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rocks, free base, wash, whites, stones
cocaine hydrochloride



Crack cocaine is cocaine hydrochloride that has been chemically altered to form crystals that can be smoked.



Crack cocaine is found as small white/yellowish crystals (rocks) which are sold from £10 – £20.


method of use

Crack is smoked on foil, in a pipe or glass tube. Sometimes it is injected.



  • Using Crack cocaine will give you a feelings of energy, confidence, talkativeness and warmth. The peak effect after a dose of Crack cocaine only lasts for about 12 minutes.
  • Adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine - natural chemicals that your body produces - are all affected when you take Crack cocaine.
  • The rush and feelings of confidence and alertness are caused by adrenaline being produced when using crack cocaine. Too much of this can lead you to feel restless, anxious and even paranoid.
  • Adrenaline also causes insomnia and loss of appetite. The increased levels of dopamine and serotonin creates feelings of warmth and satisfaction. However, it takes a while for these chemicals to return to normal levels after using, causing depression.


health risks

  • Crack cocaine makes your heart beat a lot faster and prevents sleep. If you use too much, or have long sessions, it is possible to push your body too far. This may lead to your body shaking and hand tremors.
  • It also increases your body temperature, leading to overheating and the risk of seizures and fits. If you are overheating and sweating heavily drink some water and take time out to cool down.
  • Using Crack cocaine will increase your blood pressure and exert extra pressure and strain on your heart and blood vessels. If you feel a pain in your chest whilst using crack cocaine, STOP using and seek medical attention.
  • Using more and more Crack cocaine can lead you to feel increasingly anxious and paranoid.
  • Mixing drugs increases the risk of overdose.
    What to do in the event of an overdose.
  • Crack also affects the nerve endings, causing uncomfortable feelings in the skin, commonly known as 'Crack bugs'.
  • Prolonged Crack cocaine use leads to vitamin and amino acid deficiency. This impairs your immune system and makes you susceptible to infections and disease.
  • There is a risk of aluminium poisoning if you are smoking from cans or foil. The safest way is to use a water pipe (washed with bleach to kill bacteria) with a gauze. DO NOT share pipes and wash the rocks first to remove more of the adulterant.
  • Smoking Crack cocaine can damage your respiratory system and can cause long-term problems.
  • Injecting Crack cocaine can cause severe problems such as collapsed veins, abscesses, and the threat of gangrene or even amputation. Avoiding injecting Crack cocaine will by-pass many of the serious health risks. If crack cocaine is injected, fix the rocks with vitamin C/Citric acid to dissolve the rock into liquid form.
  • Injecting equipment must NEVER be shared with anyone. The only guarantee of safety from hepatitis or HIV infection is a new disposable syringe and needle for each person concerned. There is a needle exchange at BDP, where new works are given free.

Safer Injecting



Tolerance does occur and users can develop psychological dependence.

When you are high on Crack cocaine, you will inevitably fall back down to a much lower point than from where you started. You may then find the need to take more Crack cocaine to get back to the same peak, resulting in more risk and more money.

Taking time between pipes will mean that less of the drug will be needed and gives your body a chance to recover and level the chemical imbalances.


coming down

Due to the increase of adrenaline, feelings of paranoia, anxiety and panic attacks can happen. By pacing yourself and reducing your dose these feelings can be reduced. Take time out - at least 30 minutes - or end the session. If you feel anxious, chill out for a bit and stop using to allow the adrenaline levels to normalise.

You can burn off adrenaline by exercising.


users' advice

If you feel that your Crack cocaine use is getting out of hand, and you want to regain control, here are some tips from other Crack users that may help: 

  • Set yourself realistic and achievable goals.
  • Put off the first pipe of the day.
  • Smoke smaller amounts of the drug.
  • Allow longer periods of time between pipes.


  • Don’t go out with more money than you need. Score all at once — buy what you need, stick to it and avoid going back for more.
  • Make sure you have what you need to aid come down.

coming down:

  • Only use with people you feel comfortable with.
  • Manage your dose.
  • Using alcohol to come down can cause problems. Alcohol can create cravings to use more Crack cocaine because of the chemical reactions in the liver and you might go back to using if you are drunk.
  • Remember, mixing drugs increases your chance of overdosing. Try to go to bed after finishing a session and give your mind and body a chance to recover.


  • Reset your body clock by getting up at the same time every morning.
  • Cut out caffeine and cigarettes, or avoid them in the evening.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.

staying off:

  • When you start to think about Crack cocaine try to focus on something else. Remind yourself why you have decided to take a break or stop.
  • Take dealers' numbers off your phone and get rid of old pipes, used foil etc.
  • Reduce or stop the contact you have with users. Non crack-using friends can help you through this time.
  • Keep busy, avoid sitting around thinking about Crack cocaine — recognise the dangerous times in your day.
  • Physical exercise can really help.
  • Reward yourself for staying away from Crack cocaine. Remind yourself that it does get easier.
  • Contact BDP for help. We offer counselling, auricular acupuncture, detox and sleep teas, which can help in relaxation and the detox process plus offer you support and information.

the law

Crack cocaine is a class A, Schedule 1 drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Published in Alcohol & Drugs