Research has shown that crack users experience a disproportionate rate of infectious diseases, such as HIV, Hepatitis C, Tuberculosis and other serious health problems.
After a long bout or binge of using crack, users often experience a crash, which is very unpleasant. Usually a user will be physically and mentally exhausted and will sleep for 12 to 18 hours and wake up very hungry. Some users also report paranoia, feelings of sadness and depression, sweating, muscle twitching and hallucinations. For women who are pregnant, there is an increased chance of stillbirths, miscarriages, labor difficulties and birth defects.
Crack, like other stimulants, lowers a user’s immune system. This is especially worrisome for users living with HIV/AIDS. Smoking crack appears to weaken the crack smoker’s natural resistance to infection in the lungs. Many users experience respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath, chronic cough, chest pains, asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia. In the extreme, crack smoking can cause bleeding in the lungs and users may cough up black phlegm or blood. Many users use brillo pad as a screen for their glass stem. Unfortunately metal used
for screens (i.e. brillo pads, hash pipe screens, etc.) breaks apart due to the high heat that is used when smoking crack and can be inhaled by the smoker. These bits of metal can cause damage and bleeding.
When people mix crack and alcohol they create a new compound called Coacaethylene, which intensifies crack’s euphoric effects, while possibly
increasing the risk of sudden death. Many users rely on crack as a form of self-medication in order to cope with social and environmental factors, such as poverty, homelessness, violence, isolation, history of abuse, lack of resources and discrimination.
There has been a lack of comprehensive research done on the harms of crack smoking. Most of the research has been conducted in the United States and has focused on sexual health issues. Crack smokers are at an increased risk for STI’s, HIV, Hepatitis C, TB and other serious health issues due to high risk behaviors, socio-economic factors and a lack of comprehensive health and social services targeting crack users.
Studies have shown that crack addicts are at an increased risk of Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.
Here are some pretty telling pictures of people, before and after they took drugs. Still not convinced that doing drugs is a pretty bad idea? Then check out these Faces of Meth – Before and After Drugs.
Addiction does not only hurt the addict, but also those people who love an addict. There’s a word for that: codependency. And no matter how much pain we are in, we can’t seem to be able to let go of the addict we love. Many therapists call codependency an addiction as well. You’re addicted to the addict. Now recent brain studies have shown that seems to be a very accurate analogy: Breaking Up Is Like Cocaine Withdrawal. And on a related note: It Is Possible To Die From A Broken Heart.
Cotton fever is a risk that IV drug users face. There are a lot of different unintended things that happen to IV drugs users: hitting arteries and nerves, abscesses, blood clots. Cotton fever has specific symptoms that differentiate it from other ailments: fever, chills, and shortness of breath. In Europe, cotton fever is commonly called “the shakes.” A reference to one of the common symptoms of cotton fever. Those with this ailment often experience violent shaking or shivering. These symptoms normally occur immediately following an injection, but there are reports of delays of up to an hour.
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting the liver, caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection is often asymptomatic, but chronic infection can lead to scarring of the liver and to cirrhosis of the liver, which doesn’t become apparent until many years later. In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop liver failure, liver cancer or life-threatening esophageal and gastric varices.
HCV is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment and transfusions. Worldwide, an estimated 130 to 170 million people are infected with hepatitis C.
There is great risk of harm when using opiate drugs such as Heroin, Morphine, Codeine, Vicodin, OxyContin and Dilaudid. Addiction, overdose and exposure to diseases spread by the sharing of intravenous needles, like HIV and Hepatitis C, are just a few of those risks.
Suboxone and Methadone are used to treat patients with opioid dependency or addiction. They are both synthetic opioids. Suboxone is partial opiate agonist, which means its effects are limited even when taken in large doses. Methadone is a full opiate agonist. The active ingredient in Suboxone is Buprenorphine, while Methadone is the name of the chemical that is the active ingredient in the drug of the same name.
Methadone has been used for decades in the treatment of Heroin addiction as a way to keep addicts in treatment, avoid withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of sharing needles. Suboxone was introduced in 2000 when it became legal to administer maintenance medication in an office-based setting, rather than only in a regulated treatment clinic.
-For people with heavy opiate habits and serious addiction, Suboxone cannot provide effective relief from withdrawal symptoms. Methadone works better for such individuals.
-Suboxone is much harder to abuse, so patients are allowed to take it home. But Methadone can be abused, so patients need to travel to a clinic each day to take their medication.
-Suboxone is less addictive than Methadone.
-Withdrawal symptoms of Suboxone detox are generally less severe than Methadone detox.
-The risk of a fatal overdose with Suboxone is lower than with Methadone.
Female crack addicts suffer many more serious social consequences from the drug epidemic than men. Both social policies and drug addiction treatment options have generally failed to address the specific needs of women. Female crack addicts are subjected to horrible conditions and are quickly forced into a lifestyle involving prostitution in crack houses because of their addiction and need to obtain crack.
This inevitable descent leads many if not most female addicts into social isolation due to the prevailing negative stereotypes and stigmatization resulting from their failure to live up to expected cultural roles demanded of women. Research studies on the relationship between criminal behavior and drugs show how each affects the other and how crack use causes extensive criminal behavior.
Buried on page 795 of President Obama’s annual budget was a paragraph banning the federal funding of needle-exchange programs for drug addicts. A 180 degree turn on his campaign promise to overturn that longstanding ban. To further enrage AIDS and addiction activists, a statement of support for needle exchange programs was removed from the White House website. It appears Obama is reversing course on his campaign promises.
The Administration says that is not the case. Jeff Crowley, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy said that President Obama has no plans to abandon needle exchange, but is simply not moving forward on the issue. “The President is looking forward to working with Congress and the American people to build support for this change,” says Crowley, “and his Administration is committed to moving forward to address the federal ban on syringe exchange programs as a part of a national HIV/AIDS strategy.”
Read more about Obama’s policy on Needle Exchange Programs.
With her gray hair and pink sweater, retired teacher Joanne Iannotti looks like a typical grandmother as she slowly walks out of her home with a little bag of dirty hypodermic needles. She walks up to a van and exchanges her bag for clean needles for her adult sons, who shoot heroin with their friends. “They tend to want to share,” Iannotti says. “But I tell them, ‘No wait. I have clean needles for all of you.”‘
Iannotti participates in one of nearly 200 needle exchange programs in the United States. Research has found that needle exchange programs reduce the spread of AIDS without increasing drug use. But local budget cuts and a federal ban on funding such programs in the United States and abroad are hurting the programs at a time when injection drug use is fueling a global AIDS epidemic, advocates say.