest pains, reproductive damage leading to infertility and sexual problems and addiction, among others.

History Of Cocaine Vs Crack

From the above information, it is clear that crack and cocaine are different. Therefore, their histories are also bound to be different as well, considering that the latter comes from the former.   

History of Cocaine

Discovery

3000 years before the birth of Christ, the ancient Incas lived in mountains, which had thin air. Countering the effects of such thin air required them to increase their breathing as well as their heart rates. While in the quest for the remedy needed, they discovered that chewing coca leaves, gave them the service they wished for.

The South American indigenous communities have done the same for over 1000 years, especially in religious ceremonies. When the Spanish came to South America, they found that the coca leaves made the Peruvians strong and energetic at work after chewing.

In 1532, the Spanish soldiers broke the traditions of consuming the leaves in religious ceremonies, and instead made the communities chew them at work. The influence caused by the coca leaves made it easy to exploit and control the laborers in the Spanish mines.

In 1609, Valera Padre came to the conclusion that the coca leaves protected the body from disease and also had healing abilities. It made broken bones strong and cured swollen and rotten wounds.

Isolation

People continued to consume the coca leaves since extracting the unique element was nearly impossible; there was insufficient chemistry knowledge then and sea transportation caused problems in reaching the plants to European chemists.

However, there was a breakthrough in 1855, when Friedrich Gaedcke, a chemist form Germany managed to isolate the cocaine alkaloid from the coca leaves. Using an improved purification processing, Albert Niemann further isolated cocaine from the coca leaves in 1859. He claimed that it caused some numbness on the tongue.

Medicalization

Discovering the numbness aspect of the new alkaloid meant that it qualified to be used as a local anesthetic. To be sure of this aspect various scientists tested it from 1879. First was Anrep Vassil who discovered cocaine’s effect on a frog’s leg compared to salty water.

The second was Koller Karl who is said to have experimented on himself, by putting cocaine in his eyes and testing the ability to feel pain while under the influence. The both tests proved that cocaine can be an anesthetic.

Other successful reports came from Jellinek, William Halsted, James Corning and Quincke Heinrich, regarding respiratory system, nerve block, peridural and spinal anesthesia, respectively. Hence, cocaine became popular in the medical community in the 1880’s.

Other curious individuals also discovered that it was useful in treating sexual impotence, depression and morphine addiction.

Popularization

As the medical aspect of cocaine was discovered, other individuals decided to use it in alcoholic beverages. In 1863, Mariani Angelo, a chemist, saw the economic potential of coca leaves and created cocawine using them and named it Vin Mariani.

Cocaine became continuously famous and was sold in multiple forms such as powder, cigarettes and in injectable cocaine mixture in 1885. In 1886, John Pemberton included the coca leaves in Coca-Cola, the new soft drink, making the both famous due to the energizing and euphoric effects that customers experienced.

The use of cocaine in the society continued for decades, until its dangers became clear. Consequently, the public demanded the removal of the cocaine for the Coca-Cola drink in 1903. In 1905, it seems that people had found a new way to consume cocaine; through snorting. Five years down the line, cases of nasal damage became rampant in hospitals.

By 1912, statistics from the United States government claimed that about 5000 people died of cocaine consumption in a single year. Consequently, the government officially banned the drug in 1922. However, cocaine did not disappear completely.

In the 1970’s, business people and entertainers reemerged cocaine as a fashionable drug that helped people stay energized. Between 1970 and 1980, American university students experimented on it in large numbers as time went by. This demand attracted Colombian drug traffickers, who smuggled cocaine into the United States using networks.

The Colombians cartels grew bigger as they transported the drug to other areas like Asia and Europe. In the mid 1990’s, law enforcements dismantled them. However, smaller groups still continued the drug smuggling business.

Modern Usage

In recent times, cocaine remains a recreational drug that is quite popular in many countries. Its use is prevalent across the majority of the socioeconomic strata, including religious, economic, political, social, age and demographics.

In 2005, the U.S estimated that cocaine’s market exceeded many corporations’ revenues by standing at seventy billion US dollars. Statistics also indicate that its demand is quite high among the rich people. According to an October 2010 report, the use of cocaine in Australia has doubled since 2003.

As of 2008, reports from multiple countries indicate that the illegal trafficking of cocaine is the highest compared to other illegal drugs.

History Of Crack

Creation

As mentioned above, cocaine was common among the rich, especially in the 1980’s. It had become a club drug that was readily available for the Hollywood celebrities and New York City clubs. Consequently, its manufacturers made a higher supply than expected, which risked their profits. To cover their losses, dealers thought of creating a stronger product that would be available to all.

Still in the decade, 1980’s, dealers made a stronger product by mixing cocaine powder, baking soda and water. As they heated the mixture to acquire the solid substance, there was a cracking sound, which made them name the product “crack.” They found it better because it could be smoked just like cigarettes.

The dealers also discovered that the new drug reached the brain faster than the original cocaine and caused a more intense high. Additionally, it was more addictive. This discovery encouraged them to make it available even for the poor to increase their customer base and eventually their profit margin. As soon as crack hit the market, it became an epidemic.

The Crack Epidemic In The 1980’s 

In the 1960’s, vulnerable communities like the Latino and African Americans living in South Central Los Angeles lost employment in large numbers. What’s worse, a majority were not well educated due to the corrupt and racist United States government at the time. Therefore, acquiring new employment became a challenge.

In 1981, crack began appearing in areas like Los Angeles, Miami, Oakland, and San Diego. In 1984, the price of powder cocaine was still high and less pure, while crack came in lesser prices and was more pure. Since now the drug was available to the poor communities, African Americans and Latinos jumped at the opportunity.

By 1985, hospital emergencies that involved cocaine increased by 12 percent; they numbers increased from 23,500 to 26,300. In the following year, these incidents got worse as they rose by 110 percent; the numbers now increased from 26,300 to 55,200. Additionally, between 1985 and 1989, overall cocaine users increased from 4.2 to 5.8 million people.

As these numbers increased, so did the urge to stay safe. However, the drug was illegal. So there were no laws to safeguard profits from crack sale and prevent the formation of monopolies. To keep themselves safe, people involved in the buying, selling and consumption of crack began possessing both legal and illegal firearms.

By 1989, major cities experienced high rates of crimes, as many innocent lives were lost. A study conducted in 1988 concluded that crack influenced about 92 percent of the homicides committed in New York City alone.

This epidemic came to be due to the emergence of gangs that had rivalry with each other. They caused violence and hostile takeovers that resulted to deaths of many African American males. The situation became worse after militarized policing.

The response of the federal government was harsh as people arrested for possession of crack suffered more than those found with powder cocaine. Consequently, 60 percent of the convicts incarcerated in the US were serving time due to drug charges in 1996.

Unfortunately, the African Americans suffered more than the Whites due to racism. Actual statistics indicated that the White were the highest consumers of crack and cocaine powder, standing at 75 %, African Americans at 15% and Hispanics at 10%. However, the sentenced offenders were 79% African Americans, 10% Whites and 10% Hispanics. The U.S justice system proved to be flawed.

In conclusion, crack and cocaine are completely different. Their histories indicate that even their consumption could not be the same. Due to their compositions, they have different effects whereby crack has a more intense high and addictive than cocaine powder. This intensity explains the increase in crack usage and deaths in the 1980’s after its creation.

Moreover, the both are tied up in racism issues. Cocaine was available to the rich, mostly Whites, who definitely earned more than the African Americans. On the other hand, crack, which is more deadly, became available to all. However, it is sad that the despite all suffered the side effects of these drugs since their discovery, only one race paid dearly through the American justice system.