Crack Cocaine

Snow Coke, Rocks

Crack cocaine gives you a heightened sense of alertness, euphoria and reduced feelings of fatigue. It’s a purer form of cocaine and it looks like rocks. It’s mainly off-white in colour but may appear pink.

Signs and Symptoms

Hiding their addiction is rarely easy with crack cocaine as it is very short acting, resulting in the person needing to use more often for the desired effect. It is often associated with a dramatic deterioration of their quality of life.


More signs to look out for may include:

  • Frequent disappearances.

  • Dilated pupils.

  • Aggressive behaviour.

  • Restlessness.

  • Uncharacteristic irresponsibility.

  • Burns on fingers.

  • Cracked or blistered lips.

  • Picking or scratching at the skin.

  • Paraphernalia including pipes and needles/syringes.

  • See below adverse effects and withdrawal for more symptoms.

Methods of Use

  • Injected

  • Smoked

  • Snorted

Adverse Effects

  • Mood swings

  • Confusion or disorientation

  • Potential for lethal overdose

  • Skin rash

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Permanent damage to blood vessels

  • High blood pressure

  • Lung damage

  • Kidney damage

  • Liver damage

  • Delirium

  • Severe tooth decay

  • Infertility

  • Apathy

Overdose Potential

Crack cocaine is a chemically modified version of cocaine and is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream. Due to the very short half-life, it does not remain in the system for long resulting in a ‘crash’. The crash produces apathy and severe depression in users, so a dangerous cycle of binges, crashes and drug seeking behaviour starts.

Typical signs to look out for:

  • Changes in vital signs (temperature, respiration rate, blood pressure and pulse).

  • Clammy skin.

  • Chest pain.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Diarrhoea.

  • Hyperactivity.

  • Confusion and disorientation.

  • Paranoia or hallucinations.

  • Excessive itching or scratching.

  • Coming in or out of consciousness.

Signs of an overdose can lead to a stroke, heart attack or seizure.


Symptoms depends on several factors including tolerance, length of addiction, metabolism, and severity of addiction. Withdrawal can be a painful and uncomfortable process and is often the reason why a person would rather return to their drug use.


Symptoms may include the following:

  • Fatigue

  • Anxiety

  • Intense craving

  • Depression

  • Irritability

  • Psychosis

  • Shaking

  • Muscle aches and pains

  • Nausea and vomiting

Commonly, symptoms will last for 3 - 7 days. Generally speaking, the more intense the addiction the more intense the withdrawal might be. Psychological symptoms may be present for months therefore treatment is advised for long term recovery. Read more about why someone would need help.