Crack cocaine is a strong stimulant that energizes the entire central nervous system and places damaging stresses on the heart, lungs and brain. It is also very often associated with a dramatic deterioration of the quality of life.
When crack cocaine is smoked, the muscles tense and the heart beats faster. The person experiences exhilaration as a result of the release of specific mood hormones.
At the same time that the heart beats faster, the blood vessels constrict, resulting in elevated blood pressure. At any time, this change can result in a heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest.
A person abusing crack cocaine may leave behind tiny plastic bags with small off-white rocks of crack, or just a little residue of the drugs that were stored in the bag. There may be crack pipes around made of metal or glass. A person who has been smoking crack often has burned fingers or lips from holding onto the pipe while it heats up.
Crack cocaine effects do not last as long as powder cocaine, meaning that the user will need to disappear for another dose in as short a time as 10 to 15 minutes. A crack user is therefore always in need of more of the drug. This is one of the reasons that many crack users resort to crime. They have no other way to keep up with this constant need for crack. Women may turn to prostitution and men may turn to theft.