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Crack cocaine use remains widespread. Data reported in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse indicates that more than six million US teens and adults (ages 12 and older) have smoked crack cocaine at least once in their lifetime.

What Is Crack?

Crack, or crack cocaine, is a smokable form of cocaine that looks like small white rocks, made by cooking cocaine with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water. The rock crystals were given the name “crack” because of the crackling sound they make when smoked in a crack pipe.

Smoking crack delivers large quantities of crack vapors to the system, with the intense effects felt almost immediately. Therefore, it produces a powerful stimulant high and is very addictive. Moreover, the fact that crack is relatively inexpensive to produce, and much cheaper to purchase than powder cocaine, has contributed to the prevalence of crack cocaine use.

Crack cocaine criminal penalties are severe. Still, crack cocaine remains widely available and crack addiction continues to plague communities, including adolescents. In fact, in recent studies, 45 percent of twelfth graders nationwide reported that crack was “fairly easy” or “very easy” to obtain.

Sources: Drug Enforcement Administration, National Institute on Drug AbuseDrug Policy AllianceCESAR (Center For Substance Abuse Research)