Crack cocaine

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Two grams of crack cocaine Crack-cocaine-2-grams.jpeg
Two grams of crack cocaine

Crack cocaine, also known simply as crack or rock, is a free base form of cocaine that can be smoked. Crack offers a short but intense high to smokers. The Manual of Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment calls it the most addictive form of cocaine. [1] Crack first saw widespread use as a recreational drug in primarily impoverished inner city neighborhoods in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Miami in late 1984 and 1985; its rapid increase in use and availability is sometimes termed as the "crack epidemic". [2]

Free base is the conjugate base (deprotonated) form of an amine, as opposed to its conjugate acid (protonated) form. The amine is often an alkaloid, such as nicotine, cocaine, morphine, and ephedrine, or derivatives thereof.

Cocaine chemical compound

Cocaine, also known as coke, is a strong stimulant mostly used as a recreational drug. It is commonly snorted, inhaled as smoke, or dissolved and injected into a vein. Mental effects may include loss of contact with reality, an intense feeling of happiness, or agitation. Physical symptoms may include a fast heart rate, sweating, and large pupils. High doses can result in very high blood pressure or body temperature. Effects begin within seconds to minutes of use and last between five and ninety minutes. Cocaine has a small number of accepted medical uses such as numbing and decreasing bleeding during nasal surgery.

Poverty in the United States Poverty in the U.S.A.

Poverty in the United States covers the subsection of people of the United States that are in a state of deprivation, lacking the usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. It is usually understood as a relative measure of poverty within the United States which is a relatively wealthy country by international standards. The most common measure of poverty in the U.S. is the "poverty threshold" set by the U.S. government. This measure recognizes poverty as a lack of those goods and services commonly taken for granted by members of mainstream society. The official threshold is adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index.


Physical and chemical properties

In purer forms, crack rocks appear as off-white nuggets with jagged edges, [3] with a slightly higher density than candle wax. Purer forms of crack resemble a hard brittle plastic, in crystalline form [3] (snaps when broken). A crack rock acts as a local anesthetic (see: cocaine), numbing the tongue or mouth only where directly placed. Purer forms of crack will sink in water or melt at the edges when near a flame (crack vaporizes at 90 °C, 194 °F). [1]

Local anesthetic medication that causes reversible absence of pain sensation

A local anesthetic (LA) is a medication that causes absence of pain sensation. When it is used on specific nerve pathways, paralysis also can be achieved.

Crack cocaine as sold on the streets may be adulterated or "cut" with other substances mimicking the appearance of crack cocaine to increase bulk. Use of toxic adulterants such as levamisole [4] has been documented. [5]

Levamisole chemical compound

Levamisole, sold under the trade name Ergamisol among others, is a medication used to treat parasitic worm infections. Specifically it is used for ascariasis and hookworm infections. It is taken by mouth.


In order for cocaine (in plastic bag at bottom) to be converted to crack, several supplies are needed. Pictured here are baking soda, a commonly used base in making crack, a metal spoon, a tealight, and a cigarette lighter. The spoon is held over the heat source in order to "cook" the cocaine into crack. Crack Ingredients.JPG
In order for cocaine (in plastic bag at bottom) to be converted to crack, several supplies are needed. Pictured here are baking soda, a commonly used base in making crack, a metal spoon, a tealight, and a cigarette lighter. The spoon is held over the heat source in order to "cook" the cocaine into crack.
A close up of the "cooking" process that creates crack. Cooking Crack.JPG
A close up of the "cooking" process that creates crack.

Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3, common baking soda) is a base used in preparation of crack, although other weak bases may substitute for it. [6] [7] The net reaction when using sodium bicarbonate is

Sodium bicarbonate chemical compound

Sodium bicarbonate (IUPAC name: sodium hydrogen carbonate), commonly known as baking soda, is a chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3. It is a salt composed of a sodium cation (Na+) and a bicarbonate anion (HCO3). Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline, but often appears as a fine powder. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste resembling that of washing soda (sodium carbonate). The natural mineral form is nahcolite. It is a component of the mineral natron and is found dissolved in many mineral springs.

