Simply put, crack cocaine is the solid, rock-like form taken when cocaine bicarbonate is made. Although there are other methods, most often, this drug is made by adding sodium bicarbonate (also known as baking soda) to cocaine hydrochloride powder.
The difference between street cocaine, freebase cocaine, and crack rocks are mainly seen in additives and processing once the drug leaves South America. The process of cooking crack is done by adding baking soda and heat to cocaine powder. Freebase cocaine is usually considered the result of using ammonia or ether to separate cocaine from its base without the use of baking soda.
For those struggling with a crack addiction, it is a bit of a different matter. Turning cocaine powder into crack or freebase cocaine is more about the effect. In short: turning your cocaine into crack allows it to be smoked much more readily, delivering a powerful and intense high. Unfortunately, chasing this form of cocaine high can (and likely will) lead you to some very dark places.
Although cocaine does not come with the same physical withdrawal symptoms as opiates or alcohol, it can be equally difficult to endure. For the very same reasons that cocaine causes mood elevation and euphoria, crack can cause severe depressive symptoms. Cocaine and crack can bring you to emotional highs that are followed by some very dark depths.
Aside from this, when it comes to the illegal drug manufacturing and distribution industry, crack cocaine can turn significantly higher profits when compared to regular cocaine. This is primarily because the substance is cheaper to produce.
Addiction to crack cocaine can lead to various symptoms, including mental health problems, depression, and anxiety. In some cases, users may experience paranoia or psychosis, as well as hallucinations.
Crack is produced by dissolving powdered cocaine in a mixture of water and ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). The mixture is boiled until a solid substance forms. The solid is removed from the liquid, dried, and then broken into the chunks (rocks) that are sold as crack cocaine.
Individuals of all ages use crack cocaine--data reported in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse indicate that an estimated 6,222,000 U.S. residents aged 12 and older used crack at least once in their lifetime. The survey also revealed that hundreds of thousands of teenagers and young adults use crack cocaine--150,000 individuals aged 12 to 17 and 1,003,000 individuals aged 18 to 25 used the drug at least once.
Recipes for crack cocaine are readily available online, and it's a relatively simple task to convert cocaine into crack. You only need a few household chemicals and basic chemistry knowledge [sources: Erowid, National Geographic].
Crack rocks are white or tan in color and typically range in size from 0.1 to 0.5 grams. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), crack rocks contain between 80 percent and 100 percent pure cocaine [source: LaVille].
Cocaine is usually smuggled into the United States across the Mexican border, often vehicles modified for maximum concealment, or even via underground tunnels, or off the coast, in small submarines. It arrives in the country in powder form and is converted to crack by the wholesaler or retailer (gangs make up most of the retail market in the United States) [source: Nixon].
Crack, unlike powder cocaine, does not dissolve in water or alcohol and is smoked rather than injected or inhaled. Smoking crack delivers a massive dose of the drug from the lungs to the brain within seconds.
Cocaine may be modified by drug dealers into crack cocaine in batches before or after being smuggled across international borders, and some consumers even choose to convert small amounts of cocaine powder into crack cocaine at home.
Making crack cocaine with baking powder is a relatively simple process. The drug is mixed into a solution of water and either sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, though ammonia may sometimes be used instead) and boiled until a solid substance is formed and removed from the mixture.
Alternatively, crack cocaine melts at only 98 C with a boiling point of 188 C, which allows the drug to be easily vaporized and smoked using paraphernalia as simple as a handheld lighter and small glass pipe.
Treatment programs for crack cocaine abuse are similar to treatment programs for cocaine addiction. Treatment services likely involve detox, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and aftercare.
City of New York - Cocaine Abuse & AddictionDrug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - Drug Fact Sheet: CocaineDrug Policy Alliance - What is the difference between cocaine and crackNational Drug Intelligence Center - Crack Cocaine Fast FactsNational Institute on Drug Abuse - How is cocaine used
The San Jose Mercury News series, \"Dark Alliance,\" made certainassertions about Ricky Donnell Ross' and Oscar Danilo Blandon's roles in the emergence ofcrack cocaine in South Central Los Angeles and across the nation. The OIG investigationhas surveyed social science literature, reviewed data from law enforcement agencies andfederal public health organizations, and interviewed social scientists and law enforcementofficials in an effort to analyze the articles' claims pertaining to the crack cocainemarket.
