Crack is the crystalline form of cocaine. It comes in form of rocks or crystals that are white, off-white, pinkish, or yellowish in color. The substance is very potent and addictive. As a cocaine derivative, it is classified as a schedule II drug per the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which means that, although it is accepted for medical use in the U.S., it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. It is therefore illegal to possess or distribute the drug.
How is crack cocaine made?
Crack cocaine is made from taking the powdered form of cocaine dissolving it in water. Ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (commonly known as baking soda) is then added in and boiled. The boiling will isolate the cocaine base. It separates as an oily layer that will settle. It is then removed so that it can be dried. Once dried, it hardens and looks like a rock which can be broken up into smaller pieces and sold. The process of producing crack is so easy and cheap that many users will make their own. They often will use a spoon, a lighter, and some baking soda to convert cocaine to crack using the above process.
Crack cocaine vs. Powdered Cocaine
In terms of the substance itself, crack is cocaine, just in another form. The main difference is that the crystals can be smoked, while powdered cocaine cannot. The different methods of consumption do change the intensity and duration of the effect. For example, when smoked, the high happens almost instantly and will last about 5 to 10 minutes, while snorting cocaine will create a high after about 15 to 30 minutes and last up to an hour. The effects are similar, though they might be felt more intensely through smoking. Crack cocaine can also be snorted and dissolved in water and injected.
History of Crack Cocaine in the United States
Crack cocaine first appeared in the United States in the 80s. There was a surge in the popularity of cocaine in the U.S. in the 70s. Shipments of cocaine would come from South America through the Caribbean and arrive in the country in Florida. According to the DEA, there was an excessive amount of cocaine available on these Islands. Because of the supply and demand imbalance, the price for the drug dropped dr