On dissolving in water, a weak base does not dissociate completely and the resulting aqueous solution contains OH- ion and the concerned basic radical in a small proportion along with a large proportion of undissociated molecules of the base.

Coc-H+Cl + NaHCO3 → Coc + H2O + CO2 + NaCl

With Ammonium bicarbonate:

Coc-H+Cl + NH4HCO3 → Coc + NH4Cl + CO2 + H2O

With Ammonium carbonate:

2(Coc-H+Cl) + (NH4)2CO3 → 2 Coc + 2 NH4Cl + CO2 + H2O

Crack cocaine is frequently purchased already in rock form, [3] although it is not uncommon for some users to "wash up" or "cook" powder cocaine into crack themselves. This process is frequently done with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), water, and a spoon. Once mixed and heated, the bicarbonate reacts with the hydrochloride of the powder cocaine, forming free base cocaine and carbonic acid (H2CO3) in a reversible acid-base reaction. The heating accelerates the degradation of carbonic acid into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water. Loss of CO2 prevents the reaction from reversing back to cocaine hydrochloride. Free base cocaine separates as an oily layer, floating on the top of the now leftover aqueous phase. It is at this point that the oil is picked up rapidly, usually with a pin or long thin object. This pulls the oil up and spins it, allowing air to set and dry the oil, and allows the maker to roll the oil into the rock-like shape.

Carbonic acid is a chemical compound with the chemical formula H2CO3 (equivalently OC(OH)2). It is also a name sometimes given to solutions of carbon dioxide in water (carbonated water), because such solutions contain small amounts of H2CO3. In physiology, carbonic acid is described as volatile acid or respiratory acid, because it is the only acid excreted as a gas by the lungs. It plays an important role in the bicarbonate buffer system to maintain acid–base homeostasis.

Carbon dioxide chemical compound

Carbon dioxide is a colorless gas with a density about 60% higher than that of dry air. Carbon dioxide consists of a carbon atom covalently double bonded to two oxygen atoms. It occurs naturally in Earth's atmosphere as a trace gas. The current concentration is about 0.04% (410 ppm) by volume, having risen from pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm. Natural sources include volcanoes, hot springs and geysers, and it is freed from carbonate rocks by dissolution in water and acids. Because carbon dioxide is soluble in water, it occurs naturally in groundwater, rivers and lakes, ice caps, glaciers and seawater. It is present in deposits of petroleum and natural gas. Carbon dioxide is odorless at normally encountered concentrations. However, at high concentrations, it has a sharp and acidic odor.

Crack vaporizes near temperature 90 °C (194 °F), [1] much lower than the cocaine hydrochloride melting point of 190 °C (374 °F). [1] Whereas cocaine hydrochloride cannot be smoked (burns with no effect), [1] crack cocaine when smoked allows for quick absorption into the blood stream, and reaches the brain in 8 seconds. [1] Crack cocaine can also be injected intravenously with the same effect as powder cocaine. However, whereas powder cocaine dissolves in water, crack must be dissolved in an acidic solution such as lemon juice or white vinegar, a process that effectively reverses the original conversion of powder cocaine to crack.

Recreational use

A woman smoking crack cocaine. Smoking Crack.jpg
A woman smoking crack cocaine.

Crack cocaine is commonly used as a recreational drug. Effects of crack cocaine include euphoria, [8] supreme confidence, [9] loss of appetite, [8] insomnia, [8] alertness, [8] increased energy, [8] a craving for more cocaine, [9] and potential paranoia (ending after use). [8] [10] Its initial effect is to release a large amount of dopamine, [3] a brain chemical inducing feelings of euphoria. The high usually lasts from 5–10 minutes, [3] [8] after which time dopamine levels in the brain plummet, leaving the user feeling depressed and low. [3] When (powder) cocaine is dissolved and injected, the absorption into the bloodstream is at least as rapid as the absorption of the drug which occurs when crack cocaine is smoked, [8] and similar euphoria may be experienced.

Adverse effects

Because crack is an illicit drug, users may consume impure or fake ("bunk") drug, [5] which may pose additional health risks.


Main physiological effects of crack cocaine Physiological effects of Crack cocaine.png
Main physiological effects of crack cocaine

The short-term physiological effects of cocaine include [8] constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Some users of cocaine report feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. In rare instances, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter. [8] Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest.

