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Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Crack Addict

     Every street cop in America knows that crack cocaine is the most potent drug on earth. A high percentage of violent crimes in this country are perpetrated to get money to buy the drug.

     Crack cocaine, or freebase, is created by cooking powdered cocaine with baking soda. When cooled, the product is hammered into curly white flakes that resemble bits of shaved soap, or paint peelings. A flake is called a "rock."

     Addiction is swift, and the prospects for recovery are bleak. Smokable cocaine doesn't trickle into the brain--it overwhelms it. The high is an intense burst of pleasure. But the downside is a free fall into deep depression. Addicts say you rise through the ceiling, then crash back through the floor. The user, desperate to postpone the brutal collapse that follows when the dose wears off, quickly learns the strategy of obtaining, in one transaction, as many rocks as possible.

     But no matter how much you have, it's never enough. A terrifying cost comes with prolonged usage--a horrible craving that makes users go berserk. It creeps into the mind minutes after the last rock is smoked up. The addict must get more. So he picks up whatever weapon is available and goes shopping. And that's where law-abiding citizens all too often get sucked into a crackhead's world.

Robert A. Waters, The Best Defense, 1998

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