Long-term dangers of crack

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
'Crack' is a common street name for a highly refined form of cocaine that's smoked. It's almost six times stronger than standard cocaine, and there are a number of serious physical and psychological dangers associated with its long-term use. Crack produces psychological effects similar to cocaine, including an increase in self-confidence and a feeling of power. However, when the drug's effect wears off, the user can experience extreme depression, paranoia, and hostility. Like cocaine, crack is extremely addictive, but the 'high' experienced by users doesn't last as long. As a result, even casual users can quickly become addicted to the drug. Physical dangers associated with crack include rapid heart rate, elevated blood pressure, nausea, tremors, anxiety, and weight loss. Prolonged use can lead to malnutrition, respiratory problems, heart attack, seizures, and stroke. Individuals with heart disease or heart murmurs are more prone to crack overdose, and it's not unusual for someone with a minor heart problem to die upon first using the drug. In addition, crack may increase the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. For more information, consult a health care professional in your area.

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