Like other forms of cocaine, smoking crack can increase heart rate [11] and blood pressure, leading to long-term cardiovascular problems. Some research suggests that smoking crack or freebase cocaine has additional health risks compared to other methods of taking cocaine. Many of these issues relate specifically to the release of methylecgonidine and its effect on the heart, [11] lungs, [12] and liver. [13]

Crack lung

In crack users, acute respiratory symptoms have been reported, sometimes termed crack lung. Symptoms include fever, coughing up blood and difficulty breathing. [16] In the 48-hour period after use, people with these symptoms have also had associated radiographic findings on chest X-ray of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema), interstitial pneumonia, diffuse alveolar hemorrhage, and eosinophil infiltration. [16]


Stimulant drug abuse (particularly amphetamine and cocaine) can lead to delusional parasitosis (aka Ekbom's Syndrome: a mistaken belief they are infested with parasites). [17] For example, excessive cocaine use can lead to formication, nicknamed "cocaine bugs" or "coke bugs", where the affected people believe they have, or feel, parasites crawling under their skin. [17] (Similar delusions may also be associated with high fever or in connection with alcohol withdrawal, sometimes accompanied by visual hallucinations of insects.) [17]

People experiencing these hallucinations might scratch themselves to the extent of serious skin damage and bleeding, especially when they are delirious. [10] [17]

Paranoia and anxiety are among the most common psychological symptoms of crack cocaine use. Psychosis is more closely associated with smoking crack cocaine than intranasal and intravenous use. [18]

Pregnancy and nursing

"Crack baby" is a term for a child born to a mother who used crack cocaine during her pregnancy. The threat that cocaine use during pregnancy poses to the fetus is now considered exaggerated. [19] Studies show that prenatal cocaine exposure (independent of other effects such as, for example, alcohol, tobacco, or physical environment) has no appreciable effect on childhood growth and development. [20] However, the official opinion of the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the United States warns about health risks while cautioning against stereotyping:

Many recall that "crack babies", or babies born to mothers who used crack cocaine while pregnant, were at one time written off by many as a lost generation. They were predicted to suffer from severe, irreversible damage, including reduced intelligence and social skills. It was later found that this was a gross exaggeration. However, the fact that most of these children appear normal should not be over-interpreted as indicating that there is no cause for concern. Using sophisticated technologies, scientists are now finding that exposure to cocaine during fetal development may lead to subtle, yet significant, later deficits in some children, including deficits in some aspects of cognitive performance, information-processing, and attention to tasks—abilities that are important for success in school. [21]

There are also warnings about the threat of breastfeeding: "It is likely that cocaine will reach the baby through breast milk." The March of Dimes advises the following regarding cocaine use during pregnancy:

Cocaine use during pregnancy can affect a pregnant woman and her unborn baby in many ways. During the early months of pregnancy, it may increase the risk of miscarriage. Later in pregnancy, it can trigger preterm labor (labor that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or cause the baby to grow poorly. As a result, cocaine-exposed babies are more likely than unexposed babies to be born with low birthweight (less than 5.5 lb or 2.5 kg). Low-birthweight babies are 20 times more likely to die in their first month of life than normal-weight babies, and face an increased risk of lifelong disabilities such as mental retardation and cerebral palsy. Cocaine-exposed babies also tend to have smaller heads, which generally reflect smaller brains. Some studies suggest that cocaine-exposed babies are at increased risk of birth defects, including urinary-tract defects and, possibly, heart defects. Cocaine also may cause an unborn baby to have a stroke, irreversible brain damage, or a heart attack. [22]

Reinforcement disorders


An appreciable tolerance to cocaine's high may develop, with many addicts reporting that they seek but fail to achieve as much pleasure as they did from their first experience. [8] Some users will frequently increase their doses to intensify and prolong the euphoric effects. While tolerance to the high can occur, users might also become more sensitive (drug sensitization) to cocaine's local anesthetic (pain killing) and convulsant (seizure inducing) effects, without increasing the dose taken; this increased sensitivity may explain some deaths occurring after apparent low doses of cocaine. [8]


Crack cocaine is popularly thought to be the most addictive form of cocaine. [1] However, this claim has been contested: Morgan and Zimmer wrote that available data indicated that "...smoking cocaine by itself does not increase markedly the likelihood of dependence.... The claim that cocaine is much more addictive when smoked must be reexamined." [23] They argued that cocaine users who are already prone to abuse are most likely to "move toward a more efficient mode of ingestion" (that is, smoking).

