Crack cocaine: what is it and where can a person go for help?

By Cpl. Mark Amatto
Shootin’ the Breeze Crowsnest Pass RCMP
October 10, 2021
Cocaine is listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act; it is illegal to possess, sell (traffic) or consume this illicit drug.

Addicts of cocaine can experience a variety of behaviours such as anger, distrust, impaired judgment and toxic psychosis. Toxic psychosis may work in conjunction with a loss of reality, delirium and hallucinations.

Cocaine usage can also lead to acts of violence, and some crimes committed while under the influence of cocaine are characterized by their extreme violence.

Crack cocaine is a mixture of cocaine, sodium bicarbonate and/or ammonium bicarbonate. Crack cocaine looks like little pebbles, known to addicts as “rocks.” Heating those rocks makes a crackling sound and that is where the name “crack cocaine” comes from.

The effect of smoking crack cocaine is immediate and far more intense than that of snorting cocaine. The high from crack cocaine is short-lived and coming down from that high is far more unpleasant.

Regular crack cocaine usage can cause:
—Violent behaviour
—Paranoid episodes
—Suicidal ideations
—Physical and mental exhaustion
—Impaired heart and respiratory functions
—Skin lesions on the hands and lips due to the method of consumption

Where to go for help?
—Addiction and Mental Health Hotline: 866-332-2322

This 24-hour, seven-days-a-week service is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of nurses, psychiatric nurses, social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists.

—Crowsnest Pass Addiction Clinic: 403-562-5041
—Crowsnest Pass Mental Health Clinic: 403-562-3222
—Pincher Creek Addiction and Mental Health Clinic: 403-627-1240

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