The Mercury News makes three principal allegations concerning the rise of crackcocaine in Los Angeles and in the United States. First, the Mercury News allegedthat cocaine was not available in South Central Los Angeles until Blandon and Ross made itso. The articles described cocaine as \"a drug that was virtually unobtainable inblack neighborhoods\" until Blandon brought it to South Central Los Angeles \"atbargain-basement prices.\" The articles represented that Ross' drug network was thefirst in the nation to market crack cocaine and was dependent on cocaine supplied byBlandon.(49)
The Mercury News' second claim was that Ross' success as a drug dealer wasunique, owing to his unprecedented ties to a Colombian cocaine dealer. According to thearticles, Ross was the first black, South Central Los Angeles drug dealer to cultivate arelationship with a Colombian cocaine trafficker. As a consequence, Ross purportedlybecame the sole conduit for affordable, Colombian cocaine into the untapped blackcommunities of South Central Los Angeles. Since Blandon's Colombian supplier was Ross'source for the cheap cocaine that flooded the streets of South Central Los Angeles in themid-1980s, the Mercury News dubbed Blandon \"the Johnny Appleseed of crack inCalifornia -- the Crips' and Bloods' first direct-connect to the cocaine cartels ofColombia.\"
Lastly, the Mercury News series asserted that Ross' and Blandon's drug networkwas the catalyst for the crack epidemic that erupted in the 1980s across America, not justthe epidemic that occurred in the city of Los Angeles. According to one article, \"Thecocaine that flooded in [through Blandon's drug ring] helped spark a crack explosion inurban America . . .\" During a June 22, 1997 interview with the RevolutionaryWorker, Gary Webb clarified the point he intended for the article to make:
The OIG investigation found little to support the Mercury News' claimsconcerning Ross' and Blandon's allegedly seminal roles in the proliferation of crackcocaine in Los Angeles. The OIG uncovered even less evidence to support the allegationsconcerning Ross' and Blandon's roles in the spread of crack cocaine across the nation. Weuncovered conflicting evidence of the singularity of Ross' ties to Colombian dealers. Rossmay indeed have been one of the first black dealers in South Central Los Angeles to forgea tie, through Blandon, to a Colombian supplier. However, the significance of that fact isdebatable; other black South Central dealers who were Ross' contemporaries found their ownColombian cocaine suppliers either in the same timeframe or shortly after Ross did, andwithout Blandon's assistance.
While some of the Mercury News series' assertions about the origins of the crackcocaine epidemic are in fact accurate, others do not appear to be supported by fact or arethe product of untested supposition. For example, while Ross was a major cocainetrafficker in Los Angeles in the mid-1980s, there is scant evidence to support theassertion that he was solely or even principally responsible for the explosive growth ofcrack cocaine in Los Angeles during that period. The burgeoning of the crack cocainemarket -- both in Los Angeles and across the country -- is best explained by theconfluence of several factors that were not under the control of a single entity orindividual.
There is no doubt that Ricky Ross created a massive distribution network that pouredenormous amounts of crack into Los Angeles, and elsewhere, during the mid-1980s. One ofthe more challenging aspects of our inquiry has been to reconcile, or choose between,conflicting accounts by Blandon and Ross. Both admit to participating in repeated,large-scale drug transactions, but they differ on the duration of their drug dealing andthe quantity of cocaine sold. And each man's account has itself varied over time.
Some of Ross' estimates of his cocaine sales have far exceeded the 2000 to 3000 kiloestimate he made in 1991. Ross told the OIG that, in 1983 and 1984, he frequently gotabout 100 kilograms a week from Blandon and about 40 kilograms a week from Edgar andJacinto Torres, two of Blandon's competitors who sold to Ross until 1987. If this patternof purchases occurred consistently for only a single year, this would amount to close to8000 kilograms. Ross also estimated that Blandon sold him between 500 and 700 kilogramsevery month. During his 1996 testimony, Ross claimed that during his peak year, 1985, hemade $200,000,000 and he told the Mercury News that \"it was not uncommon ...to move $2 million or $3 million worth of crack in one day.\" These figures appear tobe exaggerated. According to his 1991 testimony, Ross first became a millionaire in 1984or 1985. It