Certified National Drug & Alcohol Interventionists

The Toll Cocaine & Crack Use Take

Cocaine and Crack use brings a broad range of consequences that include:

  • Dependence and addiction, although cocaine and crack are not known as physically addictive there are still many side effects. The mental obsession with the drug can cause physical effects such as sweating and anxiety
  • Cardiovascular problems, including irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and heart failure
  • Neurological incidents, including strokes, seizures, fungal brain infections, and hemorrhaging in tissue surrounding the brain
  • Pulmonary effects, such as fluid in the lungs, aggravation of asthma and other lung disorders, and respiratory failure
  • Psychiatric complications, including psychosis, paranoia, depression, anxiety disorders, and delusions
  • Increased risk of traumatic injury from accidents and aggressive, violent, and/or criminal behavior
  • Other effects include: sleeplessness, sexual dysfunction, diminished sense of smell, perforated nasal septum, nausea, and headaches.

Crack users often singe eyebrows or eyelashes with the flame of matches or lighters. They also burn and cause calluses on their fingertips due to frequent use and burn other body parts from contact with superheated vessels (e.g., glass pipes, stem).

Fetal cocaine effects include premature separation of the placenta, spontaneous abortion, premature labor, low birth weight and head circumference at birth, greater chance of visual impairment, mental retardation, genitourinary malformations, and greater chance of developmental problems.

For intravenous (IV) cocaine users, there is increased risk of hepatitis, HIV infection, and endocarditic. For addicts, whether they smoke, inject, or snort, promiscuous sexual activity can increase the risk of HIV infection.