The intense desire to recapture the initial high is what is so addictive for many users. [3] On the other hand, Reinarman et al. wrote that the nature of crack addiction depends on the social context in which it is used and the psychological characteristics of users, pointing out that many heavy crack users can go for days or weeks without using the drugs. [24]


A typical response among users is to have another hit of the drug; however, the levels of dopamine in the brain take a long time to replenish themselves, and each hit taken in rapid succession leads to progressively less intense highs. [3] However, a person might binge for 3 or more days without sleep, while inhaling hits from the pipe. [10]

Use of cocaine in a binge, during which the drug is taken repeatedly and at increasingly high doses, leads to a state of increasing irritability, restlessness, and paranoia. [8] This may result in a full-blown paranoid psychosis, in which the individual loses touch with reality and experiences auditory hallucinations. [8]

Large amounts of crack cocaine (several hundred milligrams or more) intensify the user's high, but may also lead to bizarre, erratic, and violent behavior. [8] Large amounts can induce tremors, vertigo, muscle twitches, paranoia, or, with repeated doses, a toxic reaction closely resembling amphetamine poisoning. [8]

Society and culture


atari; base; bazooka; beamers; beemers; bebe; bee-bee; berry; bing; bolo; bomb; boulder; boulders; butter; caine; cane; Casper; Casper the ghost; cavvy; chemical; chewies; cloud; cloud nine; crills; crunch and munch; dip; famous dimes; fan; fish scale; fries; fry; glo; golfball; gravel; grit; hail; hamburger; helper; hubba; ice cube; kangaroo; kibbles and bits; kibbles; krills; lightem; paste; patico; pebbles; pee wee; pony; raw; ready; ready rocks; redi rocks; roca; rock; rooster; rox; Roxanne; scud; Scotty; scramble; scruples; seven-up; sherm; sherms; sleet; snowballs; stones; teeth; tension; top gun; tweak; ultimate; wash; white cloud; work; yahoo; yale; yay; yayoo; yeah-O; yeyo; yeo; yuck. [25]

Drug combinations

Crack cocaine may be combined with amphetamine ("croack"); tobacco ("coolie"); marijuana ("buddha"; "caviar"; "chronic"; "cocoa puffs"; "fry daddy"; "gimmie"; "gremmie"; "juice"; "primo"; "torpedo"; "turbo"; "woolie"; "woola"); heroin ("moon rock"); and phencyclidine ("clicker"; "p-funk"; "spacebase"). [25]


Crack smoking ("hitting the pipe"; "puffing"; "beaming up (to Scotty)") is commonly performed with utensils such as pipes ("bowl"; "devil's dick"; "glass dick"; "horn"; "Uzi"); improvised pipes made from a plastic bottle ("Masarati"); water pipes ("bong"; "hubbly-bubbly"); and laboratory pipettes ("demo"). [25]

U.S. Food and Drug Administration anti-crack poster Publicizing Dangers of Crack Cocaine (078) (7395870920).jpg
U.S. Food and Drug Administration anti-crack poster

Cocaine is listed as a Schedule I drug in the United Nations 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, making it illegal for non-state-sanctioned production, manufacture, export, import, distribution, trade, use and possession. [26] In most states (except in the U.S.) crack falls under the same category as cocaine.


In Australia, crack falls under the same category as cocaine, which is listed as a Schedule 8 controlled drug, indicating that any substances and preparations for therapeutic use under this category have high potential for abuse and addiction. It is permitted for some medical use, but is otherwise outlawed.


As a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, crack is not differentiated from cocaine and other coca products. However, the court may weigh the socio-economic factors of crack usage in sentencing. As a guideline, Schedule I drugs carry a maximum 7-year prison sentence for possession for an indictable offense and up to life imprisonment for trafficking and production. A summary conviction on possession carries a $1000–$2000 fine and/or 6 months to a year imprisonment.

