Crack cocaine is also known in slang as coke, dust, toot, snow, blow, sneeze, powder, lines, rock, and probably more. All of these terms refer to the addictive substance made from the coca plant in both powder and crystal form. It is often snorted as a powder while other users convert it to a liquid form for needle injection. Some also process it into a crystal to be smoked. It is usually related to a feeling of a short-lived high which is immediately followed by intense feelings of depression, agitation, and a craving for more of the drug. Crack users often have irregular eating and sleeping patterns. They always feel paranoid, angry, hostile, and anxious when they are not high. Cocaine interferes with the chemical processes of the brain so that it creates feelings of pleasure. Users get addicted to cocaine because of their dependency on the drug to be able to feel happy and normal. Users become too dependent on cocaine that they start to lose interest in other areas of their life.
Cocaine is a very expensive and dangerous illegal drug. It can be lethal, most especially when combined with other drugs or alcohol. What cocaine does is to impair judgment. Users also experience increased heart rate, muscle spasms, and convulsions. If cocaine is snorted, nasal tissues can also be permanently damaged. Use of cocaine can cause heart attacks, seizures, strokes, and respiratory failure. Users, who inject cocaine, more often than not, share needles. These people are prone to contract hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, or other transferable diseases. Cocaine overdose does not choose its victim. Whether one is a habitual or a first-time user, one is always at risk of death.
It is difficult to identify a cocaine user by appearances alone, but there are signs that one can remember. A snorter always has a runny nose, and is frequently sniffing. This is due to damaged nasal tissues. A user’s eating and sleeping patterns change. He may also act withdrawn, depressed, tired, and he may not be particular about his personal appearance. He may change his group of friends, and there are may be drastic changes in his behavior. A user may lose his interest in work, school, family, and many of the activities that he used to enjoy. He may be in need of money frequently. Cocaine is a very expensive addiction that may require hundred to thousands of dollars a week to maintain.
The surest way of learning if a person is a crack user is through drug tests. There are several types of drug tests available.
One is through urinalysis, which requires a subject to provide a sample of urine. The test itself can be done with a test card which is used on site for immediate results. Sometimes, the sample is sent away to a lab to undergo a high performance liquid chromatography or immunoassay analysis called GCMS.
Another is hair drug testing , which shows quite accurate results. Apparently, as hair grows out, any substance used are encased in the hair shaft. Head hair is the most reliable source of hair for testing, but body hair may also be used. Not all laboratories can perform this test, and they must be regulated by CLIA or SAMSHA.
Oral fluid-based drug test can generally detect use during the previous few days. These tests are convenient and cannot be adulterated since most of these tests are done onsite. Oral tests are as accurate as urine tests. They can also be acquired from suppliers almost anywhere in the United States.
Sweat drug tests are patches attached to the skin to collect sweat over a long period of time (10–14 days). These patches have security features that keep them from being covertly removed and then reapplied without the knowledge of the testing agency. At the end of the test period, the patch is removed and ready for analysis.