United States

In the United States, cocaine is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, indicating that it has a high abuse potential but also carries a medicinal purpose. [27] [28] Under the Controlled Substances Act, crack and cocaine are considered the same drug.

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 increased penalties for crack cocaine possession and usage. It mandated a mandatory minimum sentence of five years without parole for possession of five grams of crack; to receive the same sentence with powder cocaine one had to have 500 grams. [29] This sentencing disparity was reduced from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1 by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010.


In the United Kingdom, crack is a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. In the Netherlands it is a List 1 drug of the Opium Law.

Political scandals

Rob Ford, the 64th mayor of Toronto, was filmed smoking crack while he was in office. Marion Barry, Mayor of Washington D.C., was filmed smoking crack in 1990 in a sting operation. [30]

See also

Related Research Articles

Recreational drug use Use of a drug with the primary intention to alter the state of consciousness

Recreational drug use is the use of a psychoactive drug to induce an altered state of consciousness for pleasure, by modifying the perceptions, feelings, and emotions of the user. When a psychoactive drug enters the user's body, it induces an intoxicating effect. Generally, recreational drugs are in three categories: depressants ; stimulants ; and hallucinogens. Many people also use prescribed and illegal opioids along with opiates and benzodiazepines. In popular practice, recreational drug use generally is a tolerated social behaviour, rather than perceived as the serious medical condition of self-medication. However, heavy use of some drugs is socially stigmatized.

Club drug Recreational drug

Club drugs, also called rave drugs, or party drugs are a loosely defined category of recreational drugs which are associated with discothèques in the 1970s and nightclubs, dance clubs, electronic dance music parties, and raves in the 1980s to today. Unlike many other categories, such as opiates and benzodiazepines, which are established according to pharmaceutical or chemical properties, club drugs are a "category of convenience", in which drugs are included due to the locations they are consumed and/or where the user goes while under the influence of the drugs. Club drugs are generally used by teens and young adults. This group of drugs are also called "designer drugs", as most are synthesized in a chemical lab rather than being sourced from plants.

Drug paraphernalia equipment, product or accessory that is modified for making, using, or concealing drugs, typically for recreational purposes

"Drug paraphernalia" is a term, to denote any equipment, product or accessory that is intended or modified for making, using, or concealing drugs, typically for recreational purposes. Drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine are related to a wide range of paraphernalia. Paraphernalia generally falls into two categories: user-specific products and dealer-specific products.

Methcathinone chemical compound

Methcathinone is a monoamine alkaloid and psychoactive stimulant, a substituted cathinone. It is used as a recreational drug due to its potent stimulant and euphoric effects and is considered to be addictive, with both physical and psychological withdrawal occurring if its use is discontinued after prolonged or high-dosage administration. It is usually snorted, but can be smoked, injected, or taken orally.

Pipe smoking act of drawing smoke from a pipe into ones lungs

Pipe smoking is the practice of tasting the smoke produced by burning a substance, most commonly tobacco, in a pipe. It is the oldest traditional form of smoking. Although it has declined somewhat in popularity it is still widely practiced and is very common in some parts of Scandinavia.

Lacing is the act of adding one or more substances to another. Some street drugs are commonly laced with other chemicals for various reasons, but it is most commonly done so as to bulk up the original product or to sell other, cheaper drugs in the place of something more expensive. Individuals sometimes lace their own drugs with another substance to combine or alter the physiological or psychoactive effects.

Coca paste is a crude extract of the coca leaf which contains 40% to 91% cocaine sulfate along with companion coca alkaloids and varying quantities of benzoic acid, methanol, and kerosene. In South America, coca paste, also known as cocaine base and, therefore, often confused with cocaine freebase in North America, is relatively inexpensive and is widely used by low-income populations. The coca paste is smoked in tobacco or cannabis cigarettes and use has become widespread in several Latin American countries. Traditionally, coca paste has been relatively abundant in South American countries such as Colombia where it is processed into cocaine hydrochloride for distribution to the rest of the world. The caustic reactions associated with the local application of coca paste prevents its use by oral, intranasal, mucosal, intramuscular, intravenous or subcutaneous routes. Coca paste can only be smoked when combined with a combustible material such as tobacco or cannabis.

Drug injection administration of a liquid directly in a vein

Drug injection is a method of introducing a drug into the bloodstream via a hollow hypodermic needle and a syringe, which is pierced through the skin into the body. As of 2004, there were 13.2 million people worldwide who used injection drugs, of which 22% are from developed countries.

Methylecgonidine chemical compound

Methylecgonidine is a chemical intermediate derived from ecgonine or cocaine.

Ecgonidine chemical compound

Ecgonidine (anhydroecgonine) is an alkaloid related to ecgonine and cocaine. It has a structure with a cycloheptene ring, with a nitrogen bridge, and a carboxylic acid side chain.

Around 5–10% of women of childbearing age abuse alcohol or drugs. This can have serious consequences to the health of both mother and fetus. Many short term side effects, especially physical abnormalities observed upon birth, have been reported and are more commonly known.

Long-term effects of cannabis

The long-term effects of cannabis have been the subject of ongoing debate. Because cannabis is illegal in most countries, research presents a challenge; as such, there remains much to be concluded.

Substance use disorder disease of mental health involving the abuse or dependence on a substance that is ingested in order to produce a high, alter ones senses, or otherwise affect functioning

A substance use disorder (SUD), also known as a drug use disorder, is a medical condition in which the use of one or more substances leads to a clinically significant impairment or distress. Substance use disorders are characterized by an array of mental, physical, and behavioral symptoms that may cause problems related to loss of control, strain to one's interpersonal life, hazardous use, tolerance, and withdrawal. Drug classes that are involved in SUD include alcohol, phencyclidine, inhalants, stimulants, cannabis, "other hallucinogens", opioids, tobacco, and sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics.

Neonatal withdrawal Medical condition in newborn babies caused by drugs taken by the mother before birth

Neonatal withdrawal or neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a withdrawal syndrome of infants after birth caused by in utero exposure to drugs of dependence. There are two types of NAS: prenatal and postnatal. Prenatal NAS is caused by discontinuation of drugs taken by the pregnant mother, while postnatal NAS is caused by discontinuation of drugs directly to the infant.

Fair Sentencing Act

The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 was an Act of Congress that was signed into federal law by U.S. President Barack Obama on August 3, 2010 that reduces the disparity between the amount of crack cocaine and powder cocaine needed to trigger certain federal criminal penalties from a 100:1 weight ratio to an 18:1 weight ratio and eliminated the five-year mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine, among other provisions. Similar bills were introduced in several U.S. Congresses before its passage in 2010, and courts had also acted to reduce the sentencing disparity prior to the bill's passage.

Prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE), theorized in the 1970s, occurs when a pregnant woman uses cocaine and thereby exposes her fetus to the drug. "Crack baby" was a term coined to describe children who were exposed to crack as fetuses; the concept of the crack baby emerged in the US during the 1980s and 1990s in the midst of a crack epidemic. Other terms are "cocaine baby" and "crack kid". Early studies reported that people who had been exposed to crack in utero would be severely emotionally, mentally, and physically disabled; this belief became common in the scientific and lay communities. Fears were widespread that a generation of crack babies were going to put severe strain on society and social services as they grew up. Later studies failed to substantiate the findings of earlier ones that PCE has severe disabling consequences; these earlier studies had been methodologically flawed. Scientists have come to understand that the findings of the early studies were vastly overstated and that most people who were exposed to cocaine in utero do not have disabilities.

Responsible drug use maximizes the benefits and reduces the risk of negative impact on the lives of the user. For illegal psychoactive drugs that are not diverted prescription controlled substances, some critics believe that illegal recreational use is inherently irresponsible, due to the unpredictable and unmonitored strength and purity of the drugs and the risks of addiction, infection, and other side effects.

Stimulant use disorder is a type of substance use disorder that involves the abuse of stimulants. It is defined in the DSM-5 as "the continued use of amphetamine-type substances, cocaine, or other stimulants leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, from mild to severe." These psychoactive drugs, known as stimulants, are the most widely used drugs in the world today. Approximately 200 million Americans have used some type of a stimulant in the past year alone.


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Further reading